Friday, March 18, 2011

From Columbia Journalism Review: A Sports Myth Grows in Brooklyn: New basketball arena won’t occupy the site the Dodgers sought

I've been writing about the "same site" myth for years and, in a 2/17/08 post suggested that the New York Times's failure to correct a persistent error would have consequences. Indeed, it has.

Columbia Journalism Review today publishes my online article, A Sports Myth Grows in Brooklyn: New basketball arena won’t occupy the site the Dodgers sought:
Journalists who write about the new basketball arena rising in Brooklyn, scheduled to house the basketball Nets in 2012, frequently invoke the borough’s last major league team, the Brooklyn Dodgers, who left in 1957 for Los Angeles. They sometimes cite a seeming spiritual link: the Barclays Center arena is said to be located exactly where a successor to Ebbets Field could have emerged.”

A half-century earlier, Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley had hoped to build a new home for his team on the same site,” writes Zack O’Malley Greenburg in Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office, officially published March 17. (Jay-Z’s an investor in the Nets, hence a chapter on the Atlantic Yards project.) The Ebbets Field connection has been brought up by Mayor Mike Bloomberg, cited by a journalism professor and author on a book on the Dodgers, and even entered an ongoing exhibit at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

The problem? It’s a myth. The stadium would have been located across a wide avenue. While the myth has appeared in multiple media outlets, I believe that The New York Times, which many researchers treat as a reliable source, bears significant responsibility.

The error has appeared at least five times in the Times.
For the rest, go to CJR.

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