Thursday, December 29, 2016

Gannett compares N.J. criminal-justice reform to Monopoly

Let's see how this works once Republican con man Donald J. Trump is sworn in as president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2017.


You'd expect Staff Writer Jim Norman, a former New York Times reporter, to do a good job explaining the many complex changes in New Jersey's criminal justice system to readers of The Record today.

But imagine the dilemma of a faceless Gannett editor holed up in a production center in Neptune, where he or she had to come up with a Page 1 headline that is both bright and right.

Well, the headline certainly is bright, if not downright sensational:

"Get out of
jail free,
or court

What an abomination, not to mention inaccurate.

"Get out of jail free" sounds like a reference to Monopoly, the board game, but the phrase also strongly suggests that convicted criminals will go free once the changes go into effect on Jan. 1.

Unfortunately for the inept headline writer, all of the people who will remain free while awaiting trial are innocent until proven guilty, a bedrock of our legal system.

Numerous errors

Since Gannett's drastic November downsizing of North Jersey Media Group, publisher of The Record, bad headlines and errors seem to have increased.

Today, for example, a photo caption on 4A refers to the "Bronx section of New York," when everyone knows the Bronx is one of New York's five boroughs.

On 2BL in Better Living on Wednesday, a story on the expected opening of Azucar Cuban Cuisine in Closter says you'll be able to spot the restaurant easily by a "black 1950 Chrysler parked in front (pictured)" -- except no photo of the car appears with the story.

Also on Wednesday, the lead news story on Page 1 carried a totally meaningless headline:


"Details on PATH station
ceremony offers glimpse
of governor's preparation"

The reaction of most readers: 

So what?

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