Archive for the tag ‘media’

The 1733 Sheepshead Bay Road headquarters of the Bay News, after it moved downtown.

News Corp. is looking to sell off its Brooklyn-based newspaper portfolio, a publishing group that includes the Bay News.

The company began quietly seeking out potential buyers for its Community Newspaper Group, the publisher of 11 community weeklies ranging from the Bay News in Southern Brooklyn to the Brooklyn Paper downtown, as well as papers in Queens and the Bronx, reports Capital New York.

Sources could not tell Capital whether the operation is profitable, but did note that circulation stands at 250,000 across its 11 titles and there has been a steep drop in classified advertising and circulation over the last decade.

News Corp. owns the Wall Street Journal and New York Post, and purchased two newspaper chains in Brooklyn and Queens in 2006, forming CNG. It bought Brooklyn Paper in 2009.

Bay News began in 1945 and, through expansion and acquisition, grew to become the largest weekly community newspaper chain in New York City, known as Courier-Life Publications, with the Bay News as its flagship paper.

Bay News celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2010 with a special edition issue. In self-congratulatory pieces penned by the newly-installed editors from Staten Island and the Bronx, they boasted of their accomplishments and noted, “We’ll be around forever” and “We’ve always been the big cheese around here, well before blogs and their like were on the horizon.”

Yet, just one year earlier, the company vacated its 1733 Sheepshead Bay Road headquarters and moved to the MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn.

And two years after that declaration, executives at the company consolidated several of its Southern Brooklyn publications, including the Bay News, Bay Ridge Courier, Kings Courier and Flatbush Life, into a single weekly edition that represented an overall cut in circulation.

News Corp. declined to comment to Capital on the decision to sell. Capital notes that the June resignation of Senior Vice President Les Goodstein, who had been running CNG, indicates it has been in the works for “some time.”

Author Paul Moses. Source: Random House, Inc.

As part of the Turkish Cultural Center Brooklyn’s (TCC Brooklyn) “Media Talks” series, the Amity School will host Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Marine Park resident Paul Moses, who will discuss “How to Build a Career in Media,” Monday, February 4 at 3:00 p.m. The discussion will be held inside the Amity School, 3867 Shore Parkway between Brigham Street and Knapp Street, right off the Belt Parkway.

If Moses’ name rings a bell, that’s because, in the days following Superstorm Sandy, the teacher of journalism at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism submitted to us his first local reporting piece in decades, about hard-hit Gerritsen Beach being virtually ignored both in their recovery efforts and by much of the mainstream media.

To learn more about Moses and the event, click here. RSVP by emailing [email protected].

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.

A typical street scene in Sheepshead Bay. Nope, no culture here. Photo by Boris Shekhman

Here is the sort of thing that sticks in my craw, and I think it should chap the behinds of all artists, photographers, writers, restaurateurs, merchants, activists, and Southern Brooklynites, in general, who are imbued with a modicum of civic pride (as they damn well should be!).

It doesn’t take long to figure out what is so very wrong about L Magazine’s “Brooklyn Neighborhood Power Rankings.” What a hunk of rotten baloney. Okay, let me take that back, because as one of the purveyors of “news” around here, I should let all of Sheepshead Bites’ readers form their own opinions on the matter, but here are the facts (as I see them): L Magazine selected 12 neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn to give gold stars to, using a very suspect criteria “scientific approach.”

Keep reading for the rundown… and our complaints.

The photo that started it all.

Since Sheepshead Bites staffers have been barred from attending the Russian Dolls premiere party at Rasputin (I wonder why), we decided to have a little fun ourselves.

Sheepshead Bites has teamed up with Beer Saloon – the bar closest in proximity to Rasputin – to throw an impromptu premiere party. And, no, it’s not necessarily to celebrate this bit of horrific television programming – it’s more to get together, have some fun and bounce reactions off one another.

After all, why would we celebrate a show that the New York Times reviewed by saying, “If the Soviet authorities had wanted to torture Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn beyond endurance, they would have forced him to watch ‘Russian Dolls.’” Oof, that’s got to sting.

Well, good or bad, revolting or alluring – we’re packing into Beer Saloon to enjoy the show on their numerous big screen TVs.

And to help numb the pain of watching the show, Beer Saloon is offering our readers a buy-one-get-one-free draft beer special.

So come on down and raise a glass of one of Beer Saloon’s many premium draft choices as we watch the television apocalypse unfold before our eyes!

Festivities begin at 9:30 p.m. There is no cost for admission. Must be 21+.

Beer Saloon is located at 1188 Gravesend Neck Road, corner of Sheepshead Bay Road. In addition to beverages, Beer Saloon has a full dinner menu.

(FYI: Beer Saloon is a SMALL place. First come, first serve!)

Ari KaganNow that we’ve got our first real glimpse of Russian Dolls, the new Brighton Beach-based reality show to air on Lifetime, it was just a matter of time until the reviews came in from Russian leaders. After we published the video on Friday, Ari Kagan – whose credentials in the Russian-speaking community include a journalism career, a one-time candidacy for the State Assembly, being the current liaison to the Russian-speaking community for Comptroller Liu, and a rumored contender for Michael Nelson’s City Council seat – sent us the following note condemning the show:

There is no question in my mind that the Russian Dolls series will depict the Russian-speaking community in a distorted way, as a caricature, as a joke. Lifetime does not care about the thousands of great, beautiful, funny, smart and hard-working young Russian speaking women who attend colleges and universities, make money as paralegals, librarians, nurses, journalists and computer specialists. They are great daughters, sisters, wives and mothers. They don’t spend most of their time in nightclubs, bars or lounges. They don’t speak this dirty language and they hate vodka.

Of course, we do have our own bad apples, low lives and criminals, but they constitute a minority in the Russian speaking community. Lifetime wants to create a lot of fun and entertainment by throwing the reputation of Russian-speaking New Yorkers under the bus.

It looks like Kagan is throwing his lot in with John Lisyanskiy, who condemned the show’s title as synonymous with prostitution, and who authored a letter to Lifetime expressing concerns that the channel will be “reducing would-be contestants to vodka-drinking ethnic caricatures who ‘love attention’ and do little more than ‘eat, drink and party.’” Lisyanskiy is the founder of the Russian-Speaking American Leadership Caucus, and the letter was co-signed by 42 elected politicians and Russian-speaking activists.

We have a feeling, as the show gets closer to its August 11 premiere, Kagan won’t be the last voice we hear from.

Sheepshead Bites has snagged the first publicly-available look at Russian Dolls, the new Brighton Beach-based reality show that will air on Lifetime on August 11 at 10:30 p.m.

Lifetime says the show, which had the working title Brighton Beach, provides a “rare and entertaining look at Brighton Beach’s colorful multi-generational families whose dramas and dreams contend with their Russian heritage while living in this famous, alluring, vibrant and highly protective community.”

The series, originally pitched as the Russian response to the MTV hit Jersey Shore, continues to fuel chatter throughout the neighborhood, with some Russian-American leaders excited for the spotlight, and others worried about a poor depiction of the Russian community based on stereotypes. Everything from the name – a term for prostitutes – to some of the people it revolves around, has been criticized. Sheepshead Bites was the first news outlet to reveal a Brighton Beach reality show was in the works, breaking the story in February 2010.

We’ve been asked not to give too many details about the show away – and, yes, we’ve seen full character bios and episode synopses – but we will tell you that it focuses on eight local Russian-Americans.

And we’ve got the character rundown after the jump.

Photo by Allan B.

We’ve been receiving a lot of complaints this year about the filth left behind by crowds on our public beaches. Cigarette butts and broken glass mingle in the sand, beer cans and fast food wrappers float along the waters, and the boardwalks – oh, the boardwalks! – have almost as much garbage as people.

That is a problem, and if the city can’t afford to clean it up, they should at least be pushing a proper public awareness campaign to leave with what you came with, as some of us classier folk were taught as children. But that’s not the problem we’re talking about today when we talk about dirty beaches. We’re talking about the water, and pollution from sewage and runoff.

A new report issued last week by the Natural Resources Defense Council suggests our beachwaters are contaminated with bacteria that can cause dysentery, hepatitis and pink eye, among other gross-out conditions. The report sparks off some alarmist coverage by our colleagues over at the Brooklyn Paper and Metro, who portrayed Brooklyn’s beaches as cesspools. But things may not be as bad as they appear.

Continue Reading »

Michael Levitis Marina Levitis Rasputin Brighton Beach Show

Michael and Marina Levitis, two of Russian Dolls' stars (Source: James Edstrom)

Lifetime’s newest show, the Brighton Beach-themed reality series Russian Dolls, is taking another round of flack as Russian leaders zero in on the new title, saying it’s synonymous with one of their community’s bugaboos: escort services.

You might be more familiar with the show’s working title, Brighton Beach, which was originally conceived as a Russian-American response to MTV’s Jersey Shore. The concept was eventually rejected by MTV and picked up by Lifetime. First, some Russian leaders expressed concern the show might depict the community as a bunch of opulent, vodka-swilling party animals. Others defended Lifetime, taking at face value the A&E-owned network’s assertion that it would be a “multigenerational cast … [chronicling] several colorful families, with the show’s action centered on a popular local nightclub.” And their faith stayed firm after Sheepshead Bites revealed that the show would focus on the family of Rasputin owner Michael Levitis, who was recently caught up in an FBI probe allegedly acting as a middleman in a bribery scheme involving State Senator Carl Kruger.

But the name may be beyond the pale. “Russian Dolls” is a term frequently used to advertise Russian escort services and prostitution fronts, a detail not overlooked by the community’s leaders.

“It’s the most ugly name I’ve ever heard,” said Raisa Chernina, director of the Be Proud Foundation, a non-profit with roots in the Russian-American community. “The name speaks for itself. Russian Dolls is a very polite way of saying escorts.”

“They told me it was Russian Dolls and I said ‘My God.’ It’s like those Danielle Steel books,” Chernina added.

Russian Dolls: How are other Russian-American leaders reacting? Pretty much the same way. Keep reading.


Time Out New York is out with it’s annual cheap eats issue, and once again, there’s no love for the restaurants of Southern Brooklyn. This Manhattan-centric rag only mentions one restaurant that barely qualifies as being in our part of the world; Di Fara Pizza (1424 Avenue J) in Midwood. Take a look…

Read why we think hipsters – and publications like Time Out – have destroyed Di Fara’s.

Next »