It's not an illegitimate criticism; it depends whether you believe such an event should encompass all who come--as did the debut event in 2006--or some of the most prominent. (Next year, I'm sure I'll sit it out.)
But it was curious, though not surprising given the sources, that three recent articles mentioning the Blogfest and the Brooklyn blogging boom, including the cover story in today's New York Times City section, ignored Atlantic Yards, notably this web site and No Land Grab.
The Times article, headlined Cracker-Barrel 2.0, treats the phenomenon as kinda cute, offering the tag line, "If a tree fell in Brooklyn and nobody bothered to blog the news, would it make a sound?" and describing blogs as "these quirky byways of the information highway."
It starts with Louise Crawford of Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, moves on to Jon Butler of Brownstoner, Robin Lester of the Clinton Hill Blog, and Robert Guskind of The Gowanus Lounge, then discusses the issue, which Guskind brought up at the Blogfest, of why some neighborhoods lack bloggers.
Reasons provided for the proliferation of blogs:
--"they undeniably give local residents a sense of empowerment"
--"a reflection of the borough’s relatively high ratio of homeowners to renters."
--"Brooklyn’s abundance of charged issues, coupled with its rich culture and long history"
--the extremely low ratio of daily newspaper reporters to borough population
--the poor coverage in the mainstream media of such charged issues, including Atlantic Yards.
I'll repeat Brooklyn College professor Paul Moses's observation about Brooklyn's place in the local mediascape: Nowhere in the country do so many people get so little local coverage.
Dissing AY, again
The Times repeats the canard, promoted by the Web site Outside.in, that Clinton Hill is the “bloggiest” neighborhood in America, citing especially the "ubiquity" of Brownstoner. As I wrote, a large plurality of the entries Outside.in listed as "Clinton Hill" that I examined concerned Atlantic Yards and came from No Land Grab. (More criticism.)
Here's the Times's selected list of "a few but by no means all of the Brooklyn blogs": Dope on the Slope; Flatbush Gardener, Big Sky Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights Blog, DumboNYC, Self-Absorbed Boomer, 110 Livingston, Ditmas Park Blog, Brit in Brooklyn, Kensington Blog, and Kinetic Carnival.
It's kind of strange that the Times would omit Atlantic Yards; after all, the newspaper ran an article on the front of the Metro section in April 2006, describing AY as "the first large-scale urban real estate venture in New York City where opposition has coalesced most visibly in the blogosphere." (The account of the Blogfest on the Times blog did mention Atlantic Yards.)
Today's article automatically segregates blogs, noting, "In accordance with the unwritten rules of placeblogging, Ms. Crawford considers her three-year-old blog an “informal portal” with no pretense of objectivity..."
That suggests that the Olympian Times, fully practicing objectivity, provides superior coverage. I've already commented on the issues of objectivity, neutrality, and integrity regarding AY.
The 5/21/07 Blogfest coverage in the Courier-Life chain, headlined Welcome to the ‘bloggiest’ part of town - Development spurs on Bklyn bloggers, managed to ignore No Land Grab and Atlantic Yards Report, which was not the easiest thing to do, given the theme and the role of Atlantic Yards.
Well, the Courier-Life chain is generally sympathetic to Atlantic Yards, so maybe the omissions shouldn't be surprising.
Now, in the Summer issue of Brooklyn!!! (issue not yet online), the tabloid produced by the office of Borough President Marty Markowitz, an article headlined Blogging the Block takes on the same theme, citing the Blogfest and the Brownstoner blog.
There's no mention of Atlantic Yards, but, again, that shouldn't be surprising, given Markowitz's position as prime Atlantic Yards booster.
The article ends with an invitation that curiously endorses a single blogging platform and just might backfire by creating more governmental watchdogs:
If you are interested in starting your own Brooklyn-based blog, you can visit www.blogspot.com and get started! All you need is a computer, a ittle free time, and the desire to share your opinions and "Brooklyn attitude" with readers worldwide.
There's an AY-related term that applies to the phenomenon discussed in this article: "brutally weird."