Saturday, November 19, 2005


Brooklyn Standard mystery solved, partly: second issue relies more on Ratner staff

In a previous post, I wondered whether the second issue of Forest City Ratner's deceptive Brooklyn Standard used fake bylines, especially since Managing Editor Tom Allon wouldn't answer any questions about Brigitte Labonte and Kim Last, two bylines on the front page along with a journalist whose name was attached to a story he didn't write.

On Friday, I got a partial answer. During a walkthrough of downtown Brooklyn with Danish urban planner/architect Jan Gehl, two Forest City Ratner employees, Brigitte Labonte and Jeff Rothberg, joined the assembled journalists, urban planners, and civic activists. (FCR was invited.) Both employees have bylines in the second issue of the Standard: Labonte wrote about the "landmark" Community Benefits Agreement signed by Ratner and Rothberg wrote about a basketball camp sponsored by Ratner and the proposed arena, "the heart of Atlantic Yards." (Others might call it a tail wagging a very large dog, given that it would be near the western border of the site and would cover less than ten percent of the total square footage.)

This suggests that Forest City Ratner employees had a greater role in the second issue than the first issue. While Ratner employees are listed as editors in chief of the Brooklyn Standard, Allon and fellow Manhattan Media staffer Edward-Isaac Dovere, listed as the publication's Executive Editor, had two and four bylines, respectively, in the first issue. Neither had a byline in the second issue. Is it because they want to distance themselves from a publication unlike their more legitimate weekly newspapers?

And what of the mysterious Kim Last? The switchboard operator at Forest City Ratner didn't have anyone listed under that name. So that question remains.

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