Dear BK Readers,
I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me– fourteen months, to be exact.
The reason is that my attention has remained focused squarely on BK Reader's recovery following the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When most people think of "small businesses" and "essential businesses," local newspapers typically aren't what come to mind. But the truth is, we-- BK Reader and all local newspapers, that is-- are both!
And so, like many of the local small businesses in Brooklyn trying to pick up the pieces behind the pandemic, BK Reader has had a few of its own wounds to lick. Like other essential workers that had to keep going while others quarantined, we were scrambling to remain solvent while continually bringing you, our readers, news and reported stories on the community Every. Single. Day.
It hasn’t been easy. In fact, there were more times than I can count when I began preparing a "Dear Abby" letter. However, I can say with confidence that we are recovering and we are growing stronger than before COVID.
Still, there’s no denying that the events of the last three years have shaken us all. The pandemic set in motion enormous shifts in the way we work; in the way we view our work against quality-of-life factors; and most importantly, in the way we, also as consumers, spend.
For this reason, beginning now and for the next three months, BK Reader will be running a series of stories that examine the state of small businesses in Brooklyn. Why small businesses? Because small businesses are the backbone of any local economy, playing a critical role in job creation, in driving innovation, and in building strong and sustainable communities.
Look for our stories on the state of small businesses in Brooklyn via:
1. A media partnership with BRIC. Start with this Spotlight story highlighting the latest season of “Brooklyn, USA” — a podcast that takes an in-depth look at the past, present and future of work and the labor movement in Brooklyn and New York at large. Each of the six episodes — presented as an audio podcast and a YouTube video playlist — discuss a different facet of labor in Brooklyn, ranging from how the pandemic changed the local landscape of the labor movement to what happens when a hobby becomes a full-time job.
2. A special investigative series led by two of BK Reader’s journalists, Jessy Edwards and Thao Nguyen, both of whom are the recipients of The Center for Community Media at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism’s Small Business Reporting Fellowship. Through this fellowship, they will survey the challenges and successes of community-owned businesses in the region, including examining how local restaurants are now faring post-COVID; the role of crowdfunding for ailing businesses; legislative changes around home sharing businesses like Airbnb; how local residents are making their way in the exploding gig economy and more!
All of this quality reporting is coming now! I hope you will tune in and share the information with your friends and neighbors, as we work to nurture our small businesses back to health.
Only by staying connected and informed can we learn from each other's experiences, address what is ailing us, celebrate our successes, and ultimately, overcome any challenge now and in the future.
C. Zawadi Morris, Founder and Publisher