Sunday, November 29, 2015

Production editor misses bad headline, reporting errors

Utility work, such as this project at Passaic and Main streets in Hackensack on Nov. 24, has kept residents guessing which streets will be closed next. Meanwhile, after the work is finished, most of the streets are crudely patched, ensuring a rough ride for drivers.

Editor's note: This post has been revised to reflect yet another major error on Page 1, this one in a sports brief. As a reader in Hackensack notes, Rutgers University's football team lost to Maryland, not Nebraska. See comments section at end of post.


The Record's front page today explores how special interests have made a mockery of efforts to control guns and provide more mass transit in North Jersey.

But all of the jawboning from lawmakers and experts assembled by Staff Writer Christopher Maag and Columnist Mike Kelly will do little to advance those goals (A-1).

Meanwhile, below the fold, so-called commuting Columnist John Cichowski continues to ignore the lack of rush-hour seats on trains and buses, and Governor Christie's state-aid cuts, which forced NJ Transit to raise fares and cut service (A-1).

Those three stories or columns are simply way too long for time-pressed readers, and seem intended to fill space more than anything else.

Errors mount

Glaring errors in Maag's lead story today (A-1), and a bad headline on Saturday's front page have readers wondering how six-figure Production Editor Liz Houlton, and the supervisors of the copy desk keep their jobs.

In Maag's first two paragraphs today, meetings in May 1928 and November 2015 are said to be "86 years" apart, but if anyone bothered to do the arithmetic, they are actually 87.5 years apart.

Also on the front page, a photo caption is wrong in saying the tracks in Englewood shown in the photo are "unused." 

On the continuation page (A-12), Maag is incorrect is calling one line the New York Susquehanna & Erie railroad.

As readers can see from the graphic on the same page, it's the New York Susquehannah & Western.

And at one point, Maag says NJ Transit trains run "as far east" as Lake Hopatcong when he should have written "as far west."

The many errors in Maag's story also were apparent to reader Michael Keen, who commented on North

"So many errors in this article. Tracks in Englewood are not unused, just not used for passenger service. The 1928 plan "envisioned trains running from Englewood to Jersey City?" Like they had already been doing for decades? The New York, Susquehanna and Erie? Not Western? Today, NJ Transit runs trains "as far east as Lake Hopatcong?" That's how far west they run. The "section" of the NYS&W between Paterson and Hackensack has no electricity? Neither does any other section of that line."

Bad headline

On Saturday's front page, The Record's annual story on Black Friday shopping appeared under a puzzling headline:

Spreading the wealth

The word "wealth" doesn't appear anywhere in the story, and readers must have been puzzled over just whose "wealth" was being spread and to whom.

North Jersey Media Group, publisher of The Record, certainly hasn't been spreading any "wealth," judging from a freeze on newsroom raises that has been effect for several years.

Political appointee

On the Local front today, a story on Joanne M. Cimiluca doesn't explore how Bergen County's acting director of economic development was able to move with ease between a government job and private industry (Montvale-based Mercedes-Benz), and back (L-1).

Can taxpayers really afford to pay this political appointee $121,182 a year, with little or no evidence in the story that she succeeded in advancing economic development when she first held the job from November 2006 to July 2010?

That is especially galling in Hackensack, where hundreds of millions of dollars in untaxed Bergen County property unfairly shifts the burden onto homeowners.


  1. A reader in Hackensack says:

    Victor -- I know that you are not a sports fan or follow the Record sports coverage but there was a major error in the paper today. On Page One, there is a box directing readers to a story about Rutgers football, and says that Rutgers blew a big lead to Nebraska on Saturday.

    Actually they blew the lead to Maryland, and the Sports section refers to the loss to Maryland. They got the wrong team on the front page. Really sloppy editing as the whole week sports lead up was to the Rutgers-Maryland game. Further, Nebraska played Iowa in a major nationally televised game about which any college football fan would be aware.

    1. With both news and sports, the lack of editing and proofreading reflect the owners' philosophy: Take the money and run.


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