Thursday, February 4, 2016

A kid you never heard of gets better A-1 play than Obama

WHY OUR TAXES ARE SO HIGH: On Wednesday afternoon, an incident involving a school bus near the monument in Englewood drew a large response, including an ambulance from Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, above; a rescue unit from the city's Fire Department, hospital paramedics and at least three police cars to close streets, below. The police cars are not shown.

In the past two decades, The Record's local editors have been derelict in failing to report on the wasteful duplication of services in home-rule towns. Meanwhile, the editorial page should be calling for a salary cap on police chiefs, and much more cooperation among towns to save money and lessen the impact on property tax payers.


Deirdre Sykes is only the second woman to hold the top editing job at The Record, but she is proving to be no different than her sports-obsessed male predecessors.

Can you imagine the discussion at Wednesday afternoon's news meeting, where editors from news, sports, business and features sit down and decide story placement and play, including what should appear on today's front page, the most important in the paper?

The news editors promote President Obama's historic visit to a mosque amid all the hate speech against Muslims, including Syrian refugees who want to settle in North Jersey, but the sports editor is itching to be heard: 

"OK. I have a better story. There's this black kid, Rashan Gary, a high school student we like to call 'North Jersey's football titan ....'"

Collectively, the other editors in the room say, "Who?"   

Yet, today's front page is dominated by "Who?"

And Obama ends up at the bottom of Page 1, under a bunch of Hasidic Jews who rescued a George Washington Bridge jumper. 

Ignoring readers

Is there anything else in today's paper to interest the majority of readers?

Why run a Page 1 follow-up on "dismal" test scores?

At least Sykes had the good sense to run Governor Christie's campaign crap from New Hampshire on A-3, instead of A-1, but that means the continuing crisis over New Jersey transportation funding is buried today (A-4).

Local news?

The Local front resembles a police blotter again, one of Sykes' specialties when she was head assignment editor.

There are an astounding 14 Law & Order stories in the thin-local news section.

And why is a long story from Washington on proposals to ease the burden of college loans and provide two years of free community college buried deep in Local (L-6)?

That would have fit well on A-3, and to hell with the governor who has said to hell with New Jersey.

Uber alles?

On the first Business page, another staff-written story on Uber continues to hide the exploitation of drivers (L-7).

Staff Writer Richard Newman simply regurgitates the company line:

"Uber promises to pay a gross fare of $15 an hour during slow periods or $20 an hour in busy periods, not including Uber's commission...."

Why not mention the size of the commission (Uber gets at least 20% of the fare), that tips are included in the fare; and that drivers use their own cars, and pay for gas, insurance and maintenance?

Traveling light

A Jill Schensul column offering a guide to travelers on the Zika virus appears on the Better Living front today.

Contrast that with the travel editor's usually frivolous column in her own section, which offers little practical advice on getting the best bang out of your travel dollars.

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