Friday, April 22, 2016

Editors giving Hackensack residents very short end of stick

Behind Hackensack High School, an eye-level tree branch has the potential to injure a parent, student or other pedestrian, especially if he has his head down as he walks up the inclined sidewalk and doesn't see it.


Today's edition of The Record has Hackensack residents again turning pages to find news of their city, the most populous in Bergen County.

Way back on L-3, in Local, they'll find a story about a Hackensack police lieutenant who won't be the city's first black captain, as expected, because he failed part of the exam.

That's certainly embarrassing, but some readers question why Staff Writer John Seasly seems to enjoy rubbing in the failure of the officer, James Prise, who will remain a lieutenant.

At the same time, he or one of his editors is responsible for dropping from the story the title, first name and middle initial of City Manager David R. Troast. 

Only "Troast" appears three times in the story. 

This is the same reporter who misspelled the last name of Richard L. Cerbo, who spoke at this week's council meeting and appealed for a tax cut.

New reporter

Seasly took over the Hackensack beat this year, and mostly has covered City Council meetings, writing about downtown development, the city budget, the Police Department and other related news.

He's completely ignored the biggest school system in Bergen County, and didn't cover the issues or candidates in this week's Board of Education and school budget election.

Of course, Seasly may not be the one to blame at a newspaper that has been editor-driven for decades, and now is being led so poorly by Deirdre Sykes.

Like many young reporters at The Record, Seasly takes his marching orders from an assistant assignment editor, who remains anonymous, spends most of his or her time sitting behind a computer and may not know anything about Hackensack.

Korean BBQ

Today's "Good" to "Excellent" review of a Korean barbecue restaurant has Staff Writer Elisa Ung again displaying her ignorance of the harmful antibiotics, growth hormones and low-quality feed used to raise the vast majority of beef in the United States.

That's a disservice to readers who might actually believe that any meat labeled "prime" also is, as Ung says, "high-end" or "better quality" (BL-16).

What would truly make the meat superior is if it came from cattle that were grass fed, and were raised without antibiotics and hormones, but as usual, Ung doesn't say. 

And the restaurant, Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong in Palisades Park, loses points for using gas grills, not the more authentic charcoal.

Ung also omits mention of whether the restaurant requires you to buy two orders of meat, pork or poultry (at $22.99 to $35.99 each) in order to have them cooked at the table, as most Korean BBQ places do.

Nor does she say whether non-meat eaters can order shrimp to cook at the table, wrap in lettuce leaves and enjoy with kimchi and other Korean side dishes. 

All in all, here is another review that smacks far more of promotion than journalism.

Hackensack Chronicle

The Record's poor job of covering Hackensack since a major newsroom downsizing in 2008, followed by North Jersey Media Group completely abandoning the city in 2009, is bad enough.

But the Hackensack Chronicle, the NJMG tabloid delivered with The Record on Fridays, is so stale the weekly is of little use beyond lining a litter box.

The Chronicle didn't cover the issues in Tuesday's school election or report on the attempted political comeback of the Zisa family, who backed two of the three winning candidates.

The lead story today is about City Council action at Monday night's meeting.

School election results won't appear until next Friday, if then.

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