Monday, June 08, 2009

Borg and Hackensack Hospital

Crappy Piece of Journalism

Did you happen to see the article below in the Times in May?
Shocking. Article reads like a public relations plant. And the quotes from Borg! Any decent copyeditor would have red-pencilled such drivel.
Meanwhile, where are the names of the miscreants from Hackensack Hospital? Who was the administrator? Who were the hospital executives?
Is Stephanie Clifford an intern just starting out, and with little or no journalism experience?
And the lead! Written by someone who seems to be brain-dead.
I’m glad for the correction—pointing out that an error was made by Borg himself.
But who says no matters involving the paper were ever formally presented to the board? Who’s the source? Jennifer Borg?
A really shameful piece of journalism. I would have expected it of a third-rate newspaper like the Bergen Record but not the Times. (By the way, I was dismissed by the Record years ago—unfairly.)
*********
A Battle With a New Jersey Newspaper Backfires

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD
Published: May 3, 2009
When fighting with a media mogul, institutions would be well-advised to avoid using that mogul’s newspaper as a battleground, a hospital in New Jersey learned last week.
On April 25, The Record, a newspaper owned by the North Jersey Media Group, was preparing to run a controversial article the next day detailing the powerful connections of some members of the board at the Hackensack University Medical Center.
That afternoon, the hospital struck back. An administrator called an advertising sales representative, saying the hospital was removing its ads from the media group’s Web sites, canceling its one-year online advertising contract with The Record and removing ads from several local papers. The article ran that Sunday anyway. Later in the week, hospital executives told The Record’s distribution staff that the paper could no longer be sold at the hospital’s gift shops or newspaper boxes.
“It’s pretty obvious they thought they were going to hurt us very, very badly,” said Malcolm A. Borg, chairman of the North Jersey Media Group.
On Friday, when an article about the hospital’s reaction was published, Mr. Borg said he received apologetic phone calls from some members of the medical center’s board. (Mr. Borg’s daughter, the general counsel for the media group, is on the hospital board; however, no matters involving the paper were ever formally presented to the board.)
By Friday afternoon, the hospital had released a statement undoing its decision. In response to a reporter’s inquiry to a hospital spokeswoman, a public relations firm sent an e-mail statement saying the board and administrators “agreed to reverse the decision regarding The Record.”
It also said, “We apologize to our patients and our staff for any inconvenience, and we apologize to The Record.” Still, Mr. Borg said he had not yet heard from any hospital representatives as of Friday about resuming the advertising.
“If the hospital administration doesn’t like the fact that we are in there and writing stories about the institution that are not flattering, because it involves certain members of the board and their interlocking relationships and so forth, I think the public has a right to know that, and if we find out, we’re going to print it,” Mr. Borg said.
STEPHANIE CLIFFORD
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: May 15, 2009 
An article on May 4 about a dispute between the Hackensack University Medical Center and The Record, a newspaper owned by the North Jersey Media Group, using information from Malcolm Borg, the chairman of the group, overstated the connection of his daughter to the dispute. Jennifer Borg is the general counsel for the media group and is also on the medical center’s board. But as a member of the board, she did not recuse herself from “most decisions having to do with the paper” because no matters involving the paper were ever formally presented to the board.

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