There is still more to the recent New York Press Association newspaper awards. In New York City, most major daily newspapers miss significant news and political stories from local neighborhoods in the five boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. Weekly newspapers based in Queens such as our own Queens Courier and Courier Sun along with competitors Queens Tribune, Queens Press, Queens Chronicle, Queens Gazette, Queens Examiner, Queens Times, Queens Times Ledger chain, TimesNewsweekly, The Forum and The Wave provide more in depth coverage of Queens.
Manhattan residents have other weeklies including the Strauss News chain, which publishes the Westside Spirit, Our Town, Downtown Our Town and Chelsea Clinton News along with other papers like the Downtown Express, Chelsea Now and The Villager.
Brooklyn residents have the Brooklyn Papers, Courier Life chain, Brooklyn Spectator, Brooklyn Home Reporter and Downtown Star.
Bronx residents have the Bronx Times, Bronx Reporter and Riverdale Press.
Staten Island residents are fortunate to have their own daily newspaper — the Staten Island Advance. Queens residents once had both their own daily Long Island Star Journal and Long Island Press until they went out of business in the 60s and 70s. Brooklyn residents once had their own daily, the Brooklyn Eagle until its demise in the late 50s.
Of the big four daily newspapers, only the New York Daily News weekdays provides several pages of borough based news for Queens, Brooklyn and Bronx readers. They actually commit a number of reporters who cover the local news beat. In addition, they also publish their own weekly Sunday supplemental section. This includes many stories and issues that are covered in one of thier existing affiliated weekly newspapers such as the Bayside Times, Brooklyn Courier or Bronx Times.
The New York Times several years ago eliminated its “City Section” which attempted to cover stories around New York City and the five boroughs. A new Sunday “Metropolitan Regional Section” attempts to cover New York City, Long Island and other Metropolitan communities.
We continue to be fortunate to live in one of the few remaining free societies, with a wealth of information sources available. Sadly, most American cities and suburbs are down to one local daily or weekly newspaper. Newspapers have to deal with increasing costs for newsprint, delivery and distribution along with reduced advertising revenues and declining readership. Queens residents can select from the New York Times, Daily News, Post, Newsday, AM New York and Metro New York along with national editions of USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. There are also all news radio stations and televised national network news as well as local and independent news broadcasts. The Internet is great for late breaking stories. The growing immigrant population support their own newspapers, radio and television stations.
Many of us have a continued thirst for news not only from Washington, Albany and New York City Hall but also neighborhoods and local issues, which impact Queens. Each Queens weekly newspaper has columnists and reporters who follow local politics and issues of the day. All on a weekly basis contribute many news stories not found in the daily newspapers. In many cases, these papers also offer a guest op-ed section for contributions from ordinary local residents along with those from elected officials or government agency commissioners.
All of the various Queens weekly newspapers also provide opportunity and training for reporters. They may move on to work for other city wide weekly newspapers such as the Village Voice or New York Observer or even one of the other daily newspapers.
I continue to be grateful that daily and weekly newspapers, afford me an opportunity to express my views, as well as differing opinions. Thanks to you, ordinary citizens have the freedom to comment on the actions and legislation of elected officials. Public officials use taxpayers dollars to promote their views, via mass mailings of newsletters, news releases, letters to the editor and guest opinion page columns. In many cases, they are produced or written by campaign or office staffers who are paid for by taxpayers. The rest of us have limited time to submit a letter. In the marketplace of ideas, let us hope there continues to be room for everyone, including The Queens Courier and all the other weekly newspapers. They fill a valuable niche in the information highway.
Please join me every week, along with your neighbors in reading your favorite local weekly community newspapers. Patronize their advertisers; they provide the revenues necessary to keep them in business. Let them know you saw their ad. This is what helps keep our neighbors employed and the local economy growing.