News You Can Find Useless: When Small Town Journalism Goes Hollywood God Kills A Kitten

For the life of me I don’t know why I subscribed to the RSS stream of my home town’s local paper.

Maybe it was some displaced feeling of nostalgia that caused me to think the small publication, that has since been reduced in distribution and content, could still be beneficial l for me to intellectually consume.

It was the Jersey Journal newspaper that my grandmother would sit and read each morning while we munched on toast and lemon tea in delicate china cups and saucers. She would murmer in between bites of who was doing what to whom.

I was enthralled at the concept of ‘knowing’ such information and from this paper my first lessons in reading and comprehension of words began. The Jersey Journal was to be my first text lessons, words suddenly became familiar to me, as my retired school teacher grandmother read aloud while pointed out the most repetitious parts of any sentence.  first words I would come to know.

It is the Jersey Journal, that was held high in my mother’s hands as she read the headlines of each story to my father, who was illiterate in order for him to be able to keep up to date with what was going on in the world. The town newspaper used to report on the actions of citizens in town and beyond, and it used to be important for the average working guy to be aware of these things.

It was the Jersey Journal’s cartoon section and my grandmother’s wit that kept me occupied with the best in Playdough print stamping prior to my starting grade school.

The Jersey Journal provided the basis for why I love words, writing, and reporting on things that make an impact in the lives of regular people. My hometown’s daily newspaper was my standard to all thing just, the availability of information, when given out properly allows citizens to make informed decisions.

This is why it pains me to see the current condition of the newspaper today, with headlines like the following it seems the last semblance of journalistic integrity has not been compromised.

Wyckoff teen charged in beating, so what’s she’s smiling about?

Wyckoff mugshot.jpg

The girl, Margaux Tocci, was picked up later that night after police identified a vehicle matching a description of hers. In her mugshot, Tocci is grinning from ear-to-ear and seems genuinely happy to be there. Here’s your chance to let us know what you think she’s smiling about.

Its dispicable that a news story is printed in such a way as to give the reader a biased opinion while offering the details. This form of persuasive writing was unheard of in ‘real’ journalism circles, such blatant bending of truth was reserved for public relations writing and not something ethically required to be balanced and un-biased.

What’s really kills me is that it seems like the paper published this article for no other reason than to acquire page hits. Stories of random violence are common in New Jersey, but why not throw a mug shot of a pretty girl on the story and ask the public to comment on what she looks like and not the crime she committed.

So Enquirer and not very Huffington Post-ish. Comment sections are already a testament to lack of comprehension skills and internet autonomy gone wild, but the JJ crew is something entirely different, though not entirely unexpected. I was raised here and am well aware of the ignorance that resides in the tree lined segregated streets.

It’s a sad day for a town whose decades long history of fraudulent and corrupt underground dealings has left the city a living, breathing example of ‘a tale of two cities’ type of existence.

That town needs no more ignorance, or cavalier disregard for civilization then they already have.

The paper has long since been integrated into a digital Northern NJ newspaper platform, the citizens who created the identity of Jersey City have moved on. The current melting pot, the NY transplants et. al., have no use for the local town news, I’m sure.

The old writers have long since retired, as I’m writing this I wonder if the building that housed the newspapers publication still has that large sign on top of it. The lighted lettering welcomed me home many nights, there was something soothing about seeing the words in the distant because no matter where I had been seeing those light meant that I was home.

Now that the integrity of the city’s newspaper has dipped to such level, I can safely say, I’m over it. The comments section and misspelled words in the articles on what I considered a ‘real’ news outlet has killed my happy.

I’m convinced that thinking isn’t required where I’m from, and if folks don’t start committing more care into what and how we learn about the things we should know about, they’ll be plenty more pretty girl mug shots to distract from the senseless violence that got her there.