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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Foiled by BronxNet

Last night, Jordan Moss and Dart Westphal of Norwood News and the nascent Bronx News Network were Gary Axelbank's guests on his BronxTalk show. I called in and got cut off by a kind of high-pitched wheeze from the TV studio. So here's what I was going to say.

I wanted to congratulate all of them on adding Gary's video commentary to this site, but I also wanted to respond to Gary's invitation to dissent. He lamented the fact that comments are sparse on sites like this, and said he thought that was a sign that people were less engaged than he could wish, especially when it comes to creating their own agendas for change, rather than reacting to the agendas of others. Dart and Jordan seemed to agree. I don't.

Interactivity is good, but activity is better, and I think our community newspapers and websites and shows like Gary's have helped people to be active in pressing for positive change, as well as resisting change they see as negative.

The Norwood News, Mount Hope Monitor, Highbridge Horizon, Hunts Point Express, and Riverdale Press let people know that they're not alone, that their neighbors share their concerns. And they let them know where they can gather and what they can do to make their neighborhoods and our democracy stronger.

You can't measure that by counting, the way you can measure comments, but I'm sure we've had that impact and will continue to as we grow.

Bernard L. Stein
Editor, The Hunts Point Express (and the soon-to-be-born Mott Haven Herald)


  1. I appreciate Buddy's watching BronxTalk and his comments here, but I must respectfully disagree.

    While I think, yes, local Bronx media has been invaluable at providing a voice and facilitating social change, this has been an oppressive era in the Bronx and the paucity of phone calls into Bronx television and overall lack of responsiveness on Bronx blogs is an indication of it. Things are happening in people's neoighborhoods that they don't like and, true or not, they feel powerless to change them.

    Interesting that a recent Times article about local blogs didn't include anything from the Bronx but talked about fertile discussions in other boroughs.

    People are afraid to dissent, or more to the point, they have no confidence that their dissent will lead to anything. Let's face it, by and large, their elected leaders don't speak out and stand up for them or for causes (e.g. where is the outrage over the Yankee Staidum and filtration boondoggles?), and many are afraid that if they do step out, there will be consequeneces from higher authorities who will hold and leverage grudges. I know about this first hand: I was threatened over my outspokeness over the filtration plant by the elected leaders of this borough and there is sufficient evidence that BronxTalk AM was ended as a result of my advocacy on that and other issues.

    I have a lot to say on this, but I won't write more at this point, because it's going to be fodder for future GAX in the Bronx Commentary on this very web site!

    Hey, fellow Bronxites, what do YOU think?

  2. To be active on the blog or any other forums one needs time.
    People in the Bronx like people everywhere, can see clearly and understand what goes on around them. After working long hours to pay the bills there is no time or energy left for anything else.

  3. i agree with you 100%. unfortunately, this is one of the causes/effects of the oppression i was referring to. why support empowerment when it could conflict with your own influence and power?

    i used to not believe it, but there is evidence all around us that this is the agenda of local leaders. for example, look at the daily news today about lack of heat in bronx buildings and a bronx landlord who is abusing his tenants. this is an epidemic throughout the bronx and has been for years. where is the outraqe, even belatedly, from our leaders to insist "never again"?

  4. I second Bernard's call for quality over quantity and add to it my hopes that the Bronx News Network will meet the endless need for solid reporting to counter the current Internet news model that favors an endless stream of opinion and diatribe.

  5. well, i hope you'll continue to avail yourself of the opportunity to say what you think about important issues on this blog.


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