NJ paper defends putting ‘political boss’ on editorial board

George Norcross III “is a powerful political figure in our state, to be sure, and a newsmaker who we’ve written about extensively over the years,” writes Mike Daniels, opinion page editor of Gannett’s Courier-Post. “Some have questioned our decision to invite Norcross onto the board, but to our mind, the decision wasn’t difficult.” (Norcross is chairman of Cooper University Hospital; chairman of Conner Strong Companies, one of the largest insurance brokerage firms in the nation; and prominent Camden County Democratic Party leader and fundraiser.)

Blogger Tom Crone criticizes the editorial board pick:

We find it chilling that a man many know as one of the most powerful political figures in New Jersey, a person who has never been elected to office, yet under whose 20 year dominance as an old school political boss the City of Camden has fallen into a deep dark pit, was afforded the option of having his views printed for free in your newspaper.

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  • Anonymous

    I worked summers as a reporter on the Courier-Post in the early 1970s when it was a decent suburban newspaper. Since then, the daily circulation has dropped from something like 125,000 to the point where most days it now sells fewer than 49,000 copies. That’s a stunning 60% drop despite the 1982 demise of the paper’s main afternoon competition, the Philadelphia Bulletin (another place I worked for a time). That fall is about one-fifth greater than the national decline in newspaper circulation. So not all of the Courier-Post’s waning numbers can be blamed on the general meltdown of print media and its advertising base. Mr. Norcross is hardly to be criticized. He simply sees an economic opportunity at the expense of a badly weakened organization, not unlike someone buying a house from a severely distressed owner. The sad part is that the Courier-Post, whose news reporting staff (judging from the roster online) now numbers only a dozen, felt compelled to pursue it. Had the Courier-Post of the 1970s made such an offer to party-leading Democrats in Camden County, the editorial board well might have contained Angelo Errichetti or Jimmy Joyce–both later convicted in federal court of felony crimes.
    –William P. Barrett (wmpb@aol.com)