Friday, July 10, 2015

Editors chase the 'big story,' ignoring readers like us

A story on the Local front of The Record today reports the federal government plans to pay less than 10% of the cost for improvements at the new Great Falls National Historical Park in Paterson, above and below. Members of the park's Paterson advisory commission are upset, calling the plan unfair to their city, which has been mismanaged fiscally for years, though there is no mention of that in the story.



More than 20 million Americans were "affected" by "the massive hack" last year of the federal Office of Personnel Management's security clearance data, according to the lead story in The Record today.

Do any of them live in North Jersey? 

Of course, reporter Ellen Nakashima, who wrote The Washington Post story The Record's editors slapped into the paper, may not even know where New Jersey is (A-1).

And the lazy editors in the Woodland Park newsroom didn't even bother trying to localize the story or report the impact on North Jersey residents.

Too many of Editor Martin Gottlieb's front pages focus on national and international news, as if he were still working at The New York Times.

Instead, the focus should be on North Jersey's home-rule system of local government, the citizens we elect to run towns both small and large, the sorry state of affairs under an absentee governor and other stories that really affect us.

Women athletes

Gottlieb and other newspaper editors love to regurgitate history, because it gives them an excuse to ignore what is happening now, as in today's front-page story on the ticker-tape parade for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (A-1).

The photo-and-text package is so consumed with the past, the team isn't even mentioned until three lines before the story "jumps" to A-6, where readers learn this is the first all-female team to march up Manhattan's Canyon of Heroes.

When is the last time The Record reported on gender pay inequality in the newsroom, in sports and at all of those businesses promoted so lavishly in the Business pages?

There goes the judge

Today also brings us another Page 1 story on a "judicial emergency," this time in New Jersey's federal courts, where the 17 judges are "barely keeping our heads above water," according to the chief judge (A-1).

The story is reported in terms of politics, not how the so-called emergency affects residents who pay their federal taxes, don't plan to violate any laws and won't be hauled into court anytime soon.

Has Chief U.S. Judge Jerome B. Simandle, a former lawyer like all of his overworked colleagues, done anything to address the increasingly higher legal fees that deny many residents access to the courts, even though they may have legitimate grievances?

That's the real injustice in both state and federal courts, but Gottlieb wouldn't dare ask.

Prince Saud who?

In today's Local section, Assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza found so little legitimate municipal news they had to use two long obituaries of people you have never heard of, including a Saudi prince (L-5).

A local obituary appears on L-1.

Sweet shops

In Better Living today, the upbeat review of Giovanna's Cafe in Ramsey mentions chicken dishes are based on antibiotic-free birds, but is silent on whether the Italian sausage and bacon used also are naturally raised and free of preservatives (BL-19).

"I particularly swooned over the thick bacon," writes Elisa Ung, who doesn't explain why artery clogging fat makes her feel light-headed.

She also "doubled back" and purchased a "lofty" carrot cake with cream-cheese frosting for $5. Her verdict: It tasted "more carrot-y."

This review is the first on "informal dining" I've seen from Ung. The 2 "hollow red stars" given Giovanna's mean, "If you're nearby, a must eat." 

With $3 to $7 appetizers and $4 to $12 entrees, this might mean The Record's management is trying to save money on restaurant reviews, among the many economy moves evident since a major downsizing in 2008. 

If you're watching you're weight, cholesterol or coronary arteries, avoid The Cake Lounge or just Cake Lounge in Little Ferry -- Ung's lukewarm July 3 review.

Home delivery

I stopped home delivery of The Record from June 27 until today -- about two weeks -- and requested delivery of all of the back copies.

But today, I received only four back copies.

When I called to resume delivery a day early, the automated system said my paper had never been stopped. 


  1. I received this comment via email on Tuesday:

    Victor -- I assume that you are away on vacation. There was a car chase through Bergen County on Sunday afternoon. The chase came to an end near my home ... and I saw Route 4 west blocked at 6 p.m. when I went to my office and at 8:20 when I came home. There was an article in The Record on Monday and a more detailed story today.

    The story today was one of the worst newspaper articles I ever read. Try to find it and see if you can figure out what happened. It might have helped if they had a map of the chase to show where the car went because I could not figure it out.

    They had the car in Englewood Cliffs then apparently in River Edge and then in Dumont and then in Paramus -- see if you can find it.

    1. Looks like I didn't get those back copies after my delivery resumed, but it's not hard to tell what happened with this story and every other breaking news story handled by lifers Deirdre Sykes, Dan Sforza and Liz Houlton.

      They are simply incompetent, and so many stories in the paper in the past decade have reflected that.

      The editing and fact-checking just about disappeared after a major downsizing in 2008, and the departure of veteran copy editors, including one of the slots, Nancy Cherry.

      You can tell that from the error-filled Road Warrior column, the corrections that appear on A-2 and stories that confuse readers and cheat them of essential information.


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