Archive for the 'Site News' Category

Sheepshead Bites has done quite a bit in the last four years, and now we’re being asked to list some of our greatest victories.

As an award-winning news outlet and recognized leader in the rise of hyperlocal online news publications sprouting across the nation, Sheepshead Bites is taking its mission one step further, being one of the founding members of a soon-to-be-announced national trade association to serve the interests of publishers like us, to help create journalism jobs, and strengthen a struggling industry.

Part of that requires telling the stories of our victories, educating the public, other media and potential colleagues about the great work that can be accomplished through outlets like ours. And so the trade association is putting together what we’ve begun to call our “Book of Awesome.”

The association leadership has asked us to submit a handful of examples where our reporting has helped make a difference. In turn, we’re asking you: how has Sheepshead Bites helped improve your life or your community?

Very often, when we meet our readers, we get a “Thanks a lot for your great coverage of ________. It really helped me!”

That’s what we want to hear. There’s a stand-out moment for just about every reader where our coverage surpassed all others and helped you, your family or your business. Share that moment with us, so we can share it with the world.


Several times over the past four years we have publicly raised the idea of more closely moderating our comments section. The issue always generated discussion, and the feedback has helped guide our actions. However, the site has grown to be so large that the number of problematic comments has gotten out of hand, and we’ve heard repeatedly from readers that they chose not to engage in discussion because of the unsavory tone our comments section sometimes takes.

That’s a problem. It might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s clear that taking a hands-off role in commenting is actually creating a chilling effect on the conversation.

So, in the last few months, we’ve been deleting and banning with a heavier hand, and taking note to ourselves what it is about those comments that we find unacceptable. From those notes, we’ve developed a list of broad themes. Before we add them to the template, we thought it only fair to put them up for discussion here. Tell us what you think.

Comment policy:

Sheepshead Bites is intended to be a tool to find and discuss local information. Commenting is moderated to ensure that all comments are constructive and fair. While negative comments are allowed, this is not a forum to indiscriminately bash Sheepshead Bites, other readers, local businesses or public persons. Therefore, the following policies have been implemented:

  • Comments should be relevant to the post’s contents.
  • Critical comments should be specific, relevant and constructive.
  • No personal attacks, either to businesses, agencies or people discussed above or to other commenters, are allowed under any circumstance.
  • Intolerant comments against a person or group’s race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender or age will be removed.
  • Removal and/or banning is at our discretion. If you disagree with a comment’s removal, you may e-mail us directly using the contact button at the top of this page. However, we will not engage in a debate about our terms in the comments section.
  • Any violation of the rules above may lead to the user being permanently banned.

A Merry Christmas To You…

Photo courtesy of the Brian Merlis Collection /

Sheepshead Bites wishes our readers a truly Merry Christmas, and a joyous season’s greetings.

As a side note, the site will have a lighter-than-usual publishing schedule between Christmas and New Year’s.

Be well, be warm, be happy.

Our planned site maintenance appears to have gone well. We’ve still got a lot of back-end tweaking to do today to ensure the best experience possible for you readers, so we’re going to focus on that.

If you see anything acting strangely – broken links, missing images or gremlins crawling out of your computer screen – please e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com and let me know.

While I’m taking the time to make this post, I’d also like to give an ENORMOUS thank you to Ilan Patao of Ilan, a longtime reader of Sheepshead Bites, offered to help us out with the switch. He came into the office and guided us through the entire process. Without his help, I’d probably be curled up in a dark corner, crying and sucking my thumb while my server burst into flames.

Thanks again for your patience as we make this transition. Here’s your Monday heap o’ open thread.

UPDATE: Speaking of back-end tweaking, it looks like Disqus isn’t a fan of our new configuration. It appears I may not be able to get this resolved so quickly, and new posts may not immediately allow commenting. We’re working hard to figure it out.  Fixed!!

Sheepshead Bites and Bensonhurst Bean will be undergoing technical upgrades over the holiday weekend. Most readers should not see any change in their browser, but in some cases, or in the occasion that we hit an unexpected bump, the site may go down at intervals throughout the holiday weekend.

The updates involve moving our files and databases to faster systers with upgraded technology and higher capacity. For readers this should mean a faster browsing experience and swifter navigation of the site’s pages, delivering a better user experience overall. However, we will not be updating over the three-day holiday weekend. In the event that we need to report breaking news, we will do so using the various other platforms that carry our content. Please be sure to subscribe to one or all of the following to keep informed as we make our transition:

Sheepshead Bites:

Bensonhurst Bean:

We appreciate your patience during this downtime. Thanks for reading, and supporting local independent online news. We’ll see you Tuesday!


This is getting to be an old story for me. The rare trip out of town, the uncommon unplugged weekend, the incommunicado expeditions. I can count on one hand how often this happens. One hand that’s been mauled by a bear.

But when it does happen there’s always a slew of big stories that, of course, wouldn’t have happened on any weekend I was here. This time it was a shooting death, a major fire, and a car versus building. Two of the three we now have stories published, but they didn’t come with the usual flurry of breaking updates and on-the-scene observations that Sheepshead Bites excels at. For that, I apologize. But everyone needs a break, right?

There is, of course, a way you can help. We did receive e-mails from readers, almost all with a link to a news story or a one-line tip that read, say, “Mad fire at East 21st St.” This is a big help, but not when I have no connection to e-mail. That’s why we’ve created a dedicated tips e-mail address that will forward the tip to multiple Sheepshead Bites writers, allowing us to get information out there faster.

Please save tips [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com to your contact books and in your phones. You can – and should – send text, video and photos via e-mail or text messaging to this address.

That said, while any information is helpful, more is more. Snap photos with your cell phones, and e-mail us descriptions of the scene. Don’t just tell us there’s a fire, tell us that the fire has drawn four firetrucks, and that the smoke is choking the streets. Tell us what roads are closed off, or where police are gathering at the scene of crime. Let us know how people are reacting, and if the situation poses an inconvenience or danger to others in the community. That kind of information allows us to get a story out even faster, keeping other readers informed about neighborhood conditions, and allowing them to act accordingly.

Tips [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com. Save it. Now.

Screw the race for the 9th Congressional District; the real vote worth watching this week was CBS New York’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards. And guess who pulled off a stunning upset there? That’s right, Sheepshead Bites. Boom, baby!

Sheepshead Bites beat out Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, Livingfreenyc, New York Places No More, Scouting New York and Second Ave. Sagas for the Editor’s Choice award in Local Affairs. No, we didn’t win the people’s vote – that went to Joe.My.God – but that’s okay with us. We’re more than happy to have been given the recognition by a group of editors over at CBS, though winning the popular vote sure would’ve been a nice touch.

Thanks to everyone who voted for us, thanks to our tipsters, and especially thanks to my colleagues, the hard-working team behind Sheepshead Bites and Bensonhurst Bean.

Sheepshead Bites wishes everyone a  happy, healthy Labor Day. We’re going to take it easy ourselves and catch up on some behind-the-scenes work. We hope you use the day to get some rest or do whatever it is you enjoy doing.

Here’s an open thread to keep you busy. And, as always, if any breaking news comes up we’ll be on it.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the day.

CBS affiliates around the nation are holding “Most Valuable Blogger” competitions in their local markets, and Sheepshead Bites has found itself a finalist in New York’s Local Affairs category!

We’re not sure who nominated us, and we only found out from another contender that we were in it, but we sure do appreciate the recognition. And making the cut to be a finalist is a pretty big honor as is…

Aww, who are we kiddin’? We want to win!

Let’s show these other bloggers who’s boss and vote the hell out of this contest, Biters. You can vote up to once per day per category, meaning you can check back in tomorrow and vote again (and the day after that, and the day after that…). Then share that link with your friends and tell them to do the same.

Winning this contest will be another reminder to the city media that Sheepshead Bay has a voice, so let’s dominate.

And, hey, if we win we’ll have a party or somethin’.


Thanks to all who came out on Friday for Sheepshead Bites Night at MCU Park (a.k.a. Cyclones stadium). Sure, the game itself got rained out (allowing you to enjoy another game at the park any time between now and August 19, 2012 – contact MCU Park for details), but we still had a great time.

Not only did we get to do most of our on-field presentation, in which we had the spectacular students from Covenant Ballet Theater of Brooklyn Dance Academy give an enjoyable pre-game show, as well as honoring St. Mark Catholic Church on their 150th Anniversary with a certificate of appreciation – but we also got to meet tons of readers on the mezzanine. In a way, we actually liked that the game was rained out; it meant throngs of fans came to wile the hours away at the Sheepshead Bites table. Sayin’ hello and sippin’ beers: that’s what it’s all about.

Keep reading and view the photo gallery.

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