Sunday, January 31, 2010

Could the Atlantic Yards arena open in 2011-12? The Times won't publish a correction

It's a little like something out of Beckett, the attempt to get the New York Times to acknowledge errors in its Atlantic Yards coverage. Sure, the Times sometimes prints corrections when the evidence is overwhelming.

But too often the Times goes through gyrations to avoid such acknowledgments. Unfortunately, the readers are still misled.

Below is the latest.

The 2011-12 arena?

I sent a request for a correction to the New York Times Senior Editor/Standards Greg Brock on Friday:
Today, the Times reported in Seeking Fans in 2 States, Despite a Record of 4-40 (1/29, Metro) that "the move [to Brooklyn] is not expected to take place for at least another full season."

The current season ends in the spring of 2010. The next season ends in the spring of 2011. Today's article leaves open the possibility that the move could take place during the 2011-12 season.

However, the Times reported last month that "[t]hey hope to open the new arena by June 2012."

That's after the second full season.

And just the other day an executive from Forest City Ratner said construction of the arena (which hasn't yet begun) would take 28 months. See the end of the second video embedded here.

I recognize that the statement that "the move [to Brooklyn] is not expected to take place for at least another full season" is not technically inaccurate. But it is misleadingly imprecise. As you in October 2007 told an interviewer: I don’t know if you read our corrections much, but we often say we referred “imprecisely” to something, which means that we weren’t 100 percent wrong.

I think that this is one of those cases.
The Times's response

Brock responded promptly:
You are correct that it is not technically inaccurate. We were careful to say "at least" another full season. That much we are certain of. They may get their wish and have it going BY June 2012 as we said. Or it may be 2014, who knows what problems might be ahead. "At least" another season conveys to our readers -- who are fairly sharp little cookies -- that it's not going to be anytime real soon and that we, nor anyone, really knows.

I don't agree that this was imprecise. No correction is warranted.
My response

I wrote back to Brock:
Thanks for your prompt response.

If they get their wish, as you note, they will have it going by June 2012, which would be at least another two full seasons. (Seasons run Oct.-April.) Hence my initial communication.
He didn't respond.

Today's correction

Today's Times contains this correction:
Correction: January 31, 2010
The 36 Hours column on Jan. 17 about Whistler, British Columbia, referred imprecisely to some nonstop flights between New York and Vancouver. Under a code-share arrangement, Continental sells tickets for flights to Vancouver operated by Air Canada, not by Continental. (Continental does offer nonstop service between the two cities in the summer.)
The bottom line is that you can get to Vancouver by doing business with Continental.

The bottom line regarding the Nets' planned move to Brooklyn is that it won't happen within the second full season, despite the Times's willingness to leave that suggestion open.

1 comment:

  1. It should also be noted that neither Continental nor Air Canada developed The Times's new headquarters building — another reason The Times should be more exacting in its coverage of Forest City Ratner and its Atlantic Yards project.

    Perhaps Mr. Brock subscribes to the fantasy that the 4-41 Nets will sign free agents Lebron James and Dwyane Wade this summer, land Kentucky's John Wall with the #1 pick in the NBA draft, and will relocate to the Barclays Center for the 2012 NBA finals.

    Dream on.

    ReplyDelete