Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Times finally corrects the "Downtown Brooklyn" errors

From the Corrections box in today's New York Times:
Because of an editing error, an article in The Arts on Tuesday about Frank Gehry's design for the first phase of the Grand Avenue development project in Los Angeles misstated the location of the proposed Atlantic Yards project that Mr. Gehry is designing in Brooklyn. (The error also appeared in sports articles on Feb. 9 and April 11, in the City section on Jan. 15 and in several articles in 2003, 2004 and 2005.) It is on rail yards and other land in Prospect Heights and on a block in Park Slope; it is not in Downtown Brooklyn, although it is near that neighborhood.

This is a welcome, if belated, correction, since it was pointed out in my 9/1/05 report and on several occasions since then, including an article Tuesday and a post pointing out that the "rowback" in the Metro section--a correct location without a correction being published--has not led to accuracy in other sections.

Interestingly, the correction appeared under the rubric "For the record," where the Times publishes its more technical corrections, leaving the "Corrections" rubric for topics of greater importance. Given Forest City Ratner's continued use of the term "Downtown Brooklyn" as part of its goal to build at a scale discontinuous with the surrounding blocks, a correction explaining the political import of the terminology would've been helpful.

Has the Times appended the correction to past coverage? A Lexis-Nexis search showed four corrections appended to articles from 2006 and 11 corrections appended to articles from the previous three years. However, there were no corrections appended to 14 articles in the Sports section in 2003.

Addendum: Read carefully, the correction actually goes too far. The Park Slope component of the project, known as Site 5 (current home of Modell's/P.C. Richard) was not publicly described as part of the Atlantic Yards project until May 2005, though a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the site was signed in February 2005. Thus a correction appended to a 2004 article, for example, would be inexact, since Site 5 was not yet part of the plan.

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