Wednesday, April 13, 2016

No news today? Editors, reporters learn the art of faking it

A desperate homeless man walked onto the Cross-Bronx Expressway and stood between lanes in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Tuesday afternoon to panhandle for money, above and below.

If he had tried this on the streets of the Bronx, he'd have been run over in minutes by one of the many cockroach-like livery drivers, who think nothing of passing stop signs and red lights, making U-turns in front of oncoming traffic or stopping anywhere and blocking traffic to let out a passenger.


If you think that big mass-transit story on the front page of The Record today reports actual news, you'll be sorely disappointed.

Adding 4,100 parking spaces at the Secaucus Junction rail station is just a plan -- and commuters won't see any of them for at least five years, judging from the past (A-1).

Staff Writer Christopher Maag, the paper's chief transportation reporter, gingerly avoids mentioning just how long it might be.

But he does tell readers deep on the continuation page that a 1,089-space lot opened in 2009, about six years after the transfer station itself (A-8).

Maag and Staff Writer Paul Berger, the Port Authority reporter, might come up with real news, if only they challenged the agencies they cover on why North Jersey commuters long ago ran out of rush-hour seats on trains and buses. 

Beach litter

And in another Page 1 story today, Staff Writer Scott Fallon apparently didn't think to call shore officials and ask them why they don't ticket and fine beachgoers for littering.

Instead, Fallon turned in another routine story on the mountains of litter picked up by volunteers along New Jersey's 172 miles of coastline (A-1).

The silly headline also is a clunker. Why not just say it like it is?

"Stop being a fat slob
 when you visit the shore"

Fatal crash

In the lead story on the Local front today, acting Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal says "investigators were still trying to determine the speeds" at which a police car and a Hackensack man's car were traveling when they collided on March 31 (L-1).

But markings left on the pavement by Grewal's own fatal-accident investigators indicate that the police cruiser pushed the man's Mazda sedan about 40 feet after it T-boned the car at Summit and Ross avenues in Hackensack.

That suggests the police car was traveling at a high rate of speed -- perhaps 60 mph -- in a 35-mph zone as an officer responded to an emergency.

The Record hasn't bothered to report that nor has it explored whether John Parham, 67, a security guard who lived a few blocks away, would have survived the collision, if he was driving a newer car with up-to-date safety features like side air bags and side-intrusion beams in doors.

Road Warrior John Cichowski generally has ignored the challenges senior drivers face and especially their propensity to hold onto cars that are 15 to 20 years old and have woefully outdated safety features.

Today's story reports Officer Stephen Ochman had both his emergency lights and siren activated before the crash -- contrary to statements from a woman who lives at the intersection, heard the crash and then went outside. 

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