Southern Brooklyn

Video: Pulitzer Prize Winner Says Media’s Hurricane Sandy Coverage Failed Brooklyn, Queens


Paul Moses, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and Marine Park resident, spoke before the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association on Thursday, discussing the media’s lackluster response to Southern Brooklyn’s disaster zones in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

“There’s been some brilliant journalism in recent days, but there was a slow start in reporting the extent of the storm’s impact,” said Moses. “I think it’s fair to say that Southern Brooklyn has gotten relatively little media attention.”

Moses said that the citywide press did some stellar reporting, exemplified by stories about the state’s and city’s role in the gas shortage, the Long Island Power Authority’s failures, and the struggles at city housing projects.

But in the first days after the storm, Moses said there were few stories that focused on Southern Brooklyn and Queens, though the press was quick to report in the immediate aftermath at locations like downtown Manhattan, Red Hook, New Jersey and Staten Island. It wasn’t until several days – and sometimes more than a week – that communities like Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach and Sheepshead Bay found their way into the newspapers.

Frustrated by the problem, Moses decided to do his first local reporting piece in decades, submitting a story to Sheepshead Bites about the trials Gerritsen Beach residents faced in their recovery efforts.

But media should have been on the scene in these neighborhoods immediately after the storm, he said, in order to convey the most important and useful information for victims and those looking to help.

“In a time of disaster, the journalist’s role is to notify the public of impending danger and to give people the vital information they need, and to tell people where the damage is, and to tell the stories of the people who’ve been affected,” said Moses. “Through what we report on, the public at large finds out where the greatest needs are after the disaster and often will respond accordingly.”

“I really found the overall coverage in the first few days disappointing,” Moses added.

Comment policy


  1. “where were we getting our news” ? we got OURS from Sheepshead bites, for real. no one else was letting us know what the heck was happening out here 🙁

  2. I was a hurricane refugee in Atlanta during the storm and Sheepshead Bites was the only place I could go to for news about what was going on. We had the Weather Channel on nearly non-stop and while places like Seaside Heights, Battery Park, Point Pleasant and somewhere in Rhode Island were featured prominently, there was ZERO mention of Southern Brooklyn. Not even Coney Island. Supremely disappointing and more than a little frustrating.

  3. I completely agree! I was stuck in Miami and no major media network covered southern brooklyn. I heard about what happened in Lower Manhattan to no end. It was frustrating because I didn’t know if I was able to return home.

  4. When any topic in the news, or many news blogs addresses something in “Brooklyn”, when a map is included, the entire lower half of the boro is routinely cut out. I have a T-shirt that says “Welcome to the Forbidden Zone – Now go home”. the disdain, and the silence is chronic. And half the reporters on TV can’t pronounce the street names correctly.

  5. This comes as no surprise to this community resident for more than 50 years. Southern and most of Brooklyn are generally ignored by Manhattan-centric major local print and broadcast media outlets unless there’s a major crime or other “if it bleeds it leads”-related story. The latest naturally disaster only emphasized that neglect even though we suffered as much, if not more than most city neighborhoods. If not for Sheepshead Bites and a couple of elected officials, the community would have remained in the dark information-wise longer than some of our neighbors were powerless!

  6. oh Coney was mentioned ALOT but only to report that theere was some looting… nothing about the devastation the hurricane wrought out here, just looting and then back to that Crane on 57th st. that was all I head on the radio. so IF we did manage to get cell power we opened SB first, to see pics and read updates. one night I got on WNYC’s radio show and asked :what happened to Coney, is it still there, is the aquarium ok? is the wonderwheel standing and was told ‘great questions, we dont know” at least they played Mermaid Ave (klezmatics) for me 🙂

  7. Hate to be a contrarian, but compared to prior natural disasters such as Irene, blizzards and the like, southern Brooklyn eventually got its share of coverage this time. Usually, the suburbs of NJ get all the coverage from the nominally-New York city TV stations, including endless reports about NJ Transit and Metro North. When the Q and B get knocked out due to snowfall, it is univerally ignored but when one tree falls on a track across the LIRR or the Scarsdale express it’s the lead story, with additional reportage at Grand Central and/or Penn Station. When was the last time you saw a tv crew at Sheepshead Bay Road? Another villain is Cablevision channel 12, which can’t find southern Bklyn without a GPS. Their worldview is that South of Prospect Park does not exist and I have emailed that to them over the years. So, in sum, I agree with Moses but I think we got more than the usual 0% coverage. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


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