Why isn't anybody covering me?
Nov 14, 2017 | 534 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Community journalism has been front and center lately with news of the collapse of the website DNAinfo and Gothamist, shuttered by a fickle publisher with an eye on the bottom line.

Picking up the thread but missing the point was Councilman Rory Lancman of Queens, who wrote an op-ed for the Daily News that local journalism should be funded by some other means than the current capitalist market place, suggesting that city government take over the responsibility of supporting local news organizations.

Lancman argues that what was once a fertile crop of local analytical community coverage by the city's daily newspapers has been degraded to a rundown of local politics with a decidedly City Hall narrative.

What about us? Does Lancman thinks the 50 or so community-based weekly and ethnic newspapers like ours don't exist anymore?

Lancman supports his argument with the fact that New York City used to own and fully fund WNYC until the Giuliani administration. Lancman argues that support never compromised that outlet's fierce independent reporting, so why can’t the city get back in the business of funding journalism?

Does Lancman think that just because the web-only DNAinfo and Gothamist sites, the newer forms of community journalism, went out of business last week that there is still no on-the-street, beat reporting going on across the five boroughs?

But hey, we like Lancman's idea, why not fund community journalism with your taxpayer dollars? (Not that we've ever asked for a handout.)

Maybe we can take some of the money that Lancman and the other 50 or so council members spend on crafting and sending press releases to our inbox with their City Hall-based narratives.

Roll call

Conspicuously absent from last week's Community Board 5 meeting was Councilwoman Liz Crowley.

Community Board 5 meetings are typically a who’s-who of legislators and their representatives, not just at the very local level but from across the city, concerned residents and community journalists covering the district's news.

The meeting last Wednesday was attended by nearly every politician imaginable; even a representative of the wife of the mayor was there to speak. Crowley has sent a representative to every meeting for eight years.

Of course, many couldn't help but speculate that her absence had something (everything?) to do with her recent apparent defeat in her re-election bid at the hands of Bob Holden.

But the results the day after Election Day – the date of the meeting - had her less than 200 votes down to Holden with hundreds of absentee ballots left to count. Plus, she still technically has a couple of months left on the job, loss or no loss.

Although, given the fact that Bob Holden is also a member of Community Board 5, perhaps Crowley was just taking the high road and refusing to disrupt the meeting by attending, and not just smarting over her loss.

We'll give her the benefit of the doubt.

Dem in disguise

Speaking of Holden...the day after the election, we heard some analysis of the results of local races on WNYC (see above) that tried to equate Holden's apparent victory with a seismic power shift in the City Council, as the Republicans gained a seat.

Even if the “Republican” Holden holds on to his slim lead, the number of GOP members in the City Council will rise from three to four out of 51 seats. They are hardly closing in on a majority there.

But given that Holden ran on the Republican line as a matter of expediency rather than ideology – he openly discusses voting for Bernie Sanders and sent a letter to voters before the Democratic Primary, in which he also ran, professing his lifelong devotion to Democratic Party ideals – it's hardly a win for Queens County Republicans or city Republicans as a whole.

As a matter of fact, it shows just how far the Queens County Republican Party has fallen. A party that in the past could find, run and elect its own candidates, from the city to the federal level, now has to comb the defeated pile of the Democratic Primary for someone to take its line on the ballot.
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