Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Brooklyn Paper and its new Courier-Life sibling: Markowitz, Ratner, and advertising

Earlier this week, I questioned whether the Brooklyn Paper, newly sold to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, would continue to raise questions about political contributions made by Dan Holt, publisher of the now-sibling Courier-Life chain.

[Update March 25: Dan Holt is no longer listed as the Courier-Life publisher; that job goes to Clifford Luster, part of the family of longtime owners, who's listed in the print issue but not the web site. I'm not sure when Holt left, but he and Luster were co-publishers when the chain was sold in September 2006.]

But there's more that we may not be reading about.

The relationship with Markowitz

I also pointed out that the Courier-Life publishes Borough President Marty Markowitz's Brooklyn!! promotional publication. But I didn't point to this 9/25/08 Brooklyn Paper editorial on Markowitz:
For example, Markowitz needs to explain:

• The inner workings of the deal he has with the Courier-Life newspaper chain to publish his “Brooklyn!!” promotional publication. A Brooklyn Paper review discovered that publicity and printing are a huge part of Borough Hall’s discretionary budget — costs that could be a payback to the Courier-Life chain for its consistently positive coverage of Markowitz.


Kowtowing to Ratner

The Brooklyn Paper reported 4/23/05:
Kowtowing to demands by developer Bruce Ratner, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce this week barred the public from an official Chamber function, a luncheon where Ratner’s controversial Atlantic Yards project was discussed.

The event had been advertised for three weeks as “free and open to all businesses” on the Chamber’s web site as well as on postcards sent to the Chamber’s mailing list, which, in addition to Chamber members, included the news media, community board offices and non-members.

In unusual form for the Chamber, which serves to publicize and promote businesses in the borough, the Chamber barred several merchants and residents who have expressed criticism of Ratner’s plan, as well as reporters, from attending the meeting.

“This was not set up to be a debate about the project,” said Randy Pierce, a spokesman for the Chamber. “We knew there wasn’t going to be any new information; that’s why we didn’t invite the press.”

Some local newspaper publishers were invited on the understanding that they would not report on the meeting. The chairman of the Chamber is Dan Holt, co-publisher of the Courier-Life newspaper chain. Holt could not be reached for comment by press time.

Pierce said the meeting was closed to foes of the Ratner plan in order to avoid stirring controversy, and the Chamber had complied with Forest City Ratner’s requests to ban certain community members and business owners from the meeting.

Advertising policies

The Brooklyn Paper, on 5/12/07, also took a shot at the rival chain for its advertising policies:
So far, nine publications have signed on to the pledge, including Time Out New York and Hoy. The New York Post-owned Courier-Life chain continues to publish ads for escort services and massages.

Its publisher, Dan Holt, did not return repeated requests for comment.

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