Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Error-prone, police-loving local news section limps along

The City Council meeting scheduled for tonight was held on Monday night, according to the city's Web site. On Friday, an appeals court overturned former Police Chief Ken Zisa's 2012 official-misconduct conviction, and freed him from house arrest and a pending 5-year prison sentence.


Three more corrections appear on Page A-2 of The Record today, further evidence of the breakdown of editing and fact checking at the Woodland Park daily.

On Monday's Page 1, a local reporter assigned to cover the Haskell Invitational misstated the amount of money won by American Pharoah.

He was off by $600,000.

Another local reporter misstated how Oradell's Fire Department will spend a $160,000 federal grant.

And a sports reporter committed the biggest sin of all, misspelling the last name of Wallington-Carlstadt Little League softball pitcher Abigail Tabaka.

Local news?

Meanwhile, local assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza used seven Law & Order stories as filler in today's section (L-2, L-3 and L-6).

Sykes and Sforza endeavor to stay on good terms with all of the police departments in North Jersey to ensure the flow of the Law & Order copy they rely on every day.

On L-1, Road Warrior John Cichowski focuses on a single railroad crossing the vast majority of readers will never use -- rather than report on the overall health of mass transit or the condition of local roads.

Carbon emissions

Congratulations to environmental reporter James M. O'Neill for his front-page story on President Obama's proposal to dramatically cut carbon emissions, including a strong New Jersey focus (A-1).

The day before, Editor Martin Gottlieb ran an Associated Press story on Page 1 that politicized the issue by pitting Democrats against Republicans.

In his second paragraph, O'Neill reports:

"The plan is the first large-scale attempt by the United States to try and slow the release of greenhouse gases tied to climate change ...." (A-1).

Governor Christie's opposition to the plan appears on the continuation page, as well as quotes from New Jersey environmental official on how well the state is doing on cutting emissions from power plants.

And PSEG, whose subsidiary runs large power plants in New Jersey, backs the Obama administration's goals.

This is the kind of balance reporting that has been missing from The Record, especially when it comes to Christie and the terrible job he has done since he took office in early 2010.

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