Saturday, May 14, 2011

Brooklyn Paper offers packaged-by-Nets story: Brook Lopez excited by arena! (plus: an intern discloses snark effect at paper)

Well, the Brooklyn Paper still hasn't written about Forest City Ratner's dubious efforts to raise money from immigrant investors via the EB-5 program, but the paper did muster the energy to cover a handed-to-them, pictures'n'all, media event: the visit of Nets center Brook Lopez to the arena site and a couple of Bergen Street businesses.

The article, headlined Nets Lopez was the ‘center’ of attention on Bergen Street began:
The New Jersey Nets don’t move to Brooklyn until next October, but one of the team’s stars couldn’t wait that long to take a look at his future home.
Um, that's what Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson, and Devin Harris were also prompted to say by their bosses, who later disappeared them.

Note that the article, at least in the initial version posted this morning, quotes a "Baum" with no first name; that would be Nets spokesman Barry Baum. The photos come courtesy of the Nets. While the article doesn't mention when the visit happened, it was Wednesday, three days ago.

A happy businessman

The final quote comes from the owner of hot dog emporium Bark, Josh Sharkey:
“The arena is definitely positive for us,” Sharkey said. “It’s going to be a big improvement for the area.”
Shouldn't food and beverage purveyors commenting on the arena get an asterisk? Of course they--at least most of them--will think the influx of thousands of people would help their business.

Whether Sharkey has the wisdom to comment on the arena's impact on "the area" is a whole 'nother story.

Excited locals?

Note that, according to the Nets' web site, "Brook couldn't go five steps between Bark and the arena site without someone shouting encouragement or asking him to sign."

The photo accompanying that caption shows the featured "someone" to be a construction worker.

(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/

An intern's tales

In case you're wondering, the writer of the Brooklyn Paper article, J.J. Despain, comes from Brigham Young University in Utah, and, at least initially, has experienced some culture shock at the Brooklyn Paper, at the hands of editor Gersh Kuntzman.

Despain wrote in his blog:
I think the editor likes the work I've done so far, but to be honest it's sort of hard to tell. It might be because I'm surrounded by swearing I haven't heard since high school, or because the paper's snarkiness and his snarkiness are one and the same.
Despain also lamented, not unreasonably, an editing session:
Another example: I wrote a story about a royal wedding viewing party under the Manhattan Bridge, which was a pretty cool event to be a part of. I tried to add a little bit of that snarkiness, using a theme of royal wedding "fever," to make it more Brooklyn Paper friendly. But my editor added a lot more, including a reference to "crown jewels" that isn't really my type of humor and it's a little embarrassing that it's attached to my name now.
The reference?
The crowd cheered every little moment, from the first glimpse of [Kate] Middleton as she stepped out of a 1950 Rolls Royce, all the way through to the climactic, “I do,” when Middleton officially became the Duchess of Cambridge, and earned greater access to the crown jewels.


  1. what, Lopez doesn't like Chucky Cheese or Buffalo Wild Wings?

  2. The intern's response, if you haven't seen it:

  3. Um, I didn't say the Brooklyn Paper published a press release. I said the newspaper published a story packaged by the Nets: invited in, photos provided, etc.

    It's a lot easier to write a story when the doors are opened for you that way. And it's a lot harder to do some real reporting.