Friday, December 25, 2015

Editors ignore heart disease, even when it hits newsroom

Compare this photo of Mike Kelly, a reporter at The Record, taken from his own Web site, Mike Kelly Writer, to the dated, dark-haired thumbnail that appears with his Page 1 column today.


Mike Kelly has been writing a Record column for more than 25 years, but you would never know he is a survivor of heart disease, the No. 1 killer in the United States.

As you can see from his Page 1 column today, Kelly writes about nearly ever subject under the sun -- again and again -- rather than discuss the coronary bypasses that saved his life.

From working in the same newsroom with him for close to 30 years, I was impressed with how fit Kelly was -- tall, thin and in good shape from going out to jog during his shift.

So, how did a seemingly healthy man come close to dying? That would be a fascinating read.

Yet, after his operation, he returned to The Record and resumed his column, tackling the same subjects he had written about so many times before, including 9/11, Superstorm Sandy, Governor Christie and gun control.

Mostly, he pushes words around, and pads his columns with an excessive amount of background to fill a void -- Kelly rarely expresses an opinion about anything or blasts public officials like Christie.

Other staffers

But Kelly isn't the only staffer who ignores heart disease.

The Record has two medical writers, but neither has spent much time reporting on the causes of heart disease, and what readers can do to avoid ending up under the knife or dead from a sudden, irrevocable "widowmaker" attack. 

"Cardiac arrest" killed Alexander Kaplen, the Englewood resident whose obituary appears on the Local front today, and he was only 56. 

Food Editor Esther Davidowitz shows no understanding or concern, publishing numerous recipes filled with such artery clogging ingredients as butter and cream.

Restaurant critic Elisa Ung is totally obsessed with meat and dessert, and rarely orders a salad or vegetable at the lavish, expensive meals she enjoys on The Record's dime.

On Tuesday, excerpts from Ung's reviews of the Top 10 Restaurants of 2015 showed her clear preference for lamb, pork and beef over heart-healthy fish and other seafood.


  1. Good blog post today, the paper really should do more about heart disease.

    1. Thanks, Aaron. The same blind spot deprives readers of any incisive reporting on the obesity epidemic, even though a number of top editors have struggled mightily with their weight.


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