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March 15, 2008

Atlantic Yards Report Saturday Trifecta

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder posts three (yes, three!) items for us this Saturday. Sheldon Silver, Forest City Ratner Companies and FCRC shill Bruce Bender get to share the AY Report spotlight with legendary journalist I.F. Stone.

The legacy of I.F. Stone, independent non-neutral journalist, "proto-blogger"

Oder shows how he has been influenced by "proto-blogger" I.F. Stone, in the course of covering a panel discussion for the 100th anniversary of Stone's birth.

The panel--two biographers, two former colleagues, plus an academic--summarized the lessons from Stone's career: Think for yourself. Get your facts right. Base opinion and analysis on reporting. Read original documents. Don't accept the spin from those in power. Don't be flattered by access to the powerful.

Oder goes on to note how neutrality in reporting (i.e., simply parroting one party's claims) can result in a loss of integrity. Here, he quotes NYU journalism academic Jay Rosen:

Reporters with depth of knowledge are capable of challenging government and getting beyond the he said, she said style of tepid truthtelling. But the media corporation shifts its people around a lot. They switch towns, beats, assignments so often that it’s impossible for most reporters to build up any independent base of authority. They can’t challenge spin because they don’t know enough. So they become transmitters. Neutrality valorizes a loss of footing and self-respect.

This is bad news for the press if you care about having a strong one, capable of challenging the line of the day. But fine for the media, which finds it far cheaper to farm out “context” and “analysis” to ex-government officials. They came by their knowledge at another sector’s expense.

And that's part of the problem with Atlantic Yards.

FCR's Bender: new arena roof plan six months away

Oder takes today's article in the Financial Times to task for some shortcomings. He also observes newly disclosed information.

The article offers a dollop of news:

The original Atlantic Yards plan also called for gardens on the roof of the arena. But that would have required fire escapes running outside the entire height of the building. [Architect Frank] Gehry is back at the drawing board and should have a new roof designed within six months, says [spokesman Bruce] Bender.

That doesn't sound very swift, given that a Phase One redesign was due last fall.

Forest City Ratner's downtown branding, in Manhattan Media's New York Press


In this week's New York Press, page 5--a prominent spot--is taken up with a full-page advertisement from developer Forest City Ratner. The ad appears to be a branding exercise rather than an effort to plug any particular project.

However, the ad also might be seen as an effort to shape opinion among residents of Lower Manhattan, where the newspaper circulates, and where the developer seems to have delayed promised plans to complete a school in the Frank Gehry-designed Beekman Tower, despite queries from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.


Manhattan Media appears to be winner in the dispute between Forest City Ratner and Silver, given that the Assembly Speaker has purchased his own advertisement, albeit on page 32 of the weekly.

Posted by steve at March 15, 2008 7:14 AM