Going back before the Civil War, and up to the 1950s, Brooklyn boasted
of having some of the finest newspapers published in this country,
many of which also had great national influence. The major newspapers
that will be discussed in this paper will be the Brooklyn Eagle,
the Brooklyn Evening Star, the Brooklyn Times, the Brooklyn
Citizen, and the Brooklyn Standard Union.
This paper will outline the role of how Brooklyn's newspapers affected
Brooklynites' pride in their community, and how the papers helped
to promote the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. As the paper will
give an historical overview of the newspapers of Brooklyn, it will
relate such stories as how Walt Whitman, America's most controversial
poet, became Editor of the Eagle. The political agendas of
Brooklyn newspapers will be analyzed, such as how the Standard
Union was ensnarled in New York City politics with Tammy Hall,
and how the Eagle was largely responsible for the resignation
of Mayor William O¹Dwyer.
This paper will also discuss how Brooklyn's newspapers became a showcase
of liberalism and conservatism, a working paradigm of modern American
democracy. It will relate such fights as the consolidation with Manhattan,
as "the great mistake" a many Brooklyn newspapers called it, in their
attempt to preserve their own distinct city.
More contemporary issues relative to Brooklyn's newspapers will be
discussed, such as the beautification program of planting Brooklyn's
official flower, the forsythia, all over the borough; and the virtual
editorial deification of the 1953 Dodgers -Yankees World Series of
Brooklyn's newspapers prospered for years, but began to fail when
they refused to recognize, or acknowledge, the changing demographics
of the borough. Nevertheless, the impact of Brooklyn's newspapers
in shaping the identity of the growth and personality of the borough,
for well over one hundred years, was profound.
While discussing the history of Brooklyn's newspapers, the paper will
also analyze and explain the influence of those newspapers on Brooklyn¹s
separateness, and how they did, and did not, compete with Manhattan's
dailies. How was Brooklyn's ambivalence toward Manhattan reflected
in its newspapers? How did Brooklyn's newspapers remain apart from
the mainstream journalism of its sister city across the East River?
This paper will attempt to answer some of these questions, while showing
examples of stories, headlines, political cartoons and photographs
culled from archival material.