Sunday, February 21, 2016

Editors are turning front page into a dog-and-pony show

Finally, two eastbound lanes are open on the Route 46 bridge over the Hackensack River, above, more than 19 months after work began to eliminate the Little Ferry Circle and rebuild the span. One westbound lane remained closed with cones on Saturday. The project created a major traffic bottleneck.

Now, drivers on Bergen Turnpike, above, have two left-turn lanes that lead to the eastbound lanes of the Route 46 bridge.

On Route 46 in Little Ferry, drivers can use turn lanes in each direction. Above, drivers preparing to turn left into Bergen Turnpike. A letter to the editor of The Record today misidentified the intersection as Route 46 and "South River Street" (O-3).


The Record's editors -- seemingly unable to find local news worthy of Page 1 -- today waste a huge amount of space on a 9-year-old girl "boxer" from Bergenfield.

The story by Staff Writer Colleen Diskin doesn't explore why for the past two years, Pedro Silva has been pushing daughter Jesselyn into a brutal sport with the potential of horrific injury and death (A-1 and A-8).

Editor Deirdre Sykes, who once ran The Record's thin local-news section, showed even more desperation last Wednesday, when two show dogs from a small Bergen County town landed on A-1.

Sykes continues to preside over a weak municipal-news report -- whether it's rooted in a shortage of staff, laziness or sheer incompetence.

Local or loco?

On the front of Local today, John Seasly, whose byline has appeared over two Hackensack stories recently, writes about skiers in Mahwah (L-1).

The section carries municipal or school news from Fort Lee, Teaneck and several other towns, but nothing from Hackensack.

An entire story is devoted to the 40-year-old elevator at West Milford High School, even though the paper has never reported on the frequent breakdowns of the elevator at Hackensack High School (L-3).

Strong tea, weak story

Tetley is only the second-largest manufacturer and distributor of tea, but the company gets millions of dollars worth of free publicity from Food Editor Esther Davidowitz today (BL-1).

What motivated Davidowitz and her bosses to run a story that is the journalism equivalent of dishwater?

Supreme waste

Another waste is a column about the friendship between Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia or what Mike Kelly calls a "lesson for our times" (O-1).

An editorial today states incorrectly that the Lincoln Tunnel has a "finite capacity for accommodating more buses" (O-2).

That's certainly the case as long as the Port Authority operate only one exclusive bus lane into the tunnel, and does so only on weekday mornings.

But the Lincoln Tunnel has six lanes in three tubes, so that leaves plenty of room for more buses from North Jersey -- as long as two exclusive lanes are operated both morning and evening.

Now, those lanes are clogged with cars that often carry only a driver. 

A rendering of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub.

Saturday's paper

The Record continued its one-dimensional coverage of mass transit on Saturday's front page with a story on the cost overruns at the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub.

Sykes and other editors continue to ignore the tremendous cost to society of an over-reliance on the automobile -- from increasing air pollution, sickness and disease to the tens of millions of dollars in lost productivity.

A new transit hub should be celebrated, if it means commuters leave their cars at home, and ride buses, ferries and trains.

The Port Authority is behind the $4 billion transit hub, but the bi-state agency is supported by tolls and fees from bridges, tunnels, air and seaports -- not taxpayer money.

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