Sunday, June 5, 2016

Ali's battles against racism, war deserve a banner headline

Appropriately, the family that owned Harley's Irish Pub on River Street in Hackensack, above and below, chose Friday the 13th last November to close after 37 years in business. The pub was the scene of many boozy going-away parties before The Record newsroom moved out of the city in 2009. published a tribute to Harley's.

On Saturday, worked continued to replace the pub building at 366 River St. with the second location of Chicken Supreme, a fast-food restaurant in Paterson.


One glance at The Record's front page today shows how the once-great local newspaper continues to allow advertising revenue to shape news coverage.

The legacy of Muhammad Ali -- who spent most of his life fighting racism and an unjust war in Vietnam -- is denied a banner headline to make room for another piece on the greedy real estate industry (A-1).

Starting a highly promotional Sunday Real Estate section to boost advertising revenue, and folding the award-winning Food section, were among Publisher Stephen A. Borg's major moves when he took over a decade ago.

Editor Deirdre Sykes wasted more space on A-1 today by running an awful Tara Sullivan column on Ali's "magnificent boxing form."

You'll have to turn to an inside page to see President Obama's tribute:

"Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it" (A-8).

House Warrior

Readers wondered whether Staff Writer John Cichowski -- the so-called Road Warrior commuting columnist -- was offered a real estate commission in return for two front-page pieces last week that tried to sell a house without a driveway in Midland Park, where overnight parking supposedly is "banned."

Sykes and six-figure Production Editor Liz Houlton didn't bother publishing an A-2 correction after Cichowski screwed-up and inflated the size of the property on Friday to 12,000 square feet from Tuesday's 3,000 square feet.

Today, Cichowski devotes his entire column to an incorrect street sign and other trivia (L-1).

Two of the many vacant storefronts on Palisade Avenue in Englewood once housed a Wendy's fast-food restaurant and Victoria's Secret. The Record has largely ignored the struggles of downtown merchants in favor of heavy coverage of shopping centers that advertise in the Woodland Park daily.

Downtown news? 

For many years, the business editors have directed the paper's retailing reporter to devote her time exclusively to covering North Jersey malls and luxury stores, which are among the biggest advertisers.

Today, the Business front carries a rare story on Main Street in downtown Hackensack, where a half-dozen wireless stores are competing for customers (B-1).

Staff Writer Joan Verdon describes Hackensack's Main Street as a "downtown retail street with strong traffic, from cars and pedestrians."

Really? The street has struggled since the publisher of the Woodland Park daily closed the landmark building at 150 River St. nearly seven years ago, and pulled out more than a thousand employees.

Governor Christie

In Opinion today, readers find an idiotic Mike Kelly column on the killing of that zoo gorilla in Ohio (O-1).

Has Kelly really run out of ideas for his New Jersey column?

Readers find the strongest disapproval of Governor Christie -- New Jersey's worst governor ever -- in Margulies' Sunday cartoon (O-2), not in opinion columns or editorials.

That's a sad commentary on the paper's Editorial Board, the only one attached to a major New Jersey daily that didn't call for Christie's resignation after the GOP bully endorsed racist Donald Trump.

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