Sunday, August 30, 2015

Editors run fake and real horse races on the front page

At Newark Liberty International Airport's Terminal C this morning, this departure level was relatively calm. The airport's cellphone lot still is hard to find because there are no signs at airport entrances that direct drivers there. Follow signs for "Rental Car Returns" and "South Area," then you'll see signs directing you to the lot.


Nearly 11 months before the major party conventions and nearly 15 months before the election itself, can anyone predict how close the 2016 presidential contest will be?

Of course not, but that doesn't stop the media from engaging in endless rounds of speculation on the nominees and who worries whom, such as today's Page 1 story in The Record.

Editors and reporters are so bored they have to manufacture a horse race every four years as a way of trying to engage readers whose real interest are the issues that affect their every day life -- such as the environment, gun control, Social Security and Medicare.

The Record's editor, New York Times veteran Martin Gottlieb, and the people running most of the nation's media shy away from exploring important issues, preferring to report extensively on the political conflict that has paralyzed Congress, and given birth to the "sound bite."

More manure

For the only real horse race on the front page today, see the disappointing performance of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, whose wealthy owner lives in Teaneck.

The report from the spa town of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., was written by veteran sports reporter John Rowe, whose newsroom demeanor resembles that of a funeral director.

Gender change

A-1 is dominated today by a sensitive piece on a soldier's gender change from Staff Writer Todd South, the Hackensack reporter who is a veteran of the Afghanistan war.

In a Tweet today, South called the piece on Jennifer Long of Kearny "a story that took a lot of work but was worth it."

That may explain why Hackensack readers haven't seen any stories about the city from him recently, including in today's Local section.

The gender-change story continues on A-12 and A-13 -- totaling nearly two full newspaper pages -- making one wonder how many readers will stay with it to the end. 

Local news?

Readers' eyes continue to roll over the complete breakdown of editing and fact-checking, despite such six-figure newsroom editors as Deirdre Sykes and Liz Houlton.

A typo in the first paragraph of a local obituary for a World War II fighter pilot is so obvious readers wonder how everyone -- assignment editor, news editor, copy editor, copy desk supervisor, page proofer and Houlton or their stand ins -- could possibly have missed it.

"The Battle of the Bulge" is rendered as "The Battle of the Budge."

Opinion section?

The copy of The Record thrown onto my driveway today is missing the Opinion section, which includes the lone Margulies cartoon of the week.

Click on the following link to see the cartoon, one of the few mentions of Governor Christie in today's paper:

California's drought is getting worse ...

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