Thursday, February 25, 2016

Practicing journalism for the few while ignoring the many

Watching the construction of a new Bergen County Justice Center next to the courthouse in Hackensack is about as exciting as watching paint dry. On Wednesday, attorneys, visitors and jurors who parked in a new garage on Court Street had to walk past the site in puddles or over mud and rocks to reach the courthouse entrance.

Nearly five months after the new Court Street Garage opened, parking still is free. Ticket machines and gates aren't working. What exactly is the financial loss to the county? Bergen paid $777,660 to lease 540 parking spaces for two years at the old Record headquarters on River Street during construction of the garage.


On Page 1 today, The Record updates readers on the decades-old deaths of Americans from Teaneck and West Orange "in Iran-sponsored terrorist attacks."

On the Local front, another column revives the death 20 years ago of driver Michael Eastman from ice that flew off of a truck on Route 17 in Paramus (L-1).

What is all this dated journalism about a relatively few people doing in The Record today, even as the vast majority of readers search in vain for coverage of their lives in North Jersey?

On the front page, Columnist Mike Kelly is so shameless he doesn't mention that he wrote a book about Sara Duker, a Teaneck woman who was killed in a Jerusalem bus bombing "20 years ago today" (A-1).

Iran, Cuba

What Kelly refuses to recognize in his rants on the Iran deal and normalization of relations with Cuba is the likely benefit to tens of millions of people that far outweighs the lingering pain of a few dozen families.

On L-1, Columnist John Cichowski is so confused he calls a driver who was injured, but not killed, by flying ice "a likely poster child" for getting a law passed in New York State to require motorists to sweep ice and snow off of their cars.

Facebook changes

The Page 1 column on new Facebook "emojis" makes you wonder when The Record's editors are going to explore how computers, smart phones, navigation systems and other advances are leaving an increasingly large number of older readers in the dark.

The Woodland Park daily largely confines its coverage of seniors to those who are institutionalized or are attending day care programs for adults suffering from dementia.

Local news?

Today's Black History Month story from Hackensack's Jackson Avenue School reminds city residents they haven't seen any coverage of their school board for more than a year, if not longer (L-1).

Staff Writer John Seasly, newly assigned to Hackensack, also has a second story in the paper today on a federal judge who dismissed a lawsuit against two city police officers (L-3).

Fairway losses

Part of Staff Writer Joan Verdon's story on the financial problems that may drive New York-based Fairway Market into bankruptcy seems to have come from a public relations firm (L-7).

"Fairway's niche is offering a quintessential New York-style shopping experience, with butchers and bakers who banter with shoppers, along with low prices on produce, and staples, and a wide assortment of specialty and gourmet food items and prepared meals," Verdon reports. 

Sadly, those low prices are only a memory. 

And Fairway's store in the Fashion Center, the struggling mall in Paramus, never offered shoppers 5 cents or 10 cents back for bringing a reusable shopping bag.

But the biggest turnoff was the staff's abrasive New York attitude, such as a fish-counter employee's refusal to devein $15-a-pound jumbo shrimp.

With ShopRite, Costco Wholesale and Whole Foods Market, Bergen County never needed Fairway, and many people won't be sorry to see the arrogant New York owners fail miserably in their greedy over-expansion.

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