Sunday, April 05, 2009

Had the Times corrected the "same site" error, it might not have migrated into new book on the Dodgers

As I reported March 23, Michael D’Antonio, author of Forever Blue: The True Story of Walter O'Malley, Baseball's Most Controversial Owner, and the Dodgers of Brooklyn and Los Angeles, in interviews showed that he knows that O'Malley sought a site for a new stadium north of Atlantic Avenue, then the Fort Greene Meat Market and later the home of the Atlantic Center mall.

In the book, however, D'Antonio gets it wrong, writing in a Postscript:
The borough started to bounce back in the 1980s, and in 2004 a developer proposed an indoor sports arena for the site O'Malley had been denied. The Atlantic Yards project didn't progress any faster than O'Malley's domed stadium. As of 2009 it was still alive, but the place where O'Malley would have built remained untouched.


No, it wasn't the same site, and "the place O'Malley would have built" contains a mall.

Tracing it back to the Times

So, where did D'Antonio get his misinformation? His source notes point to a 1/16/04 New York Times article headlined Yo, Dodgers? No Way! Brooklyn Is Betting on the Nets for Revival.

The article stated:
Coincidentally, the Nets would be based at the same site that Walter O'Malley wanted as a new home for the Dodgers before moving the team to California.

The Times, however, refused to publicly correct that error, as well as other instances of it. Senior Editor Greg Brock said he'd ask researchers to attach a note to the 2004 articles with the error, but told me "[t]here is a limit to how many old articles we can correct in print."

[Note correction: I previously referred to Brock as Corrections Editor.]

Misleading researchers

The problem, as I pointed out, was that the failure to print a correction or attach it to a public database would mean that "other researchers and reporters drawing on those pieces may be misled."

Which is exactly what happened. D'Antonio apparently trusted the Paper of Record.

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