Wednesday, August 31, 2016

First Record pink slips reportedly will be issued on Oct. 15

The Record is reporting a proposal to move the USS Ling to Paterson presents cost and engineering challenges, but not that the World War II-era sub is stuck in the mud of the Hackensack River and listing, as this photo from April shows.


Gannett, which has owned The Record for less than two months, will be issuing pink slips to copy editors, page designers and other so-called production workers on Oct. 15, a New York tabloid says.

Those employees were summoned to an Aug. 22 meeting and told production would be moved from Woodland Park to Neptune, where six other Gannett dailies are put out, Keith J. Kelly of the New York Post reported.

Gannett paid the Borg family "an estimated $40 million for the 121-year-old paper and sister titles and websites," says Kelly, the first reporter to disclose the selling price.

The Borgs held onto about 20 acres along River Street in Hackensack, where The Record was headquartered until 2009, and the land may fetch $20 million to $30 million when sold to an apartment developer.

Kelly says Gannett executives told copy editors, designers and other production workers they would have to apply for new jobs -- the same process former Publisher Stephen A. Borg used during a major newsroom downsizing in 2008.

"They will learn on Oct. 15 if they have jobs," Kelly reported on Saturday. "No word on how many will be getting pink slips."

One of those who is expected to go is six-figure Production Editor Liz Houlton, who earned the title of "Queen of Errors" when she ran the features copy desk.

Kelly's story has reporters and other newsroom staffers anxiously wondering when the Gannett ax will fall on them.

The Record lost four veteran copy editors in the 2008 downsizing, as well as the co-supervisor of the copy desk who single-handedly upheld standards of accuracy, grammar and news writing.

See: Borgs take money and run

Today's paper

For the second day in a row, Governor Christie's conservative policies dominate Page 1 -- this time his explanation for why he vetoed, as expected, raising New Jersey's minimum wage to $15 by 2021 (A-1).

And for the second day in a row, State House Bureau reporter Dustin Racioppi turns out another slanted report, calling the proposal "a Democratic effort to join the nascent but politically divisive effort to mandate increased pay for entry and lower-level workers."

(Yes. The clunky, wordy first paragraph actually includes the word "effort" twice.)

Why is Racioppi politicizing the minimum-wage hike rather than reporting Christie's veto is a rebuke to tens of thousands low-wage workers in the state, including Walmart employees who are paid so little they have to apply for food stamps to feed their families?

More politics

And an editorial criticizing Democrats also supports Christie (A-8).

The editorial notes Democrats plan to put a constitutional amendment on the 2017 ballot, but urges them to try to override the veto instead.

But amending the constitution worked in 2013, when the minimum wage was raised to $8.25 an hour and tied to inflation, and will likely work again -- most voters are in favor of a higher minimum wage, and two other states already have enacted it.

Stuck with Christie?

Despite Gannett's purchase of The Record, reporters, columnists and editorial writers continue to side with the GOP bully, despite his more than 500 vetoes and his endorsement of wacko racist Donald J. Trump for president.

Yet months ago, six other New Jersey dailies owned by Gannett, as well as The Star-Ledger, called on him to resign.

The Record is alone is refusing to do so, and hasn't even reported those calls for Christie's resignation. 

USS Ling

"The Ling is looking to move from its location beside the Hackensack River on property slated for redevelopment by the former owner[s] of The Record," according to today's Local front.

But Paterson Press reporter Joe Malinconico forgot to call the Borgs, the former owners, and ask them why they don't help finance the move (L-1).

After all, they are cash rich after reaping $40 million from the sale of The Record, and are expecting another huge windfall from sale of the land along River Street in Hackensack where the sub is stuck in the mud.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hackensack construction closes day care center building

Rainbow Castle Preschool at 142-48 Main St. in Hackensack was evacuated after pile driving and other construction work at a site next to the building damaged the foundation and other parts of the building, a city official said.

One of three "UNSAFE STRUCTURE" notices on the two-story building, which has offices on the second floor and remains empty about a month after it was declared unsafe for "human occupancy." This notice is dated "7-27-16."


Teachers, children and other occupants of a Hackensack day care center were ordered out of the building after work on a 14-story project next door damaged the foundation, walls and other structures.

City officials also ordered a work stoppage on the project, a 382-unit apartment building and 7,500 square feet of new retail space at Main and Mercer streets -- the biggest and most visible sign of a sweeping downtown rehabilitation plan.

In early February, Eye on The Record reported that everyone from children attending the preschool next to the enormous pit to the lawyers down the block were going bananas over the constant hammering of steel support beams into the ground.

"I can hardly concentrate," one lawyer said.

An employee of Rainbow Castle Preschool at 142-48 Main St. said the noise was driving everyone crazy, but that the children had grown accustomed to the repetitive thud that can be felt inside the building.

In addition to preschool, Rainbow Castle offered infant and kindergarten classes, and most of the children came from working class families.

Complaint to state

Then, in July, a complaint was made to the state agency that licenses day care centers, and that led to an inspection of the building, a city Building Department official said today.

Based on a report from the project's engineer, the two-story day care center building was declared unsafe and evacuated on July 27, the official said, and construction work next door was halted.

The day care center can't reopen until city officials review a second report from the same engineer that it is safe.

The 14-story project is an undertaking of the Alkova Cos. of Alpine, and the day care center building owner is Fairway Terrace Corp. of Norwood.

Calls to the day care center are referred to a "Mr. Song," but his number is no longer in service.

The pile driver is silent now, and no work is going on at Main and Mercer streets in Hackensack, below.

Today's paper

Governor Christie's elaborate public relations machine scored another splashy front page in The Record today (A-1).

A news story and political column at the top of Page 1 regurgitate every single word and claim from Christie about the successful expansion of Medicaid in New Jersey.

But there's bad news in yet another adoring column from Staff Writer Charles Stile, who reports the GOP bully "hasn't given up the dream of running for president" in 2020 (A-8).

That likely means Stile hasn't given up his dream of being chosen as Christie's communications director, in the unlikely event the worst governor in New Jersey history wins the White House.

Sanitizes record

Sadly, the A-1 Medicaid pieces and an upbeat editorial on A-6 completely omit any mention of Christie being among more than 30 conservative Republican governors who refused to set up a state marketplace under the Affordable Care Act.

That attempted sabotage meant people seeking health-care insurance were thrown onto the overburdened federal marketplace, and had far fewer plans to choose from.

Oscar Insurance is the latest to announce it will no longer cover New Jersey residents on Jan. 1.

Slanted editorial

Similarly, an editorial on rising gun violence in Paterson slams city officials from wanting to raise more revenue with a traffic-ticket blitz (A-6).

Hire more cops, thunders Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin, while conveniently forgetting to mention Christie's deep state aid cuts to Paterson and other poor cities forced the initial Police Department layoffs or that his vetoes loosened controls on concealed weapons.

This deliberate slanting of stories, columns and editorial about Christie continues even after the wealthy Borg family sold North Jersey Media Group to Gannett Co. on July 6.

Gannett P.R.

Also on Page 1 today is the inspirational photo and profile of Gianfranco Iannotta, 22, a Garfield resident who will complete in the Rio Paralympics next week.

But the shameful public relations for Christie at the top of the page is echoed below the fold with Gannett Co. P.R about The Record's new president and editor (A-1).

Here's a perfect example of what editors call "burying the lead." 

The replacement of Editor Deirdre Sykes after only seven months in the job -- as reported on on Monday -- isn't mentioned until deep into the continuation page (A-4).

Meyer and Green

Most of the announcement is devoted to the resumes and accomplishments of Nancy A. Meyer and Richard A. Green, who will take over as president and editor, respectively, on Sept. 6.

The story is filled with corporate jargon, but doesn't address the drastic decline in local-news coverage since the Borgs moved their flagship paper out of Hackensack in 2009.

Meyer is described as an "exceptional team builder who develops innovative, customer-centric solutions to drive sustainable growth" (A-4).

Green is "returning to his favorite place -- the newsroom," according to the corporate press release.

"He will be a strong news leader for ... North Jersey Media Group," another executive enthuses.

Green says he looks forward to working with the "team" at NJMG "to develop plans to continue expanding our audience, diversifying our revenue base, and building out our digital voice."

Gannett describes NJMG as The Record, "which serves Bergen County and neighboring areas ...; the Herald News, a daily newspaper for Paterson and surrounding towns; more than 50 community weekly newspapers; a high-end monthly magazine; and several digital properties, including North"

Monday, August 29, 2016

Gannett replaces editor who spent years fighting way to top

In this Jan. 29 photo from, newsroom staffers applauded the promotion of Deirdre Sykes, left foreground, to editor of The Record of Woodland Park, succeeding Martin Gottlieb, center.


Deirdre Sykes of Harrington Park worked in nearly every desk job in The Record's newsroom before she was promoted in January to top editor of the daily paper she joined in 1987.

Now -- exactly seven months later and less than two months after Gannett Co. bought The Record -- the announcement came that Sykes will be replaced on Sept. 6.

Sykes, who is in her 60s, will be given "a new leadership position in the newsroom," according to

Richard A. Green, who was president and publisher of The Cincinnati Inquirer and The Des Moines Register, will become vice president/news and editor of The Record, replacing the second woman to serve as editor.

In a second appointment announced by Gannett, Nancy A. Meyer, 52, formerly publisher and CEO of the Orlando Sentinel Media Group, has been named president of North Jersey Media Group, publisher of The Record.

Worked overnight

Sykes joined The Record in 1987, when it was an afternoon paper headquartered in Hackensack, editing stories, and writing headlines and photo captions on the copy desk overnight shift -- the most thankless job in the newsroom.

She held numerous jobs over the years -- not all of them promotions -- including Passaic County bureau chief in Wayne, state editor, and day and night news editor, but she always managed to return to a position of control.

Her last job before she was named editor on Jan. 29, 2016, was as assignment director in charge of local news, the Trenton staff and the paper's mediocre news columnists.

Her salary at the time was believed to be $100,000 annually.

Her grandfather was John J. Walters, mayor of Harrington Park in the 194os.

Decline in local news

In her years as head assignment editor, Sykes named Staff Writer John Cichowski to the Road Warrior column, signaling an end to its usefulness to commuters, especially those who use mass transit.

Trenton staffer Charles Stile began writing a political column that appeared often on Page 1, and interpreted every burp, cough and fart from Governor Christie.

Despite Bridgegate, Christie's failed presidential campaign, his endorsement of wacko racist Donald J. Trump for president and more than 500 vetoes, Stile remains the GOP bully's chief apologist.

With Sykes as editor, The Record was the only major daily in the state that didn't call for Christie's resignation after his endorsement of Trump in February.

Mother Hen

Sykes also guided the reporting careers of Staff Writers Jean Rimbach, Lindy Washburn and others who formed a sisterhood under a woman who was widely viewed as a Mother Hen in the newsroom.

Meanwhile, local-news coverage declined, and in desperation, Sykes and her then deputy, Dan Sforza, began to fill holes with numerous accident and fire photos, Dean's Lists, long obituaries of obscure people, and crime and court news -- a practice that continues.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

We're stuck with cronies, corruption, patronage, home rule

This 2012 photo from focuses on the natural beauty of the Meadowlands.


The Record's front page today -- dominated by two articles on the 40th anniversary of the Meadowlands Sports Complex -- is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

A story on the pivotal role of young voters in the Nov. 8 presidential election completely ignores the real problem -- apathetic voters of all ages (A-1).

And Staff Writer Pat Alex repeats a common theme in media coverage of the presidential race -- that wacko racist Donald J. Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton "are among the most unpopular candidates in the history of modern polling."

The media adore polls -- unreliable indicators that allow Alex and other reporters to portray the contest between Trump and Clinton as a horse race.

And such coverage surely contributes to apathy among readers and voters, because The Record and other media refuse to focus on such issues as gender equality, a higher minimum wage and taxing the wealthy.

Local news?

Law & Order coverage is dominating local news again, as readers can see from today's lead story on Paterson's 11th homicide in 2016 (L-1).

And in recent days, the local editors have needed a long Dean's List to fill holes in news coverage (L-3).

L-3 also carries the Monthly News Quiz, which asks readers, "How well do you know what happened in N.J. and beyond?"

That's a question readers want to ask the editors and reporters who put out the pathetically thin Sunday edition and its Local section.


Let's hope Margulies' cartoon on O-2 today doesn't become reality, though you never know with Governor Christie.

"Have you heard about Christie's Motor Vehicle Commission efficiency plan," a wife asks her husband.

"To automatically get a gun license when you renew a driver's license?"

Saturday's paper

Staff Writer Jeff Pillets could have gone deeper in his review of more than a decade of "missed deadlines and broken budgets" on publicly financed projects (A-1 on Saturday).

He shows how Trenton has left "the public on the hook for helping to fund failed or stalled projects," but doesn't explore a system of local and state government that thrives on cronyism, political patronage and corruption.

So, the story played next to it was no surprise:

To help his campaign, Trump tapped Bill Stepien, a former Christie crony "whose ascent in Republican politics was shot down by the politically motivated lane closures at the George Washington Bridge."

Rudy Van Gelder

Editor Deirdre Sykes probably has run more animal stories on Page 1 then the obituaries of prominent local residents.

But below the fold on Friday, she ran a story about a starving pit bull from Paterson next to the obituary for Hackensack native Rudy Van Gelder, who died on Thursday at 91.

Staff Writer Jay Levin and Carla Baranauckas, an assignment editor, called him "perhaps the most influential recording engineer in the jazz genre, who brought to life the sounds of such legendary artists as Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard."

The dog got better play, though.

And the Van Gelder obit erred on where he recorded Monk's "Hackensack" and other jazz classics.

The Van Gelder family home in Hackensack was on Prospect Avenue, not "Prospect Street." 


Kosher restaurants usually are more expensive, but do customers get food of higher quality than at non-kosher places?

In Friday's Informal Dining Review, Staff Writer Elisa Ung doesn't bother answering the question.

As is usually the case in her reviews, she doesn't say whether the kosher chicken and turkey served at Schnitzel+ in Teaneck are naturally raised.

And a photo of what she describes as a "huge platter" shows five falafel, a single pocket bread cut into four piece and some hummus. 

The price is an inflated $11.95.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

What did we do to deserve Governor Christie and Ken Zisa?

The Hudson Riverfront 9/11 Memorial in Weehawken marks the site where about 60,000 people were evacuated to New Jersey after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Governor Christie was conspicuously absent when the memorial was unveiled on Sept. 7, 2011.

The land surrounding the memorial is a huge construction zone for apartments with a river view.


For the second day in a row, Hackensack taxpayers are horrified over the prospect of a long legal battle with their disgraced former police chief, Ken Zisa, whose never-ending saga again lands on Page 1 of The Record. 

And when they turn to A-3, they learn that despite continuing gun violence in Paterson and other cities, Governor Christie wants to make it easier to carry a concealed weapon in New Jersey. 

Christie also vetoed a bill that would bring "smart gun" technology to retailers statewide.

Governor Veto

What did long-suffering taxpayers do to deserve these two? 

The Record hasn't bothered recently to report just how many times Christie has vetoed progressive legislation (more than 500), but he surely has set a record for a New Jersey governor. 

We can thank apathetic voters for his reelection to a second term just a couple of months after the George Washington Bridge lane closures in September 2013. 

The voter turnout was the lowest for any gubernatorial contest in state history.

Ex-Chief Zisa

Ken Zisa joined the Hackensack Police Department in 1976, according to today's Page 1 story. He was arrested and suspended from his post as police chief in 2010.

Yet, here we are about six years later and his legal problems haven't been resolved -- a testament to a glacially slow system that guarantees lawyers hundreds of thousands of dollars in exorbitantly high legal fees, which are only loosely regulated.

On Tuesday, a Superior Court judge dismissed the remaining charge from Zisa's 2012 trial, official misconduct, ruling that to retry the ex-chief would violate his constitutional rights.

Now, Zisa may sue Hackensack and the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office for $35 million, but he's declared his intention to get his old job back, even though the city abolished the position a few years ago.

More hearings

The prosecutor, on the other hand, may restart his investigation of disciplinary charges alleging Zisa intervened in a 2008 accident involving his girlfriend, Kathleen Tiernan, whom he drove away before a sobriety test, and in a 2004 incident involving her teenage sons, who took part in an assault on a classmate.

City Attorney Alexander Carver said a disciplinary hearing --plus any appeal -- could take years to resolve. 

The Record doesn't take a guess at how much the city will have to pay lawyers to hold the disciplinary hearing and handle any appeal or what it will cost to defend against a $35 million lawsuit.

Meanwhile, Zisa; and his brother, former four-term Mayor Jack Zisa, have formed Team Hackensack, which is expected to field a slate of candidates in next May's municipal election in hopes of once again flying the despised "Zisaville" flag from the roof of City Hall.

Sloppy editing

In his lead paragraph, Staff Writer John Seasly wrote the judge "threw out the last criminal conviction" against Zisa.

Four paragraphs later, the reporter refers to it as "the remaining charge of official misconduct" (A-1).

A "charge" and a "conviction" aren't the same.

In the next paragraph, he has Judge Susan Steele "arguing ...." Judges don't argue; they rule.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

In unending Ken Zisa saga, lawyers are the biggest winners

In this February photo from the Bergen Dispatch, defense attorney Patricia Prezioso is asking a Superior Court judge to throw out an official misconduct charge against former Hackensack Police Chief Ken Zisa, right.


A Page 1 headline in The Record today -- "Zisa can pursue return to force in Hackensack" -- set off panic attacks in thousands of residents.

But if they bothered to read the entire story about Ken Zisa -- especially the last four paragraphs -- they'd learn the disgraced former police chief must first "face a disciplinary hearing for his conduct," City Attorney Alexander Carver says (A-7).

"Another roadblock for Zisa," Staff Writer John Seasly reports, "is ... that the city eliminated the position of police chief following his arrest."

Today's story focuses on Superior Court Judge Susan Steele dismissing the single remaining criminal charge against Zisa, citing misconduct by the prosecutor (A-1).

Seasly quotes defense attorney Patricia Prezioso saying "Mr. Zisa will begin the impossible task of reconstructing his life."

Reviving 'Zisaville'

But nowhere does The Record mention residents' anger and resentment toward the Zisa family political dynasty that transformed the city into a North Jersey laughing stock called "Zisaville."

Nor has Seasly reported that Zisa; his brother, former four-term Mayor Jack Zisa; and their cousin, former City Attorney Joseph Zisa have launched Team Hackensack in their bid to wrest control from a reform City Council elected in 2013.

In fact, Team Hackensack already succeeded in putting three candidates on the Board of Education this year, and the organization is expected to challenge the council in next May's municipal election.

$8M in legal fees

After Ken Zisa was indicted in 2010, about two dozen police officers sued him and the city, alleging corruption and intimidation.

"Most of the lawsuits stemmed from a bitterly contentious relationship between Zisa and police officers who accused him of engaging in campaigns of retribution and harassment as paybacks for their refusal to go along with his political demands [as a Democratic state assemblyman]," The Record has reported.

The city racked up $8 million in legal fees defending against those allegations, and insurers paid out many millions more to settle the cases, minus the deductible.

See: Zisa nearly broke Hackensack

Pay to play

If you live in New Jersey -- where "pay to play" seems to have been invented -- you have to laugh at Republican charges that many of the people who met with Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state gave money to the Clinton Foundation (A-1).

Pay to play is ingrained in New Jersey's home rule communities -- political donations often lead to an appointment as auditor, engineer and so forth -- as well as in Trenton and in the nation's capitol.

In Washington, congressional lobbyists are actually writing bills to protect the biggest, wealthiest corporations from regulation.

At least in the case of the Clinton Foundation, the money went to good causes -- not to corrupt our law-making process.

Oscar leaving N.J.

In another Page 1 story today, Staff Writer Lindy Washburn again gives Governor Christie a pass for refusing to set up a New Jersey marketplace for buying coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Christie isn't even mentioned in her story about another insurer, Oscar Health Insurance, withdrawing next year.

But an editorial slams Christie for peddling an "unfair school funding plan" (A-8).

Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin calls the proposal "Jersey Wrong," a play on the governor's "Jersey Strong" message after Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

That fortifies the impression Doblin can't write an editorial or opinion column about Christie or anything else unless he can find a play on words or a movie, play, book or song to compare it to.

Scallops and steak

Food Editor Esther Davidowitz apparently thinks those extraordinary wild-caught sea scallops are so weird she has to sell them to readers by comparing them to "a good piece of steak" (BL-2).

Better she should advise readers to look for "dry" scallops -- the ones that are sold in fish markets without a liquid preservative.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Today's focus on local news is welcome, but may not last

Atlantic and Main streets in Hackensack once was the site of the Washington Institute, founded in 1769 and considered to be "one of the finest educational institutions in the state, according to this marker, and "it brought recognition to the Village of Hackensack."


Three of the four major elements on Page 1 of The Record today focus on local issues, and the local-news section actually has reports from towns on almost every page.

Although local news bores most of the editors and reporters, this is the stuff homeowners and others need to know to judge how well their tax dollars are being spent.

On Page 1 today, Staff Photographer Tariq Zehawi turned in a great enterprise shot from Hackensack's Junior Police Academy, showing he has a lot more talent than readers see in his ambulance-chasing accident photos, which are often used as filler in Local.

But Staff Writer Monsy Alvarado did a poor job of researching her story on Palisades Park's Korean residents asking for an interpreter at Borough Council meetings (A-1).

Her first paragraph mentions interpreters in municipal courts and hospitals, but that ignores the interpreting staff attached to every state Superior Court.

Trump, Clinton

The Record and other media largely continue to ignore the issues in the presidential campaign, but at least the stories about GOP nominee Donald J. Trump's racism and Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails are played on A-7 today.

The lead story -- "Chilling posts by Trump staffers" -- is from The Associated Press:

"Donald Trump's paid campaign staffers have declared on their social media accounts that Muslims are unfit to be American citizens, ridiculed Mexican accents, called for Secretary of State John Kerry's death by hanging and stated their readiness for a possible civil war" (A-7).

Catholic sex abuse

In contrast to all of the Page 1 stories about the pope and the Newark archbishop, settlement of a child sex-abuse lawsuit against Bergen Catholic High School was pushed back to the Local front today.

Still, there is no explanation why the $1.9 million settlement from last November is just being reported, nor any mention that lawyers for the victims will likely take about a third of the money (L-1).

Traffic tickets

Monday's Page 1 story on the drop in the number of tickets issued to drivers on Bergen County roads and highways is missing so much information you have to wonder why The Record published it.

Staff Writer Jean Rimbach begins by reporting that "most drivers" will welcome the decline in enforcement by the Bergen County Bureau of Police Services, but that would mean the majority break traffic laws.

That's preposterous.

In fact, a minority of drivers speed and drive recklessly, and endanger others who have enough to worry about on Bergen County's antiquated road network.

There is one reference to "a reduction in moving and non-moving violations," but nowhere does Rimbach discuss such specifics as speeding tickets.

Least productive

Typically, Rimbach spends weeks or months on such projects, under the protection of Editor Deirdre Sykes, the newsroom's mother hen, and Sykes publishes the results no matter how flawed.

The Record already missed a bigger story -- a dramatic drop in the number of speeding summonses issued by state police on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway in the past five years. 


Speeders are having a field day

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Columnist assumes role of Christie's Bridgegate attorney

An image of veteran Trenton Columnist Charles Stile from C-Span in 2007, when The Record of Woodland Park was headquartered in Hackensack. It's not known whether the dark splotches on his forehead are from falling to his knees and touching his head to the floor every time a New Jersey governor walks into the room.


Editor Deirdre Sykes of The Record has sunk to a new low with today's sustained Page 1 attack on the credibility of an aide to Governor Christie at the time of the Bridgegate scandal.

Just 10 days ago on A-1, Columnist Charles Stile labeled as a "bombshell" a newly revealed text message that Christie "flat out lied" to reporters in late 2013 about his administration's involvement in the George Washington Bridge lane closures.

Now, Stile argues, former Christie aide Christina Renna was only "a mid-level administrative staffer" whose text messages "don't prove anything at all" and "raise questions about [her] credibility" (A-8).

Stile goes on and on, just as a $650-an-hour defense attorney would, to persuade readers Christie is blameless -- even though the vast majority of New Jerseyans have convicted the GOP bully in the court of public opinion.

Of course, the truth will come out next month when the trial of former Christie confidants begins in Newark federal court -- about three years after the lane closures were used to punish a Democratic mayor who refused to support Christie's reelection.

Veto crazy

Stile has been on Christie's side since his first day in office in early 2010, writing column after column about the governor's so-called reform agenda, and promoting him time and again as a bipartisan compromiser.

That was the case even as Christie's vetoes mounted, eventually setting a record for any New Jersey governor.

A veto is the opposite of compromise, but Stile is keeping up the B.S. long after other columnists and editorial boards have denounced Christie.

Talking about his 500-plus vetoes, an editorial today deals a mild rebuke to Christie for killing a bill that would have allowed automatic voter registration as part of applying for or renewing a driver's license.

Noting the state Motor Vehicle Commission uses a six-point identification program to prevent fraud, the editorial calls Christie's mean-spirited veto "illogical" (O-2). 

Any other newspaper would call the veto what it is -- more voter suppression by Republicans like Christie who know low turnout favors them, as it did when he was reelected in 2013.

Have a heart

As with the obesity that dogged Record editors for many years, heart disease is a subject the Woodland Park daily tries to avoid.

Columnist Mike Kelly has never written about his brush with death before open-heart coronary bypass surgery, even though thousands of readers would benefit from his experience. 

Instead, Sykes today runs the third major story this year about Frank Bodino, 70, who got a second heart transplant and a new kidney at a New York hospital (A-1).

Staff Writer Lindy Washburn says 30,000 transplants are performed each year in the United States, but doesn't tell readers that's the total for all transplants.

Bodino is far from the common man -- about 2,300 people have heart transplants each year.

But thousands of heart surgeries are performed every day, and "in a recent year, surgeons performed 500,000 coronary bypass procedures," according to the Texas Heart Institute.

Saving newsprint

Gannett Co., the new owners of The Record, continues to save tons of money on newsprint by printing what appears to a single local-news section for Bergen and Passaic counties (L-1 to L-8).

Today, you won't find any Hackensack, Teaneck or Englewood news in Local, but you will find a half-dozen major stories from Paterson and other Passaic County communities, and even a story from Montclair.

Heart-attack food

The Better Living cover discusses North Jersey restaurants that don't dare take customers' favorite dishes off the menu (BL-1).

Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung describes Maribar as "filet mignon with bearnaise sauce and chestnut puree" instead of as "a heart attack on a plate" (BL-3).

The chef who took over at the Saddle River Inn in 2013 made the dish even less healthy by adding "roasted shallot butter" to the bearnaise sauce.

An editing error tells readers five of the "lasting dishes" are discussed on BL-3, but readers find only four.

I guess at the last minute the editors couldn't bring themselves to cut anything out of Bill Ervolino's moronic column on the same page, comparing his dog's eating habits to his own.  

What about Spain?

"Rooms with a View of History" -- the feature on the cover of today's Travel section -- is a superficial discussion of hotels in historic buildings that is missing a lot more than room rates.

Surely, world-weary Travel Editor Jill Schensul must have heard about Spain's paradores, a chain of government-run luxury hotels dating to 1928 that are located in refurbished castles, fortresses, palaces, convents and other historic structures.

Each one has a restaurant serving regional cuisine.

For example, the Parador of Granada is in a former convent on the grounds of the magical Alhambra.

Yet, Schensul's long article doesn't contain a word about Spain or the paradores (T-1 and T-3).

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sloppy reporting, editing again shake readers' confidence

The round-trip fare on NJ Transit's No. 165 Turnpike Express from Hackensack to midtown Manhattan is $9, but only $4.10 for seniors. The Record's front-page photo caption on a bus collision in Newark doesn't mention one of the drivers may have run a red light, according to officials.


Sloppy reporting and editing in The Record's Page 1 account of a fatal bus collision in Newark is bad enough (A-1 and A-3).

But how do you explain the lack of proofreading on the Local front that led the paper to report the lawyer representing two women appeared to call for dismissal of their suit against a Catholic school (L-1)?

That's right.

The caption under a photo of Kate Drumgoole and wife Jaclyn Vanore actually says their lawyer, Larry Kleiner "argued at a hearing at the Bergen County Courthouse seeking to dismiss Drumgoole's discrimination suit against Paramus Catholic High School."

Obviously, the word "against" is missing. 

The lawyer argued against the dismissal motion, but the caption is written so poorly readers don't find that out until deep on the continuation page (L-2).

The way the caption is written readers might think the "hearing" is "seeking  to dismiss" the suit. 

Also, the caption on under the same photo used in the print edition identifies the lawyer as Eric Kleiner, not Larry Kleiner.

The women are represented by both Kleiners.

This photo from The Associated Press shows the NJ Transit bus that was struck by another bus around 6 a.m. on Friday on Broad Street and Raymond Boulevard in downtown Newark.

Fatal bus crash

All morning on Friday, radio news reports on the fatal collision in Newark quoted officials as saying one of the drivers may have run a red light before he T-boned a second bus.

The driver of the NJ Transit bus that may have sped past the light was killed along with a passenger on the second NJ Transit bus that was almost tipped onto its side by the impact.

The Record's front page photo over line and caption today make no mention of the red-light investigation.

As for the story on A-3, Staff Writers Christopher Maag and Nicholas Pugliese report the bus driven by Joseph Barthelus, 70, was empty.

He died in the collision.

However, The Record's story lacks the details of other accounts, including that Barthelus' bus left no skid marks.

Also, the two NJ Transit buses involved in the collision are used on local routes. 

They are smaller and not as heavy as the so-called cruiser buses used on routes to and from Manhattan, and may not afford as much protection to drivers and passengers in crashes.