Prospect Heights resident and activist Raul Rothblatt, aka "Raul in Brooklyn," was on the line.
RR: One I think very exciting model is happening right here in Brooklyn, it's getting international notice, is the blogging and citizen reporting regarding the Atlantic Yards. And we have reporters, local bloggers, going to City Council hearings when the New York Times and all the local papers are not.
Well, I haven't been to many City Council hearings, but I have covered numerous events and court hearings that others have either ignored or treated cursorily.
BL: And are you talking about journalists or are you talking about residents of the community who are against Atlantic Yards and go to the hearings and then blog?
RR: Well, It's a thin line sometimes. Some people have really become, like Norman Oder of the Atlantic Yards Report is really of a tremendous professional quality. And a lot of it is citizens going to meetings. But there's so much of it that there tends to be a real dialogue, a really good way for people to keep each other honest.
BL: On both sides, do you think, do people go to Norman Oder's site, which is, y'know, pitched primarily [fixed 5/9] anti-Atlantic Yards Project and have a discussion on both sides? Or is it just an echo chamber of the like-minded?
Lehrer seems to be confusing my blog with a talk show. My goal is to explain to people what's going on, and to look into questions of civic importance.
RR: Honestly, I know you don't really want to hear this, there isn't, in my neighborhood, supporters of the project. And Norman Oder would not say that he's an anti-Atlantic Yards reporter, he would say he's critical of the project.
BL: Raul, I'm going to leave it there and get some reaction. Paul Starr, when you look at the role of journalism in our democracy, is the model that Raul is laying out a significant change? He referred to a thinner line between the activist resident and something defined as the journalist.
PS: What he's describing in Brooklyn is great, it's terrific, there should be more of it. I think there's a high concentration of very educated people there, who are following that issue. The trouble is, in many other parts of the country, they don't have those resources, they don't have that capacity. We need an independent press that is financed some other way. It's great when we have citizen journalists to supplement that, but I don't think we can rely on that alone.
Starr was essentially echoing my point that the response to Atlantic Yards, including my journalism and the pointed portal NoLandGrab, is a somewhat unusual phenomenon, not duplicated, for example, in the case of the Yankee Stadium controversy.
(NoLandGrab's Lumi Rolley adds: Keep in mind, NoLandGrab has always linked to media in support of the project. Except for the local daily newspapers, most of it has just faded away. Heck, even Bruce Ratner himself had to downsize the company's web presence, presumably due to cut costs.)