Southern Brooklyn

Open Thread Mondays: Why Is Local News Important To You?


Last week, I waxed poetic about the importance of local news in building communities, strengthening democracies and supporting economy. I suggested that it’s an oft-forgotten ingredient in the three-part recipe that forms the basic building blocks of American power and stability: local journalism, local government and local economies. Without those foundations, those entry points for understanding a greater system, we find ourselves playing within a house of cards.

But those are a wee slice of my thoughts on the topic. It occurred to me to discuss it after attending a conference with other publishers, in which someone asked if we were effectively conveying the value of our work and the necessity of our outlets’ existence to our readers. Most there, including me, appeared to think that our function and worth was a given; everyone knows why journalism is important, right? And if they know that, of course they know that it should be even more important when it’s local and relevant, right?

Well, I didn’t want to make that assumption. So I’ve explained to you why I think local reporting is important. Why don’t you tell me why you think it’s important, and why you read Sheepshead Bites?

Or, you know, just rant. It’s an open thread, after all.

Comment policy


  1. Local news sadly, and luckily are not influenced by advertisers as much as big news.
    Also, how else can you know whats happening down the block, fox and cnn are busy lying to us about bigger more worthless bullshit to construct the worlds narrative. SHBB is more about our narrative than some bigger picture.

    damn im hungry, in other news, ima get some popeyes! (is the coney island popeyes closed? what are they gonna put there?)

  2. Your column far surpasses what the Bay News has to offer.  Sheepshead Bites covers all of the activity in the Bay which was never accomplished prior to your blog.  Whenever I turn on my computer, your blog is one of the first columns I check to keep me informed.  I especially like the receational events that are reported on which I would know nothing about otherwise.  As for those helicopters the other day, my neighbors were clueless until I told them to check your column.  I never even saw it on channel 12 which is supposed to cover brooklyn.  You do a fabulous job!

  3. We need to separate hyperlocal from local here. As an example as to why, Sheepshead Bay has representation in government but it is not itself a local seat of government. Therefore in covering local government it is of some value to find the hyperlocal aspect.  The expectations when reading hyperlocal news is different. But news outlets should always present what is important as part of its content.

    What all journalism should aspire to do is present not only the news people want to hear, but that which people need to hear. It needs to educate as well inform. It needs to remind us of things that may forget, like how to be safe during a heat wave. It needs to advocate social positive behavior, like reminding people that during a heat wave the older ones among us need some looking after to ensure their health and safety. these are not little things, they may save lives.

    Every day a significant number of read these pages. It becomes a part of their life. The best hyperlocal journalism is that in which the readers become part of the process. In a community as large as Sheepshead Bay total inclusion would be impossible. Luckily most people are sat6isified to allow a small percentage act as their proxies.

  4. I think it’s fairly obvious that local news for the most part is more interesting then national news.   Which brings me to an interesting social website idea which I thought up but will probably never get to execute:

    Basically the way it would work is that you would enter your address and then you would be able to see information about the people who live around you who are also part of the the website.  I think it would be interesting cause in our neighborhoods we see the same people over and over and we are curious about what they do and who they are.  I believe that a site like this would also create stronger community bonds since people would know more about each other instead of remaining nameless faces.  Just think about it, we view someone differently if we know something about them as small as their name.  The network would also be a useful marketing tool for local businesses who can target local residents instead of blindly advertising on radio and TV.

    In a way this would be something that Facebook initially meant to be as a social network for people in the same university.  If anyone is interesting in building it let me know!

  5. What she said. I will add also that the reporting on this blog seems to me to be fair and enlightened as well as being as thorough as possible. I check out a lot of local blogs but this one is the first one I read.

  6. An informed public has the opportunity to make changes. This site has been helpful in not just reporting the news but also in providing links to it’s readers to act on community related issues. Informing people of community and precinct meetings is the way to get residents to participate in their areas.
    Bites does have a reputation that has caught the eye of many officials.

  7. Ned, was that you biking on the belt pkway bike path sunday wearing Bella Abzug’s hat as a helmut?

  8. Where is a Popeye’s on CIA?  The only one I know of is Pennsylvania Avenue (along with white castle, wendy’s, and other gourmet fare.

  9. Church Ave and Uttica Ave both have Popeye’s. Love the rice and beans. On CIA it was a Kentucky fried/somethingelse near KH. 

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