Thursday, May 11, 2006

FCR bans journalist from Gehry press conference, invites "community"

Does Forest City Ratner want scrutiny of its Atlantic Yards project? Apparently not, since the developer barred me from the press conference this morning featuring architect Frank Gehry and landscape architect Laurie Olin.

The FCR press release hinted that a journalist who writes a blog wouldn't be welcome:
Please note that this press conference is open to reporters with valid press credentials. If you do not have press credentials, we require a request from the publication that you will be representing. The request on letterhead should be faxed to 212.981.5449.

What's a valid credential? And what's a letterhead? I faxed a request on my own letterhead, but that wasn't enough for Ratner. Jeffrey Lerner, a Dan Klores Communications Senior Account Executive, politely but firmly told me "the decision is final."

And is a blogger a journalist? Well, not everyone, but journalists who write blogs are still journalists. And, as Matt Welch wrote in 2003 in the Columbia Journalism Review, bloggers contribute "personality, eyewitness testimony, editorial filtering, and uncounted gigabytes of new knowledge."

The latter is why I wanted to attend the press conference. I'll get the press kit sooner or later. [Update: within hours. See other posts dated today and look for previous posts.]

I wanted to see what Gehry would say about his interaction with the community and how his designs have evolved. (The iTeam blog of the Daily News recently called my blog "a regular must-read for both opponents and supporters of Bruce Ratner’s proposed project.")

Meanwhile, some selected members of the community were invited: signatories to the much-criticized Community Benefits Agreement.

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