Friday, May 2, 2014

Local-news editors, reporters can't get act together

Friday morning at 10: A major backup on a quiet street in Teaneck.


How did Editor Marty Gottlieb, a veteran of The New York Times, and an unknown number of reporters and sub-editors screw-up so badly on today's lead Page 1 story in The Record?

The big, black headline screams about a "midnight rampage" at Teaneck High School, but the text mentions students breaking into the school in the "wee hours" and a "2:11 a.m." burglary alarm.

Doesn't sound like "midnight" to me. How embarrassing. What went wrong? 

And why does this happen time and again -- major errors in headlines and photo captions, all the responsibility of six-figure Production Editor Liz Houlton?

Big question

With more than 20 hours to work on the story -- and two sidebars -- no one at the paper asked or answered an obvious question:

Where were the parents of the 62 students when they left their houses in the "wee hours" and traveled to the school to commit the vandalism?

Sleeping, no doubt, like Houlton and the other editors. 

And why doesn't the Woodland Park daily name the 24 students facing charges who are 18 years old?

Sanitizing Ford story

But the problems with today's edition don't end there.

Another front-page piece that goes into great detail, yet still manages to have big holes in it, is the profile of Paramus High graduate Mark Fields, who will become the first Jewish CEO of Ford Motor Co., started by a notorious anti-Semite.

Deep in the text on A-9, Staff Writer Richard Newman, who is a business reporter, mentions the Ford plant in Mahwah closed in 1980.

But Newman says not a word about the despicable company history of dumping paint sludge in Ringwood mines and woods, perilously close to North Jersey's major water supply.

The dumping inspired "Toxic Legacy," an investigative series by The Record, and a lawsuit against Ford on behalf of the Ramapough Mountain People, members of a mixed-race community who were sickened by the sludge and then duped into settling the case.

Ford destroyed the environment is their Upper Ringwood enclave, yet the story praises the current CEO with "shepherding to market a new lineup of ... fuel-efficient vehicles ...." (A-9).

Ford is environmentally responsible, this whitewash from the business staff seems to be saying.

Failed strategy

On today's Local front, Englewood officials say they are hoping new apartments will help expand the downtown economy -- a strategy that has already failed miserably (L-1).

The city plans to knock down the Lincoln School, which was more than 100 years old when it was closed in 2008, and a city firehouse on Williams Street to make way for the new apartments, which will receive a 15-year tax break.

The story doesn't mention that a plan to turn the elementary school into a community center was rejected by city officials, likely because it is located in a minority neighborhood.

Is it that good?

I once tried takeout from Rose's Place in Fair Lawn, which The Record rated three stars, and felt that although the food was good, the portions were small for the price.

And Rose's didn't match my standard for Lebanese fare at time: Vine Valley on Main Street in Paterson, now long closed.

Today, Staff Writer Elisa Ung gives three stars to Rose's of Englewood (BL-20), but I'm not sure that will be enough to lure me away from my current favorite for Middle Eastern food, Paterson's Aleppo Restaurant.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you want your comment to appear, refrain from personal attacks on the blogger. Anonymous comments are no longer accepted. Keep your racism to yourself.