From The Washington Post
Martin Gottlieb, editor of the (Bergen, N.J.) Record, has a lot of great things to say about his employer. Though his newsroom has had to deal with a bit of shrinkage over the years, it’s still robust, with a head count of about 200. While newspaper owners in recent decades have sold out to big chains, says Gottlieb, his people have stayed firm, sticking with the industry. Stephen Borg is the fourth generation of his family to serve as publisher of the Record, the northern New Jersey paper that’s often referred to as the Bergen Record. And committed, local ownership has its benefits, says Gottlieb.
Amid the now-legendary shutdown of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J. in September, Borg got something of a tip. Says Gottlieb: “Our publisher gets a call from a friend of his saying it’s been taking me hours to get into New York.” Gottlieb passed along the information to the assignment desk; from there, it reached John Cichowski, author of the paper’s “Road Warrior” column, which got its founding inspiration from the Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.”
Backup at the George Washington Bridge? Whoop-dee-doo, thought Cichowski at first. “A tie-up of the George Washington Bridge is not really news,” Cichowski told the Erik Wemple Blog. Cichowski has been doing “Road Warrior” for more than 10 years, and there are a lot of traffic jams on New Jersey highways. In this case, however, Cichowski started gathering indications that this wasn’t just a one-off situation. “It happened more than once, and I started getting e-mails from people, and naturally you do an appropriate kind of phone call” in such a circumstance, says Cichowski. He got this feedback from police in Fort Lee: “Our town is a mess and not only is it a mess but it’s been that way for a couple of days.”