Sunday, October 05, 2008

"You be the editor"? Courier-Life allows comments, at least

"You be the editor," claims the Courier-Life chain on its new web site. However, as a print advertisement explains, "citizen journalism" in the Courier-Life world consists of the following:
  • comment on any news story or blog
  • submit news stories or announcements
  • post pictures in the photo gallery
  • post an event in the Calendar
  • submit letters to the editor online
  • vote in online polls
While audience participation, in the form of comments and user-generated pictures, is part of citizen journalism, most of the Courier-Life's list qualifies as streamlining the submission of information, rather than allowing citizens to "be the editor."

It's helpful to allow comments--oddly enough, the web site claims they're moderated, but a comment I posted went up instantly--but that's hardly revolutionary. And the Courier-Life stories apparently are posted a few days after the print article appears--a real deterrent to those who wish to offer feedback. Maybe that'll change.

This week's AY articles

Because the latest articles have appeared in print but are not yet online, I'll have to comment here for now. (Click on graphics to enlarge.) If "we" were the editor, the two articles would've included some additional perspective.

Note that the article on the survival of the state eminent domain case states "Court rules in favor of critics," which isn't quite so.

While the ruling did favor the plaintiffs, the court's unwillingness to grant a motion to dismiss, with no elaboration offered, might be seen not so much "in favor" of the critics but simply in favor of having the case fully argued, rather than short-circuited.

Also note that Community Benefits Agreement signatory James Caldwell of Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (BUILD), a favorite source for reporter Stephen Witt, claims, "This project brings hope to all who live in the community." Isn't that a bit sweeping?

The open space will arrive sometime

The Courier-Life's follow-up article on the disappearance of AY footprint trees, an issue raised more than two weeks ago on AYR, does advance the story by adding a quote from Forest City Ratner executive Bruce Bender, who gets the final word.

"While some trees will have to be removed as work at the site progresses, their number will be replaced many, many times over with new trees and over eight acres of new landscaped open space," Bender said.

Unmentioned: all the landscaped open space would appear in Phase 2 of the project. There's no timetable for Phase 2. There's no starting date for Phase 2, nor are there penalties for failing to complete it by a certain time, according to the State Funding Agreement. It's hardly reassuring to promise "new landscape open space" without a target date.

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