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April 8, 2012

A note from Stephen Witt (but not on AY): "I will be vigilant to be watchful against my own tendencies to have personal axes [to] grind"

Atlantic Yards Report

Readers of this blog know that I have had my differences with the notorious Stephen Witt, known for his irresponsible coverage of Atlantic Yards and, perhaps, a novel based on the Atlantic Yards saga.

Well, others have questioned his credibility. Consider a front-page apology March 8 from David Mark Greaves, publisher of the Bed-Stuy-based Our Time Press, where Witt now works as a Senior Editor:

In last week’s issue of Our Time Press, editor Stephen Witt allowed his emotions to distort his reporting and what resulted were unfair, baseless and unwarranted attacks on the Vannguard Independent Democratic Association...
To further the damage I, who had the responsibility to read the column beyond the headline, did not do my job, and as a result it went out unedited and unproofed, full of errors and rancorous opinion.
The publishers have made Mr. Witt fully aware of the disaster this is... Both Mr. Witt and I deeply apologize for the complete lack of professionalism in allowing that material to appear in the paper.

Witt, who also writes columns, has the right to write opinion--and his problematic report is now labeled "Opinion." The problem is when the opinion is based on little evidence. Witt wrote apologetically:

Henceforth, I will be vigilant to be watchful against my own tendencies to have personal axes [to] grind.

...

Note that no such apology about Witt's reporting ever came from the editors of the Courier-Life chain, which had a larger budget and presumably (but perhaps not) more opportunity for editing.

There Witt covered Atlantic Yards by finding bizarre angles such as letting project supporters claim that project foes were the "real land grabbers" because they moved into former industrial buildings that had been closed and then renovated.

link

Posted by steve at April 8, 2012 8:55 PM