Saturday, May 23, 2015

Editor touts 'quality' journalism -- readers aren't convinced

On Friday night, downtown Ridgewood was filled with restaurant and movie goers, and others stopping at Starbucks Coffee on East Ridgewood Avenue, above. This Starbucks gives away used coffee grounds for the garden.


Readers interested in how The Record has changed in the past few years shouldn't miss Editor Martin Gottlieb's appearance on a weekly cable show produced by Montclair State University.

Most notably, Gottlieb boasts of "quality coverage," "quality of the product," "a sense of quality"  and "quality of reporting and editing" when referring to the daily he has guided since early 2012.

The interview for the half-hour show, Carpe Diem, was conducted by another journalist, Merrill Brown, director of Montclair State's  School of Communication and Media.

Brown only lobs softballs at Gottlieb, a former New York Times editor and reporter, and sounds as if hasn't read the Woodland Park daily recently or noticed all of the errors -- corrected and uncorrected -- and serious omissions in stories.


Today, for example, four corrections appear on A-2 of The Record, including a major problem likely caused by the inattention of Liz Houlton, the six-figure editor in charge of production.

It seems the entire page of Memorial Day listings in Friday's paper was "incorrect," and the correct page was run today (L-3), including a story by Mary Diduch.

Another correction noted a Page 1 story incorrectly reported Elmwood Park police were considering body cameras for officers; the department has already purchased them.

Cub reporter

Gottlieb noted he got his start in journalism at The Record in the early 1970s, covering Oradell, River Edge and New Milford, and was mentored by Susan Servis-Scilla.

As an example of the paper's "quality," Gottlieb cited circulation figures, noting that when he left in 1973, The Record was selling 150,000 copies daily.

When he came back in 2o12, Gottlieb said, the circulation was 148,000 daily. 

But he didn't mention that figure includes the Herald News, which long ago was made an "edition" of The Record, apparently for the purpose of padding the flagship daily's circulation and keeping advertising rates high.

Today's paper

Let's hope Gottlieb's "quality" boasts didn't include the many flawed accident and pedestrian fatality stories The Record publishes, including the one on L-1 today.

The story reporting an off-duty Fort Lee police officer was ejected from his vehicle in a head-on collision on Friday is missing an essential detail:

Was Police Officer Laki Pothos, 32, wearing his seat belt, and if not, will he receive a summons?

The story carries the bylines of the overworked police reporter, Stefanie Dazio, and Staff Writer Nicholas Pugliese.

Still, there is not a single word on the cause of the accident, although the reporters seem to blame the cop, saying his Jeep Wrangler "collided with a ... Nissan Altima" being driven by a 65-year-old man (L-3).

Was Pothos, the cop, using his mobile phone or texting? Did something break on his vehicle, causing him to cross over the line and hit the poor old guy's car?

Stay tuned. The Record may or may not answer any of these questions.

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