Bay News: Thou Doth Protest Too Much

Happy birthday, Bay News! You’re 65!

But you knew that. After all, you recently released a pile of dead tree to pat yourself on the back, jam-packed with indefatigable praise of your own accomplishments.

And you deserve it, too. From your humble beginnings as a paper for servicemen, to your development into a Brooklyn-wide chain, and your eventual snowballing with one of the world’s largest media conglomerates (Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, owner of such paragons of journalism as the NY Post and Fox News) – you’ve come a long way.

But could you be nearing the end of the line?

I don’t think so, personally. At least not any time soon. But I have to say, your little self-congratulatory blurb was riddled with such passive-aggressive nattering against this newfangled interweb that I have to wonder if you guys are getting a little worried. Just, you know, a little. Maybe.

I mean, the whole “We’ll be around forever” thing sounded a little desperate. Like you’re responding to some imagined Greek chorus that’s been foreshadowing your death for some time. And your swing at blogs – well, why would you even bring it up? No one else did…

Just take a look at this:

Whoa, man. Settle down. The lady doth protest too much, methinks. No one was saying you wouldn’t stick around for decades to come. I mean, there’s always a place for news reports to be published a week after the incident occurred. At least you got around to it, right?

But, hey, you’re getting older and this isn’t about me or blogs or anything other than the great job you’ve been doing all these years. It’s all about you. But it’s funny how age works, and how through compromise, stubbornness or worse, one eventually becomes that which you once decried.

I mean, how else do you explain this?

Amen, brother. It’s like we’re allies in a battle against those “more prominent news outlets.” At least that’s what I thought until I flipped to pages 30, 32 and 36 – where you reported on stories that first appeared on Sheepshead Bites (one of them months before). I’ll give you some credit, though: you published one of those stories twice under different headlines, so it really only counts as two stories, not three.

Maybe it was just a little coincidence, Bay News. But the chatter among Brooklyn’s local bloggers is that Courier-Life is a poacher. Instead of sending out your paid reporters to dig up stories, you take leads – uncredited – from local bloggers and rewrite the story with a fresh quote. I’m not saying it, you know. It’s just the chatter I’m hearing.

I guess what I’m trying to say, Bay News, is happy birthday. I know aging can be rough – especially as you move more slowly while the world moves more quickly. It takes a very special kind of publication to continue to grow old in this digital era, but you’ve got a very special breed of people getting you there.

Really, if there’s anything that sums up what I’m trying to say to you, it’s best captured by this quote from novelist Jean Rhys: “Age seldom arrives smoothly or quickly. It’s more often a succession of jerks.”

Here’s to many more jerks, Bay News. Happy Birthday.