Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Editors crow over PA scoop, ignore mass-transit failures

Rain barrels are an easy way to conserve water during what federal weather officials are calling a "moderate drought" in North Jersey, according to The Record.


The Record's editors waste no time today taking credit on Page 1 for a scoop exposing a United Airlines flight between Newark and Columbia, S.C., "to curry favor" with David Samson when he was chairman of the powerful Port Authority.

A federal and internal probe of the special flight for Samson, often called a mentor and father figure to Governor Christie, led to the departure of the Newark-based airline's CEO (A-1).

But the Woodland Park daily has done a far poorer job exposing how little the bistate agency has done to expand mass-transit operations, including the PATH commuter rail system and the reverse bus lane into the Lincoln Tunnel.

The agency's mass-transit failures affect far more readers than another so-called expose of cronyism and favoritism in high places.

Christie P.R.

Editor Martin Gottlieb continues to assign Staff Writer Melissa Hayes to cover Christie's doomed bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

Hayes' story, which sounds more like public relations than hard-hitting reporting, appears on Page 1, marveling over the conservative bully holding more town hall meetings in New Hampshire than any other GOP clown (A-1).

Local news?

On the Local front today, Assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza give lavish coverage to the opening of a $20 million science, technology, engineering and mathematics center at the hoity toity Dwight-Englewood School (L-1).

The private school, on the mansion-filled East Hill of Englewood, counts among its alumni Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg, chairman of North Jersey Media Group; his wife Sandra Agemian Borg; son Stephen A. Borg, publisher of The Record; and daughter Jennifer A. Borg, NJMG vice president and general counsel.

Stephen's sons, Alexander, Austin and Charlie, are in the Dwight-Englewood Classes of 2017, 2019 and 2021, respectively.

In the past, coverage of Englewood's private schools has been far more extensive than that of the troubled public schools, even though both Sykes and Sforza covered the small city as reporters before they were promoted to assignment editors.

'Horse' in Teaneck

Instead of municipal news, another lead story on the Local front catches up to the seizure of $3.5 million in heroin, also called "horse," and the arrest of a California man in a home on Bryant Avenue in Teaneck.

There is no explanation for why Sykes and Sforza didn't report the Friday arrest and seizure until a press release came out on Tuesday or why the identity of the house renter eluded the three reporters who worked on the story (L-1 and L-2).

More filler

The desperate local editors also needed more Law & Order news and two drive-by accident photos to fill their thin section today (L-3).

The caption under a photo of a tobacco truck fire at Routes 17 and 80 in Hackenack doesn't say whether the driver was speeding, his load shifted or whether the bridge abutment he hit was damaged.

And the photo is all the Hackensack news you'll find today.

More filler appears in Business, where an entire half page is wasted on a story about "auto parts suppliers" by the Detroit Free Press (L-9).

Happy New Year

On the Better Living cover today, freelancer Sachi Fujimori shares Rosh Hashana recipes from Israeli chefs in North Jersey (BL-1).

She says these "culinary artisans grew up with the flavors of the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa."

But none of the recipes on BL-4 contain Middle Eastern or North African spices and herbs.

Fujimori was a reporter at The Record for more than 5 years, leaving in February 2014. She also worked at the Herald News.

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