Friday, January 27, 2017

Gannett lays off an additional 141 workers; The Record's readers try to count desserts

"Trumpty Dumpty" from cartoonist Rick McKee of the Augusta Chronicle in Georgia.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Gannett Co., the nation's biggest newspaper chain, continues to slash the payroll at North Jersey Media Group, publisher of The Record.

This week, 141 veteran employees were handed notices they will be laid off in 60 days.

In November, Gannett cut in half the remaining 426 positions at NJMG, which also publishes the Herald News, NorthJersey.com, 30 weeklies and a magazine.

Meanwhile, the quality and accuracy of the Woodland Park daily continues to decline.

Sugar shock

Today, readers of Better Living were doing double takes due to another big production error at Gannett's design center-cum-sweat shop in Neptune, a shore town where seven daily papers are put out.

The cover story -- "5 desserts we love" -- actually includes 6 desserts.

The Sharkfin Pie shown on the first page of the section wasn't included in the centerfold, which displays five other desserts.

In response, hospital emergency rooms and cardiac-surgery teams in the region geared up for an influx of diabetics who might have overdosed on sugar just by looking at the photos.

Many people with heart disease also are diabetic, because excessive amounts of sugar can form clots in their arteries.

The dessert spread appears under the byline of Food Editor Esther Davidowitz, who claims "oftentimes we believe that dessert is the best course of a meal" (12BL).

Is she using the "editorial we," and does that mean all of the other food at the featured restaurants isn't worth ordering?

Under Gannett, The Record ended the weekly restaurant reviews as an economy move.

President Trump

Today's Page 1 story on a possible 20% tax on Mexican imports doesn't mention whether the levy would be imposed on the 600,000 barrels of oil we get daily from south of the border (1A).

Can you imagine what that would do to the price of gasoline in North Jersey?

On Thursday, a front-page headline declares:


"A wall, new agents to
 stop illegal immigration"

You can only write such a headline, if the wall has already been built and the agents hired -- and both are far from reality. 

Also on Thursday, Gannett tells readers in no uncertain terms that when Garden State Plaza -- a major advertiser -- plans a makeover, it's front-page news, even if it cheapens the paper and readers question its editorial independence (1A).

Meanwhile, The New York Times ran an editorial on Wednesday, calling on Trump to release his tax returns:
"Mr. Trump's refusal to release his returns was deeply suspicious during the campaign, and it's indefensible now that he's in power.
 "The only logical conclusion is that the candidate who pledged to clean up Washington is hiding damaging information about his past."

Today marks Trump' first week in office, but critics note he often sounds like he is still delivering another campaign stump speech.