Thursday, March 26, 2009

Brooklyn Paper Already Showing Signs Of Murdoch-ness

Only two weeks ago, the storied Brooklyn Paper was sold off to News Corp after several decades as an independent newspaper covering the borough. The immediate worry was that the coverage would shift towards something more favorable to the conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch. BP's executive staff claimed the contrary position. Now only time can tell how the paper will change...or not but apparently the beginnings of that change are already evident before the month is out.

From The NY Times:

“The Brooklyn Paper’s always had a very independent feel, and we’ve been told to continue that feel,” said Mr. Kuntzman, whose paper is peppered with playful headlines with exclamation points. “We’re a scrappy paper. We always have been; we always will be.”

Some media-vigilant Brooklynites are skeptical. For example, while The Brooklyn Paper has been generally critical of the controversial Atlantic Yards development project, other News Corporation publications, such as The New York Post, have supported it.

“I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that The Brooklyn Paper’s news coverage of Atlantic Yards will diminish somewhat (as it already has), and its editorial criticism will diminish even more,” wrote Norman Oder, a critic of the development, on his blog Atlantic Yards Report.

The paper’s employees will leave their Dumbo office and join Courier-Life in an office in Downtown Brooklyn that is owned, as Mr. Oder noted, by the Atlantic Yards’ developer, Forest City Ratner Companies.
Atlantic Yards is just one issue in Brooklyn, but it is an important one. It is a battle between rich developers and those that wish to make sure the borough is developed, but not destroyed. This is an indicator of who the Brooklyn Paper will speak up for and sadly, the signs of who they will go with are ominous. This means that it will be up to what is left of the independent voices in the area, such as Atlantic Yards Report, No Land Grab and Develop, Don't Destroy to do the reporting that the News Corp. empire is unwilling to commit to.