Thursday, May 14, 2015

N.J., national media ignored Amtrak until 7 people died

Essex Street in Lodi is a repeat destination for students who won't touch the mediocre food served in the Hackensack High School cafeteria. Instead, they find lunch at Chipotle Grill, Wawa and a Smash Burger that looks like it will open soon.


You've probably never seen Amtrak on the front page of The Record before, even though it is one of the most popular forms of public transit.

But when seven people were killed outside Philadelphia in the crash of an out-of-control Trenton-bound train on Tuesday night, the story led the Woodland Park daily today and Wednesday.

Even Scott Cameron Pelley, anchor of the CBS Evening News, left the comfort of his New York TV studio to report from the scene of the disaster.

Editor Martin Gottlieb thought this was a big story, but not big enough for the entire front page.

So, he dumbed down the coverage with a silly sports column and a Wayne doctor losing his license for "sexual acts" (A-1).

Columnist Tara Sullivan certainly isn't writing for the general reader, with a first paragraph that focuses on "a 1.00 goals against average in win-or-go-home Game 7 situations."

Riveting front-page copy, isn't it?

Coming soon

More North Jerseyans are excited about the opening of a Smash Burger in Lodi than they are about Governor Christie's proposals on foreign policy and military spending (A-5).

On Wednesday, the front-page of The Record reported the wannabe GOP White House candidate unveiled "a five-point economic platform featuring tax cuts for high-income earners." 

But in an apparent change of heart by the editors, the third paragraph of that brief dismissed the plan, noting the 7,000-word speech delivered in New Hampshire "made no mention of his failed attempts to jump-start New Jersey's economy."

That was a reference to rare negativity from Charles Stile, whose Christie column was played inside on Wednesday's A-5, not on Page 1, where readers usually find it. 

Hackensack news

Today's Local section reports former Hackensack Councilwoman Rose Greenman alleges in a lawsuit that Mayor John Labrosse and Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino "made anti-Semitic remarks to her and forced her out of office by creating 'intolerable' working conditions." 

Both Labrosse and Canestrino denied the allegations (L-1).

Wednesday's Local front carried two stories from Hackensack.

Gilda's Club, the nonprofit cancer-support center that closed this month because of financial difficulties, is discussing a partnership with Hackensack University Medical Center.

And HUMC, which has already swallowed its Hackensack neighborhood, still has a big appetite for expansion.

The hospital signed an agreement to merge with Meridian Health, a deal that would create the state's largest hospital network.

More road kill

You know Road Warrior John Cichowski has his priorities screwed up when he warns readers about an annual spring crackdown on seat-belt violations instead of reporting several times a year on how many lives seat belts save (L-1).

Seafood Gourmet

The Better Living cover story on Tuesday -- "FOR THE LOVE OF FISH" -- was a welcome relief from the seemingly endless celebration of the mystery meat served at steakhouses, hamburger chains and hot-dog restaurants.

John Ciravolo, owner of Seafood Gourmet in Maywood, runs the best fish market-restaurant in the metro area.

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