Burzichelli criticizes NJTV for lack of Irene coverage

TRENTON – A lawmaker who consistently has criticized the successor to NJN took aim again today in the wake of the coverage – or non-coverage – of Hurricane Irene’s effect on New Jersey.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli, (D-3), West Deptford, took WNET/NJTV to task, stating that the programmer that received a five-year contract to supplant publicly funded NJN did not serve state residents well over the weekend in terms of providing state-centric storm coverage.

“This weekend was a time of great need for New Jersey residents, but sadly their own television station was nowhere to be found,” Burzichelli said in a release. “Its absence was glaring and unacceptable during a time of great crisis. The people who run NJTV should be embarrassed.”

During hearings earlier this year after the Christie administration announced its intentions to remove the state from the business of public television, officials of WNET were questioned as to how much New Jersey programming they would provide.

“NJTV promised they would ramp up efforts and provide quality news coverage for New Jersey, but when the hurricane was approaching and becoming the first to make landfall in the state in more than 100 years, NJTV’s programming had nothing to do with the storm,” Burzichelli said.

News stations from Philadelphia and New York provided some New Jersey coverage, according to Burzichelli, but not enough.

Pointing out that Public Media NJ Inc. is receiving $6.8 million annually, Buzichelli said, “I have to question how that money is being spent and whether it’s time to end this experiment and find a way to return quality New Jersey-centric news to our residents.”

Officials at WNET/Public Media NJ could not be reached immediately  for reaction.

Previous coverage:

http://www.politickernj.com/49047/effort-derail-wnet-takeover-njn-fails

http://www.politickernj.com/48879/wnet-bid-repsents-best-hope-continuing-new-jersey-centric-tv-treasurer-says

Burzichelli criticizes NJTV for lack of Irene coverage