Tag Archive: Jim Hooker

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

NJTV – Not as Crappy as I Thought

I was a big fan of NJN, the state-funded television and news network that Governor Christie gave to his cronies last June. So, like others, I held the station’s new incarnation, NJTV, to the same high standards that its predecessor followed.

What I liked about NJN, and what I expected from NJTV was:

1. Balanced reporting

2. In depth (live) coverage of important legislative proceedings

3. Professional-quality television

I was disappointed on all three fronts.  

NJTV: a true Category 5 Shitstorm.

NJTV’s takeover of NJN always seemed fishy. Turns out, that foul stench has real consequences, especially in times of crisis.

As we take measure of Hurricane Irene, the most expensive natural disaster in New Jersey’s history, it has never been clearer just how colossal a failed broadcasting experiment the NJN/NJTV takeover has been.

If you tuned into NJTV (the state’s only public TV station) on Saturday evening for news of Irene’s pending wrath, you encountered a rerun about memory loss.

As the storm made landfall on Cape May? The Lawrence Welk Show.

Finally, while Hoboken was being deluged, NJTV was serving up Masterpiece Theater. (You get the picture….)

Simply put, NJN would have treated Hurricane Irene like the crisis it’s been. And covered it accordingly.

Not so NJTV. A shell of its former self on substance, NJTV has become a veritable cult of personality in service to Steve Adubato Jr, the station’s shameless self-promoter-in-chief. Apparently being the scion of the state’s most venerable political sugar daddy has its privileges. It’s just a pity that the stations sucks so badly as a result.

But this isn’t simply a critique of NJTV whose universally-panned lineup speaks for itself.

Nor is it about NJ Governor Chris Christie who hatched the demise of NJN to begin with. (The GOP has never been shy about their desire to destroy Public Broadcasting. It’s part of their philosophical raison d’etre.)

Can’t blame the Teh Blogs, BlueJersey was sounding alarm bells early and loudly.

This falls squarely on the four Democrats who allowed this takeover to happen.

D’OH

Someone needs to fire their scheduler.

On the day pro sports gambling was up for a vote in Assembly, an NFL player just happened to be on hand to receive special props for the Giant’s huge Superbowl win.

With most south Jersey Assemblymen pushing hard to legalize sports betting, it was bad timing for them that the media was quick to ask Superbowl champ Kareem McKenzie his views on the measure to allow sports betting in Atlantic City.

Aparently the NFL takes a dim view citing possibly shadiness.

McKenzie offered this ominous possibility talking to NJN’s Jim Hooker:

You have individuals who will attempt to place themselves in a position to effect the game or trying to create an environment in which professional athletes owe them a favor.

Basically the worst possible PR for the bill’s sponsors who want to allow sports gambling to stay competitive with other states where it’s legal to do so.

Jim Hooker is White and Probably Not Gay

Jim Hooker, who is a white NJN News correspondent, hosted a discussion on the debate surrounding marriage equality and civil unions in this week’s “On the Record.” His guests were Assemblymen Reed Gusciora, who is gay, and Michael Patrick Carroll, who is married with several children, and statistically speaking, is probably straight, though Mr Hooker did not state this explicitly, so we’re not sure. Both assemblymen, like Jim Hooker, are also white. We have no idea if Jim Hooker is gay or straight. He claims to have been married in New York.