Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hudson Reporter goes kaput in Hoboken

The Hudson Reporter, the community paper covering the county of the same name in New Jersey is turning out the lights in Hoboken.

According to reliable sources, the building hosting operations is shutting its doors and will be moving to the location of a small satellite office in Bayonne by next month.

Last November, the uptown building owned by co-publisher Dave Unger was put up for sale. In recent years, word of salary cuts and staffing reductions became the norm at the weekly.

The Hudson Reporter building at Washington  and 14th,
soon to be the former home of the declining community paper.
Begun in 1983, the Hudson Reporter called the Distorter for its biased suppression of news coverage, the paper was founded by prominent real estate developer Joseph Barry who also co-founded Applied Housing with his father.

The Hudson Reporter eventually changed ownership but its political leanings often tilted heavily toward its connected development origins, along with numerous arrests and convictions of county politicos including its founder.

Nicknamed the pro Old Guard Rag, the paper saw its influence wane in recent years as more copies strewn about Hoboken went unread and the letters to the editor section became a retread from a familiar batch of names.

Locally, the Hudson Reporter maintained enthusiastic political support for the Mile Square's Old Guard and innate hostility toward the Reform Movement, led to success in Hoboken by Mayor Dawn Zimmer's ascent to City Hall in 2009.

Its zeal in seeking to undo Mayor Zimmer and Reform saw wild, often bizzare political and election coverage promoting Old Guard candidates and targeting anything it could construe as unseemly to their opposition. Most recently, the Hudson Reporter insisted over months going back to last year the popular Hoboken mayor would resign.

The decline of the weekly community paper, a national trend but especially vivid in Hoboken was accelerated by the rise of what it called "the blogs" - re: Grafix Avenger and Mile Square View (MSV), two online reform oriented anti-corruption websites.

In recent years, political battling in Hoboken saw coordinated political operations between the Hudson Reporter and Hoboken Old Guard elements aiming to destroy the independently owned Reform websites, most visibly when a coordinated hit job back in May 2012 came to light before publication could occur.

It soon followed with the spectacular failure of a SLAPP-suit filed in July of that year by hard core political operatives Lane Bajardi and Kimberly Cardinal Bajardi. The civil lawsuit, first trumpeted at the Hudson Reporter then saw the publication completely fall silent after the frivolous lawsuit was thrown out of court and scores of damaging emails published exposing its Hoboken political allies last July. 

An internal gag order reportedly remains in place and those emails' contents have never been mentioned.

In another recent civil suit, emails from the Carmelo Garcia ethnic cleansing complaint, stated as determinative in a City Hall led effort to undermine him at the Hoboken Housing Authority never saw publication as its political columnist failed to make good on that claim.

Another series of outlandish forecasts followed on a related Facebook page stating emails would be published in the paper showing collusion between "the blogs" and Hoboken City Hall. Those conspiracy theories would so too follow with silence.

Word of screaming matches from the embarrassment among its editorial staff made its way to the Mile Square streets in tandem with the paper's negative exposure.

Neither publisher Dave Unger nor editor Caren Matzner responded to requests for comment on the Hudson Reporter's impending departure.

The move to Bayonne is foreseen by some as a harbinger of the Hudson Reporter's demise.

Related: Last year, 30 questions for Caren Matzner added further evidence of failed journalistic minimums.
http://www.hobokenhorse.com/2015/02/30-questions-for-caren-matzner-editor_16.html