Tag Archive: NJN

Damn, I Miss NJN

This past week I was horrified to learn that the only real local NJ news left is a show on Channel 9 called Chasing NJ.

There are a few earnest reporters like Tamara Laine and a fellow that reminds one of Neil on the Newsroom, but the “ringleader” is a guy you folks may remember –  but probably not.  He was a college Republican and ran for Congress against Rush Holt – and he lost BTW. That is really his only claim to fame.

Now, Chasing NJ is created by the Fox News folks – and it shows.  Forget the fact that it starts out like a Sopranos episode and nearly all the men talk like Chris Christie – with ADHD, Spadea – who for some reason is given way too much authority and airtime in this show spews opinions all over the place – that don’t even have to be backed up with facts. Like Fox and Friends – he even supplies a bubbleheaded blonde to ditto his remarks as well who has absolutely no clue about anything.  She literally could not tell a Police Chief from an Indian Chief.  Spadea is a shameless cheerleader for the energy industry like any good Fox employee should be and he has his own blonde cheerleader for his half- baked opinions. It is a shame good reporters like Tamara Laine have to deal with this guy. He is a bully   and apologist for the frackers and the energy industry and edits the hell out of the stories that the real reporters are working on.  

When Tamara tweeted about a study showing increased rates of breast cancer in areas that frack and explains which chemicals were used http://www.policymic.com/artic… – This was Bill’s twitter response : “this is a stretch…some of these chemicals are also used in household cleaners…and ice cream!!”  

I don’t know what offends me more – his stunning ignorance of the toxicity of the chemicals involved in fracking waste or his callous attitude toward breast cancer. As someone who lost family to it and who watched her mom go through chemo not long ago – I am so offended by his presence on a “news” show, I can’t even express it.  

Please pull Channel 9’s license, NJ legislators, and get Tamara a better job. She is worth saving…..

Bill Spadea is no journalist. He’s Tucker Carlson without the bowtie or the personality. And Chasing NJ is no “news” show. It is a Fox vehicle to get Christie re-elected.

Senate Honors Kent Hicks

Today, the New Jersey Senate honored the outgoing Secretary of the Senate, Kent Hicks.

A former broadcaster with 20+ years at NJN (who used the stage name Ken St. John), Hicks was the first African American Secretary of the Senate, having been appointed in January 2010.

Hicks has the well-deserved reputation of being the consummate non-partisan public servant.  In his farewell remarks, Hicks thanked his colleagues from both sides of the aisle and commended them for their hard work and enthusiasm.

In my brief tenure at Blue Jersey, I’ve interacted with Hicks a couple of times, and can attest to the man’s integrity, hard work, and fairness. Best of luck in your retirement, Mr. Hicks.

How’s NJTV Doing?

NJTV, the only state-wide television network, rose out of the ashes of the highly-acclaimed state-funded New Jersey Network (NJN) in mid-2010. As a news junkie and amateur pundit, I’ve been a loyal watcher of NJTV’s 6 PM newscast.

Despite the fact that the level of funding for state-wide news has gone down significantly since the demise of NJN, I’m happy that the quality of the newscasts is getting better, albeit with much more room for improvement. Anchor Mike Schneider is an excellent interviewer and he usually presents a neutral tone on even the most contentious issues in Trenton. The extended interviews with New Jersey’s movers and shakers are something that no other outlet (except Blue Jersey) currently provides across the state. The network has invested in state-of-the-art equipment that enables it to report from remote sites over conventional telephone circuits, giving reporters the opportunity to go where the news happens. The major challenge that NJTV News faces is a small staff of reporters and technical people. With all that’s happening in the state, they can’t cover as much breaking news as they should.

Of course, the nightly newscast has to compete with other news outlets like the New York and Philadelphia commercial stations, the Internet, radio, and dead-tree newspapers. A recent poll conducted by Monmouth University reported that only 25% of the New Jerseyans they questioned had watched NJTV News in 2012, down from a high of 59% who had watched its predecessor, NJN, in 1999. But when Monmouth pollster Patrick Murray asked about the quality of the newscasts, the story was a bit different. “While there has been a significant drop in the visibility and brand identity of New Jersey’s public television outlet since the transfer to NJTV, the net impact on perceived quality has been negligible for most residents”, reported Murray.

The quality and quantity of the news reported on NJTV run rings around that of the commercial stations. Recently, researchers from Seton Hall University spent five weeks watching all of the local newscasts on NJTV and the highest-rated New York and Philadelphia commercial stations, WNBC and WPVI respectively. While NJTV devotes 81% of its 30-minute time slot to straight news, WPVI devotes only 50% and WNBC devotes a mere 42%. Also, 89% of the stories on NJTV were devoted to New Jersey news, while the numbers for WPVI and WNBC were 24% and 17%. The Seton Hall team also noted that the stories on the commercial stations emphasized crime, while NJTV’s coverage was more toward politics and government.

The reports from these two institutions are chock full of more statistics, but the bottom line is that despite Governor Christie’s evisceration of a New Jersey institution 18 months ago, and despite the fact that one of the Governor’s cheerleaders, Steve Adubato, is a principal in the new organization, the news division is improving. And while the ownership of the station is out of the state’s hands, the state still holds the broadcast licenses. So let’s keep NJTV’s feet to the fire – give credit when deserved, and speak out loudly and forcefully when we think it’s falling behind its mission to serve the citizens of New Jersey.

Below the fold: Nostalgia. The sign-off of NJN with Jim Hooker and Michael Aron

You choose: Public TV analysis? Or Christie front office press release?

Earlier today, I remarked to a very smart woman that NJTV was actually going to cover the governor’s speech today – live, instead of cartoons. Of course they are, she replied drolly, it’s Christie.

Cover they did, live but without commentary. No intro or post-game commentary from Michael Aron or any of the other journalists in their stable. No savvy speculation on what Christie might say or context for today’s special session. Just a rrrrrip from prancing field mice to the big man striding into the chamber.  And a rrrrrip back to cartoons in the middle of Assembly Democrats discussing afterwards. There were some technical glitches – the feed bounced back and forth a few times from the Governor, to cartoons, to Christie, to cartoons. That’s forgivable. Funny, even.

NJTV is one year old. The handover that read like a gold-wrapped gift to the Adubato family is gelled. NJTV can no longer claim baby steps. Said Asm Patrick Diegnan, in a piece in Sunday’s Ledger: “It’s a wake, not an anniversary. Effectively, NJTV is dead. Nobody watches it.” Ouch.

We all have a stake in good coverage, in good journalism, and in the transparency that a network broadcasting deliberations, hearings, and speeches of electeds works toward. And in the accountability that can come with transparency. NJTV is better than its awful first months. But it’s still inadequate. And there’s not enough good journalism going on.

Take, for example, this coverage posted at their site of today’s speech. We don’t post articles in their entirety – you can read it here – but this is how it starts. I ask you – – does it sound like public TV analysis? Or Christie front office PR?

Christie Strikes Conciliatory Tone, Speaks of Bipartisanship in Pitch for Tax Cut

To a special joint session of the Senate and Assembly, Gov. Chris Christie used a gentler tone than the one he has used at town hall meetings to describe the Democratic-controlled legislature. He made an appeal to both chambers of the legislature to adopt his tax cut plan, arguing that giving New Jerseyans tax relief today would create jobs tomorrow.

For almost two thirds of the speech, the governor detailed and spoke glowingly of bipartisan accomplishments of the past two years. “We’ve done something pretty unprecedented, not just for New Jersey, but for our country,” said Christie.

Despite fierce disagreements, he touted the way both sides have compromised to get things done, which he says makes New Jersey a model for bipartisan leadership. “Washington, D.C. has been paralyzed because people talk at one another and not to one another. No one stops for a second to think about how what they fail to do today will lead to failure for our citizens tomorrow. Instead, it’s a constant fight to see who wins the next 24-hour news cycle.”

How the Democrats and NJTV Can Improve

Watching the NJTV coverage of Governor Christie’s State of the State Address was like watching a train wreck. It’s no surprise that the station, run by Christie’s Adubato clan, made this broadcast just the opening salvo in the governor’s re-election campaign.

Of course, Christie is an excellent orator. That’s part of his appeal to the average voter. But it’s NJTV’s job to inform the average voter, not to provide an unchecked platform for the governor. And the Democrats are just abettors in this process.

NJTV Bungles Again

Updated 1:40 PM. Thank you NJTV for listening and offering a chance for a Democratic response.

Last summer, Governor Christie (with the help of complicit Democrats) gave a state treasure, NJN, to his cronies. The new NJTV is a shell of its former self, and does not provide a balanced approach, as evidenced by this Facebook exchange:

Election Day News Roundup & Open Thread for Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011

Today’s the Day!

Vote Today 

 Shuffling the Deck Chairs

 Other Political News

 Christie is Consistent in his Inconsistency

 Victory in the Battle of Trenton


The Next Election

 I Miss NJN

 New Jersey Parks

 New Jersey Roads

 Is Scarlet Fever the Cure for Penn State’s Offense?

 The Chutzpah Award goes to…




BlueJersey’s Jay Lassiter on Friday’s Radio Times

If you’re around and available today at 10am, I hope you’ll tune into Philly’s NPR call-in talk show “Radio Times”. I’ll be the guest for today’s first hour, joined my my friend and foe Brian McGovern of SaveJersey.com. The show runs from 10-11am. WHYY can be found at 90.9 on your FM dial, but you can also listen online.

With the election just 17 days away, there’s a lot to debate — pension benefits, NJN RIP, Marriage and marijuana — and I hope you’ll call in to join in the fun. The number is 1-888-477-WHYY

Blue Jersey Focus: Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (Part 4)

Just in case Jersey Jazzman’s excellent series on Education Reform is not enough for you, dear reader, Blue Jersey is launching another series called Blue Jersey Focus. To help you stay informed on Garden State issues, we will be featuring government officials, political figures, and other movers and shakers, in exclusive video interviews. These interviews have run over successive days, today’s is the final installment

It is fitting that as we move into the holiday weekend to recognize the contributions that organized labor has made to America’s prosperity, our first guest is labor leader Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo of the 14th Legislative District.

Blue Jersey Focus: Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (Part 3)

Just in case Jersey Jazzman’s excellent series on Education Reform is not enough for you, dear reader, Blue Jersey is launching another series called Blue Jersey Focus. To help you stay informed on Garden State issues, we will be featuring government officials, political figures, and other movers and shakers, in exclusive video interviews. These interviews are being run over successive days.