« Happy Birthday Atlantic Yards! | Main | The Kolben chronicles: more likely it was her reports for the Brooklyn Paper, not the Daily News, that alarmed Ratner »

December 10, 2008

The IFC Media Project scoop: former Daily News reporter says she was pulled off AY beat (and source blames Ratner)

Atlantic Yards Report

The scoop from from last night's broadcast of the IFC Media Project was that Bruce Ratner had reporter Deborah Kolben pulled from the Atlantic Yards story when she was working for the NY Daily News.

The big news comes when former Daily News reporter Deborah Kolben, who had previously worked at the Brooklyn Paper and later worked at the Village Voice, convincingly describes an episode in which “Ratner’s top people” told Daily News officials that they were unhappy with her reporting.

The response: an immediate message to the Metro editor to pull Kolben off the story, without even looking at her clips. Kolben blames the request on unspecified Forest City Ratner executives. The IFC Media Project cites an unnamed source who blames it on Bruce Ratner himself.

IFC Media Project's Ali Farahnakian finally tracks down NY Daily News editor Martin Dunn:

“Do you normally pull reporters off at Bruce Ratner’s request?” Farakhanian asks.

“I don’t pull reporters off at Bruce Ratner’s request,” Dunn replies, pointing a finger at his interlocutor, “but I will say this. You obviously are not an editor. I run a newspaper. I can do what I like. And I can tell people to do what I want. That’s what I do. I run a newspaper.”

Norman Oder tries to explain the exchange:

I’m not sure things are that simple, and an American editor might be counseled against such a combative tone. Then again, Dunn does come from the more rough-and-tumble British journalism tradition. And that tradition is one in which newspapers are more comfortable taking sides in both news and editorial pages, while U.S. newspapers profess (if not always follow) a separation between news and opinion as well as news and business.

The IFC Media Project additionally examines the Times's coverage, and NY Post reporter Rich Calder speaks for himself as to why his paper's coverage isn't better.


Huffington Post, The IFC Media Project: Newspapers, the Economy, Real Estate and Political Power

On November 11, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich sent a message to Sam Zell. Blagojevich was upset over a string of critical editorials from Zell's paper, the Chicago Tribune. The governor demanded Zell scale back the paper's editorial attack on him and that Zell fire the offending members of the paper's editorial board.

The aide who conveyed the Governor's feelings to the real estate and media mogul reported back, telling the governor that Sam Zell "got the message and is very sensitive to the issue."

When journalism becomes a backroom deal between those with political power and the businessmen who control the media, the news is corrupted. Tonight's [episode of the IFC Media Project] looks at all these issues, starting with a look into how the press has misreported this financial mess.

Then, we dig into the curious case of Atlantic Yards. What happens when New York City's three major papers have to cover the biggest real estate development in Brooklyn? Here's a hint: The New York Daily News is operated by media and real estate magnate Mort Zuckerman and The New York Times hired the developer of Atlantic Yards to build its new headquarters.

Posted by lumi at December 10, 2008 6:42 AM