Great Hyperlocal Journalism: BK Southie and the IS 278 Fire

I’m going to try a new format for the best hyperlocal journalism of the week posts, in order to focus more closely on one story each week and explain what makes it great. For the week of April 4, I’m choosing “311 is a Joke: City Hotline Useless After Marine Park Fire” by BK Southie, a hyperlocal site that covers a bunch of communities in South Brooklyn. I’m a big fan of BK Southie, because it’s got a strong and pretty consistent voice, even though it’s written by more than one person. The design is simple but attractive — the website’s flag (below) reminds me of the lettering on a baseball jersey.

The story about the Marine Park fire hits on the city’s failure to provide good communication after a fire at a local public school. After the fire at Marine Park IS 278 led to an evacuation and damage to the roof, people had no idea where to go for school the next day. Some parents and teachers who BK Southie’s Arturo Tedesco interviewed were apparently told to go to a different school even though IS 278 was open the day after the fire. Anyway, the piece included some strong reporting and snappy writing:

“To many though, New York City’s 311 system is the telephone equivalent of the ‘walk buttons’ placed on traffic signal poles at crosswalks; a placebo that isn’t wired to do anything except provide an illusion of control.”

Tedesco also posted on concerns about asbestos contamination at the school. And Sheepshead Bites put together some good reporting on the fire too.

We raise a glass to you BK Southie! Keep up the good work.

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