Wednesday, May 02, 2007

How real estate spins the press (and that's not our headline)

An article in this month's Real Deal offers some hints about how those in the real estate world "are becoming more adept at working with, and sometimes spinning, the press. The headline: How real estate spins the press: Leaking information for a better deal or to attract other suitors.

I'll take that as a clue to how the New York Times got its misguided 9/5/06 front-page story about Forest City Ratner's rumored (and highly strategic) 8% scaleback in the size of the Atlantic Yards project.

One byline was that of Charles Bagli, a generally excellent reporter who, in this case, may just have been too eager for page one to propertly contextualize the information he found or was fed.

Had the story included the context that the scaleback would bring the project back to the same square footage as originally announced, would it have included the headline "A Response to Criticism" or appeared on page one?

Movers & shakers

The Real Deal explains how Bagli fits into the ecosystem:
The writers and publications that move and shake -- according to several brokers, developers and property owners interviewed -- include Bagli of the Times, Steve Cuozzo of the New York Post and James R. Hagerty of the Wall Street Journal.

Those are some of the go-tos for real estate executives who want to release information about deals both commercial and residential to a select media audience that they can trust, and who they feel will provide them with the necessary number of eyeballs.


Good timing

Sometimes, even, the real estate strategists pick slow news cycles like Labor Day weekend, as in the story noted above, or the July 4 weekend, as in the 7/5/05 article in which Gehry's "instant skyline" was unveiled in the Times.

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