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Sign of the times: Forest City Ratner buys welcome ad in the Brooklyn Paper

This week, Forest City Ratner welcomed its new tenant, the Community Newspaper Group of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, to its new office at MetroTech.

The Courier-Life chain was well on its way; now that the Brooklyn Paper has joined Murdoch's fold, the landlord ran a full-page ad (above; click to enlarge) on the back page of this week's Brooklyn Paper, as well as an ad in the Courier-Life.

It's the first Forest City Ratner advertisement in the Brooklyn Paper in recent years, at least as far as I remember. The developer has been happy to advertise in the Courier-Life, however.

Will the developer keep advertising in those papers? Will that advertising have any influence on the editorial pages or even news coverage?

We'll see, but I did speculate that the Brooklyn Paper's news coverage of Atlantic Yards will diminish somewhat (as it already has), and its editorial criticism will diminish even more.

The Brooklyn Bridge

As a commenter notes, the advertisement portrays the Brooklyn Bridge, which happens to be closer to the Brooklyn Paper's longtime DUMBO offices, rather than the generic MetroTech office park.

Then again, Forest City Ratner has not been shy about appropriating Brooklyn Bridge iconography in advertising, as in this ad in the Courier-Life two years ago.

In the Times

In an article in the New York Times's Sunday City section (but already online), headlined A Scrappy Local Paper Ponders Its New Parent, most of the pondering came from skeptics like me, Brooklyn Paper columnist (and OTBKB blogger) Louise Crawford, and Assemblyman Joseph Lentol.

I was quoted:
“I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that The Brooklyn Paper’s news coverage of Atlantic Yards will diminish somewhat (as it already has), and its editorial criticism will diminish even more,” wrote Norman Oder, a critic of the development, on his blog Atlantic Yards Report.

The only pondering from the newspaper was this:
“The Brooklyn Paper’s always had a very independent feel, and we’ve been told to continue that feel,” said Mr. Kuntzman, whose paper is peppered with playful headlines with exclamation points. “We’re a scrappy paper. We always have been; we always will be.”

Well, I don't doubt that the Brooklyn Paper will continue to be playful and clever. However, as I told the Times reporter (in a comment he didn't use), "I highly doubt that the Brooklyn Paper will report on political contributions by the Courier-Life publisher and point out that Borough President Marty Markowitz's promotional Brooklyn!! Publication is published by the Courier-Life."

Nor did Kuntzman or a News Corporation spokesperson explain whether any of the two chains' papers would be consolidated, but the Times noted that the Greenpoint Courier has already been closed, and a former staffer there commented, "“It just doesn’t make sense to have two sets of advertisers and two sets of reporters who cover the same area.”

(Also see Patti Hagan's comment about the production, by Courier-Life staff, of the Brooklyn Tomorrow advertorial that appeared in the Courier-Life and the Post.)


  1. why is it an ad welcoming the brooklyn papers to metrotech(ratnerville) doesnt show he beautiful metrotech campus?

    why does it show the very neighborhood the brooklyn papers is leaving(dumbo)?

  2. Norman:

    Again, a nice synopsis with a solid, fair tone. But I will again urge you that if you have any questions, you can always feel free to call me for comment. Your posts are journalism, not journals; as such, relevant parties should be called for comment.

    Thank you,

    The Brooklyn Paper

  3. I offered Gersh the opportunity to answer my questions in a comment on a previous post. He didn't take that opportunity.

    I'll send some questions directly, and we'll see.

  4. Recall that Ratner bought not just ads, but slick advertorial Ratlantic Yards "magazines" -- in Murdoch's New York Post, then in Murdoch's Brooklyn Courier-Life papers (using Murdoch's own "news reporters").... Next? Ratlantic Yards Magazine debuts,in Murdoch's latest advertorial vehicle,The [late,R.I.P.,fiercely independent] Brooklyn Papers! To be 100% "reported, edited & written" by Murdoch's newest advertorial reporting staff. -- Patti Hagan


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