Who says investigative journalism in New Jersey is dead?
In a public display of devotion to local journalism that conjures up the days of old Mac Borg, The (Bergen) Record and the Star-Ledger have been all over rumors that Krispy Kreme was coming to East Rutherford.
In January, The Record reported that “Bergen County is getting close to having a Krispy Kreme,” but noted that “a deal for one has not yet been brokered.” The newspaper was able to get John Ponczek of JP Realty to go on the record for that one.
The Star-Ledger beat The Record to the story, reporting first in March that the East Rutherford zoning board approved a new Krispy Kreme at the old Capital Bank on Route 17. Their story included a quote from the mayor James Cassella, who said he hoped the renovations happen quickly now that the application was approved.
As Mort Pye would have demanded, The Star-Ledger story was extraordinarily thorough. It included some tantalizing information – donuts would be made on site, and the plans included a drive-thru.
They went with the story even though “Krispy Kreme did not respond to requests for comment,” and “the attorneys who represented the application before the zoning board could not immediately be reached for comment.” After all, they knew they nailed the breaking news.
It must have been humiliating for The Record to lose such a big scoop right in their own backyard.
Five days later, The Record uncovered documents filed with the zoning board that allowed them to write their own story about Krispy Kreme’s emergence in Bergen County. They added the news of the drive-thru and that donuts will be made on site but have nobody commenting on the record. Essentially The Record did what they seem to do with increasing frequency: they ripped off someone else’s story.
So far, the Star-Ledger is winning. Today they scooped The Record again with news that the East Rutherford Krispy Kreme will open this fall. It’s not clear whether The Record is on this story too. Their reporter did not immediately respond to a 9:19 PM e-mail seeking comment.