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Sunday, April 16, 2017

As errors mount, payroll-slashing Gannett editor takes The Record from bad to worse

The big excitement in Hackensack on Saturday afternoon was a two-car collision on Central Avenue and First Street, not far from the high school.



Editor Richard Green tries to engage readers today with a sensational Page 1 headline over a story the paper has been telling and retelling for many years:


The so-called Special Report is from Staff Writer Jean Rimbach, one of the handful of veterans who wasn't laid off by Green, the Gannett editor who has slashed the payroll since The Record changed hands last July.

The problem with this latest chapter of the story is that the victim is "a reputed member of the Lucchese crime family" whose murder generates little sympathy among readers.

Yet, the story not only takes up a third of the front page, but it fills two full pages inside the thin Sunday edition (1A, 8a and 9A).

And nearly all of the allegations come from a federal suit filed by the mobster's family. 

Readers are the losers. 

The only winners here are the lawyers who are gouging the plaintiffs and defendants as this suit wends its way through the courts, only to be thrown out or settled.

Under Green, Gannett's hatchet man in Woodland Park, this is what amounts to local news.

The Local front today is dominated by an apartment building fire in the city of Passaic (1L).

Two more inconsequential Passaic County stories appear on 2L and 7L in a section delivered to Bergen County readers.


On the Opinion front, Mike Kelly must be the last columnist in America to address United Airline's brutal removal of a seated passenger a week ago to make room for airline employees (1O).

Inexplicably, Kelly compares the removal of Dr. David Dao to the beating of African-American Rodney King by racist Los Angeles cops in 1991.

Last Wednesday, another Record columnist, Bill Ervolino, also recounted in great detail what happened to Dao, but the strongest opinion Ervolino could muster was:

"This isn't any way to run an airline."

Ervolino began his column by recalling his very first "plane trip," in 1976.

Syria and Paterson

Today, an editorial praises a project that allows Syrian refugees to relate their experiences with "poverty and violence" to their fellow students in Paterson's John F. Kennedy High School (2O).

But the editorial forgets to mention whether the refugees are fully acquainted with the "poverty and violence" those minority students have experienced growing up in Paterson.

Restaurant coverage

Since The Record dropped the weekly review of local restaurants last November, the editors have encouraged readers to jump into their cars and explore -- even if they have to drive 60 miles or more for dinner.

Today, the Travel section cover reports on "the return of Jersey Shore Restaurant Week," including a trattoria in Freehold and a Spanish-Cuban place in Brick (1T and 4T).

On Friday, Food Editor Esther Davidowitz claimed she was passing along readers' recommendations to eat in cheap, unhealthy restaurants.

There were a number of errors, including a Better Living cover photo of hamburgers on a grill with a caption that didn't identify which fast-food joint serves them (1BL and 2BL on Friday).

Inside, a centerfold photo showed food from three places, but there was no information in the text about two of them, Twisted Yogurt and La Rosa Chicken (10BL on Friday).