Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Junk-Food Politics

Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason hands out Oreos and Nutter Butters to people waiting in rain to apply for the city's affordable housing program. (Oct. 22, 2014)
Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason knows well enough that the way to constituents' votes is often through their stomachs. She arrived early on a wet Wednesday morning to cater to the nearly 1,000 people lined up outside Hoboken's Elks Club to apply for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. Many had endured hours of steady, cold rain to qualify for the rental assistance program.

Mason, whose own political ambitions are voracious, seized on the opportunity to expand her local base of support. But her breakfast snack of choice, Oreos and Nutter Butters, may not have settled well with many.

Friday, September 5, 2014

What’s FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Really Afraid of?

While millions of Americans, a nationwide coalition of mayors, and thousands of startups and small businesses called for real Net Neutrality protections this summer, the FCC’s boss remains holed up in the agency’s Washington headquarters, reluctant to engage the public on the issue.There was no vacation for the Internet this summer.

While many Americans slipped away to the beach, Internet users were busy defending the openness of a network that has become this era’s engine for free expression, ingenuity and just about everything else.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Is TMZ the Future of News in New Jersey?

On Tuesday, I took part in an on-air discussion at NJ News Commons about the future of local news in New Jersey and beyond.

Exhibit A was Fox Broadcasting Company’s decision to replace WWOR’s evening newscast with Chasing New Jersey, a TV newsmagazine modeled after the celebrity gossip show TMZ.

Chasing New Jersey is Fox’s attempt to reinvent local news. Its format — young reporters “chasing” events around the state and reporting them back in conversations with colleagues — is a departure from the standard news fare featuring co-anchors seated before a teleprompter.

The switch is Fox’s attempt to appeal to a younger demographic, especially those 18-to-34-year-olds that advertisers pay top dollar to reach.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Media Sent on Hoboken Goose Chase

Media head scratching in Hoboken after police on the scene of the Newtown tragedy identify the shooter as 24-year-old Ryan Lanza. 

A subsequent Facebook search identified Lanza as a resident of Hoboken, which sent local and national news crews and helicopters scrambling to his 1313 Grand Street address, where local police and FBI had roped off surrounding streets. 

I counted some 80 journalists and crew members across the police line before new information had the assailant as Ryan's younger brother Adam. 

Some cellphone shots from the scene as journalists realize that the fog of breaking news had led many astray:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lost Empire

A proposed tower on 33rd Street, two avenues to the west of the Empire State Building, will fully or partially obscure the view of the historic building for many in Hoboken, Weehauken and Union City.

According to its developers at Vornado Realty Trust, 15 Penn Plaza is a "major office tower" that would rise opposite Pennsylvania Station to a height just shy of the Empire State Building's 1,216 foot spire.

For thousands of people in Hudson County this means that cherished views of the landmark building will be eclipsed by a glitzy office tower with zero historic or emotional relevance.

See the illustration below. (Those living in the red shadow will lose site of the Empire State Building; those in the gray shadow will have only a partial view):

(Click on image for a larger view)