Saturday, January 2, 2016

Murder-mayhem coverage is a real crime against readers

On New Year's Eve, two SUV drivers challenged each other for the right of way at Euclid and Prospect avenues in Hackensack, resulting in a big crash. Stop signs on Euclid and intersecting streets are routinely ignored, especially at the NJ Transit tracks.


Scanning today's front page, many readers still may feel hung over.

Page 1 of The Record is filled once again with more murder and mayhem -- a sensational mix of police, court and accident news (A-1 today and Friday). 

Tens of millions of Americans are sick and tired of gun violence, yet the news services can't resist politicizing President Obama's proposals to control it (A-1).

Today also brings a front-page story on big drug busts, in this case the seizure of 3 million doses of heroin (A-1).

But using the word "dent" in the headline blunts the impact.

Fire boxes?

There is so much detail in the A-1 story on fire boxes readers might wonder why the editors can't pay this kind of attention to a far more important story -- municipal finances.

From the looks of the Local front today, Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza might have nothing else to run, if there wasn't continued gun violence in Paterson (L-1).

Friday's paper

Road Warrior John Cichowski's column on pedestrian deaths completely misses the point, and he's been covering the issue for more than a decade (Friday's L-1).

Nothing less than severe criminal penalties will stop drivers from running over pedestrians, whether they are in a crosswalk or not.

If police and prosecutors would stop accepting such excuses as "I didn't see" the pedestrian or "I was blinded" by sun glare -- and lawmakers passed criminal laws to back them up -- the number of deaths and injuries surely would fall.

Knocking over a pedestrian is assault with a deadly weapon, pure and simple, and killing one is vehicular homicide.

Photo oops

In Friday's Informal Dining review, Elisa Ung raves about Steve & Andrea's "robust hearty chicken soup, thick with dark meat and greens" (Better Living).

But a photo in the top right corner of Page BL-10 shows a bowl of the Rutherford luncheonette's chicken soup with only a little white meat and hardly any greens.

There is no explanation why Friday was the second in a row with a review of a casual spot, previously a feature that appeared every two weeks.

The casual dining review recalls an old feature, Eating Out on $50, which reported on restaurants where four people could have dinner for that amount, including tax and tip.

This time, putting the focus on inexpensive restaurants looks like an economy move by North Jersey Media Group, which pays for the enormous meals enjoyed by Ung and her guests.

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