Tuesday, July 21, 2015

More reporting of news, views from everywhere but here

The Fort Lee street they never finished. That's the impression residents and visitors get from all of the digging, jack-hammering, patching and tearing up of Main Street in the past couple of years. On Monday, the block of Main Street with the post office, restaurants and a bakery was completely closed.


I get it. Even a minor victory over Governor Christie's regressive policies is front-page news.

That's why a deal with Senate leaders to scrap the controversial Return Home New Jersey program is on Page 1 of The Record today.

But this A-1 story involves only a few hundred developmentally disabled adults living in other states, and leading the paper with it is inappropriate.

Meanwhile, with so many better food-shopping options available in North Jersey, the bankruptcy of A&P means little to anyone who doesn't work at the 25 stores that may close (A-1).

So, why is this story on A-1?

Two corrections

A correction on A-2 today notes The Record, in a story on Sunday's Local front, "misidentified the location of a birthday celebration for 90-year-old veteran Vito Trause."

The story also misidentified one of Trause's longtime friends, Bobby Keane.

On Sunday's L-1, Staff Writer Colleen Diskin, a newsroom veteran, reported the party was at the "local Knights of Columbus Hall," a reference to Washington Township.

But on L-6, Diskin reported "the parade was followed by a party on the back lawn of the American Legion Hall."

The correction says Knights of Columbus Hall is correct, and longtime friend Bobby Keane -- who arranged "a siren-blasting escort" by police and firefighters -- was referred to incorrectly as "Danny Keane."

Just goes to show that even when Assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza focus on local news, six-figure Production Editor Liz Houlton's lax standards and lack of oversight can really screw things up.

Trump editorial

The story on Vito Trause, a prisoner of war, appeared on the same day the media went bananas over Donald Trump's derogatory comments about another POW, U.S. Sen. John McCain (Sunday's A-1).

Today, an editorial slams Trump's inane comments as an "insult to all POWs" (A-8).

And what about two big factual errors in the 90th birthday story about Vito Trause? Aren't they insulting, too?

Local crash news

If you're looking for local news today, check out the L-1 photo of a two-car accident in Fair Lawn and the photo by Tariq Zehawi, the staffer who has been ordered to chase ambulances for more years than I care to remember.

Zehawi got everything in the photo -- it almost looks posed -- but overworked police reporter Stefanie Dazio couldn't find out any details on the collision involving an Elmwood Park police cruiser.

On L-3 today, the local editors, Sykes and Sforza, show readers that orange is the new black and white -- three color photos of defendants in orange jail jumpsuits against an ocean of back headlines and type.

I see nothing in today's Local section on Monday night's scheduled meeting of the Hackensack City Council.

Greece again

Why are the media so fascinated with Greece?

Two more stories appear on the first Business page today (L-8), one bemoaning the 22 cents extra Greeks now have to pay to get onions on their souvlaki.

New Jersey's economy is just limping along, and Puerto Rico is facing bankruptcy, yet all we see in The Record is an endless stream of stories about Greece.

The Wall Street Journal reported in February that at the end of 2014, "Greeks owed their government about $86 billion in unpaid taxes accrued over decades, but mostly since 2009."

"Billions more in taxes are owed on never-reported revenue from Greece's vast underground economy," the paper reported.

If that holds lessons for New Jersey, where Christie has repeatedly vetoed a tax surcharge on millionaires, The Record has yet to draw any parallels.

And readers don't even know whether the many wealthy Greek restaurant owners in North Jersey, many of whom own homes and other property in their native country, are among those who have traditionally refused to pay taxes there, precipitating the crisis.

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