Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Lopez-Sander dust-up, Ratner lobbying, and the Weinstein case: why so little coverage?

"Society doesn’t need newspapers," wrote Clay Shirky recently. "What we need is journalism."

Muscling the MTA?

While not everyone agrees--newspapers, at their best, offer a menu of coverage a reader might not seek out--Shirky's argument got a boost this week..

That's because the New York Times and New York Post ignored the New York Daily News's scoop that Brooklyn Democratic leader Vito Lopez may have been behind the ouster of generally-respected Metropolitan Transportation Authority Executive Director Elliot (Lee) Sander.

Forest City Ratner lobbying

And what about Forest City Ratner's lobbying? It didn't quite make the Top Ten last year in New York state, but the developer did have the third-largest contract, which is notable, given that no construction proceeded but the developer surely was seeking indirect subsidies (or even direct ones).

That news didn't make it into last week's editions of the Brooklyn Paper or the Courier-Life chain, but that wasn't surprising, given that the news broke at or after those newspapers' deadlines.

What about this week? Nope.

Here's the Brooklyn Paper, which leads with a story about tickets for "rogue bikers." The Courier-Life doesn't put its issues online as a whole, and the articles are generally posted several days after the publication date.

The Weinstein case

An appellate court's decisions in favor of Atlantic Yards footprint landowner Henry Weinstein, who charged that his tenant, developer Shaya Boymelgreen, had improperly transferred a lease (to a building and parking lot) to Forest City Ratner, got a very brief article in the Courier-Life and hasn't yet been covered in the Brooklyn Paper.

I'll have more shortly on the implications of that case.

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