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Community storytelling and investigative journalism from the people who are living the every day of central Brooklyn.
Community storytelling and investigative journalism from the people who are living the every day of central Brooklyn.
Community storytelling and investigative journalism from the people who are living the every day of central Brooklyn.
399 backers pledged $17,646 to help bring this project to life.

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Brooklyn Deep: Reporting Our Truth

$17,646

399

 


History from the Ground Up  

Brooklyn Deep is a digital journalism platform produced by people who have a personal stake in Central Brooklyn. Trained journalists and untrained residents alike publish investigative news, analysis, and data that chronicle neighborhood change in Central Brooklyn and bring transparency to the institution of power. We’ve been around since 2013, but the stories we tell go back decades. 

Don’t live in Brooklyn? Keep reading, there’s more here for you than think.  

Giving a Voice to the Experts: Stories of Central Brooklyn  

Through a combination of civic journalism and storytelling, Brooklyn Deep empowers community members to tell their own story, rather than having it told for them. The result? A platform that champions self-determination and sharing honest, raw experiences in the face of complexity, conflict, and change. 

A lot is happening in Central Brooklyn: as one of the largest historically black urban centers in the United States, it has been an anchor of culture and identity. It is a community that has experienced systemic oppression and countered it with organizing, activism, and thriving neighborhoods. It is home to a rich and deep history – and its present day is in flux.  

Gentrification. Yeah, that word.  

It evokes feelings and reactions in everyone; it’s uncomfortable, it’s complicated, and for some un-addressable. At Brooklyn Deep, we’re addressing it head on.  

Gentrification isn’t some distant, academic concept: it’s a real, living, breathing phenomenon that is changing lives at a rapid pace. At Brooklyn Deep, we are dedicated to exploring the context, texture, and details that go beyond the headlines and dig into the issues in a way that puts the people impacted at the center of the story.

How we’re going after it: Multimedia Storytelling

Deep stories by real people require various tools to paint a full picture. Working with members of the community we want our storytellers to find their voice in the mediums that work for them. As a result, we’ve built a vibrant digital platform that combines written text, photo essays, special projects, and an ongoing podcast series called Third Rail that puts you right in the heart of the matter.

Here are a few examples of what we’ve been up to:

Then & Now – Bedford Corners: Photojournalism and audio project documenting the changes of the neighborhood through the vantage point of an historic intersection
Then & Now – Bedford Corners: Photojournalism and audio project documenting the changes of the neighborhood through the vantage point of an historic intersection
Voices of Crown Heights: An oral history project in collaboration with Brooklyn Historical Society and Weeksville Heritage Center capturing the experiences of local residents
Voices of Crown Heights: An oral history project in collaboration with Brooklyn Historical Society and Weeksville Heritage Center capturing the experiences of local residents
AirBNB Case Study: A deep-dive, data-rich investigative report on AirBNB and gentrification
AirBNB Case Study: A deep-dive, data-rich investigative report on AirBNB and gentrification

 

More Than a Notion: Why We Need Your Help 

Doing this takes resources. Reaching our goal will help us do the following

1) Production: Invest in equipment and editing support to keep publishing our stories. Allows us to pay small stipends to local journalists so they can be paid for their craft.

2) Special Projects: Oral Histories are just the beginning. We want to greenlight a calendar of Special Projects, funded in part by this campaign. This includes Radio Rookies training, a serialized long-form podcast about education, and civic journalism training.

3) Base Building: “I had no idea this existed!” Yeah, we gotta change that. We­ want more people hearing our stories. Brooklyn Deep is free to all, we just need more people to know it exists. Funds from this project will enable us to work on growing our subscriber base and grow the reach of our stories. The more people listening, the bigger the conversation.

Brooklyn and Beyond: Why All Of Us Should Be Paying Attention

Regardless of where you are in the world, Brooklyn Deep represents a new model of local journalism: where communities regain control of their narrative and report on the impact of every day life and the long-term issues that transcend today's latest headline. Too often, mass journalism "parachutes" into our neighborhoods only to report in moments of crisis, portraying a one-dimensional representation of our experience – Brooklyn Deep is changing that, serving as a constant presence in the lives of our neighbors, ready to figure some tough sh*t out and unpack the complexity of us all trying to figure it out, together.

And if you want good journalism, you need to support good journalism: we're not relying on (or pandering to) advertisers to fund our work, we're asking the community to step up and show us that this experiment is worth it; that these stories matter; that reporting our truth has a place in your life.

If you live outside of Brooklyn, our sincerest hope is that you get to know us and explore how you can bring a model like ours to your own hometown – local journalism can make a comeback, and it starts from the ground up. Thank you for paying attention.

Your community. Your choice.
Your community. Your choice.

Featured Rewards

We've got a great lineup (check out the right-hand side of the campaign) and every little bit helps – here are two of our favorites:

The Team Behind Brooklyn Deep

We are also grateful to an extended network of interns, volunteers, and contributing reporters who help make our work at Brooklyn Deep possible.
We are also grateful to an extended network of interns, volunteers, and contributing reporters who help make our work at Brooklyn Deep possible.

 
Special Thanks: To 6th Sense for our campaign video music (with props to De La Soul for original sampling), to Rayo & Honey and Lehna Huie for their powerful art and generosity, and to Jarrett Murphy, Amaka Okechuwu, Alan Smith, Carrie Brown, Anthonine Pierre, and Pat Swann for their time and thoughtful words surrounding this campaign.


Looking for more?

Check out a few of our most recent podcast episodes and get a sense of some of the stories we tell:

 

 

 

Risks and challenges

Our biggest challenge is bandwidth, which is why we're here to begin with: funds from this campaign will enable us to to hire new journalists, but the recruiting process itself takes time and effort as does any subsequent training and editing needed.

Relatedly, the exact timelines of our special projects will depend on our ability to gather source material and gain access to people, places, and information that may take some time. We need runway to follow up on leads, dig deeper, and go where the story takes us.

The good news is, we've got a steady calendar of reliable storytelling through our Third Rail podcast and if we ever have any updates to the special projects listed in this campaign, we'll be sure to communicate that with our community through the podcast or our social media channels.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 15 or more About $15

    A BkDeep Thank You

    Every little bit helps. You have our deepest thanks and we really appreciate you chipping in. You'll receive updates on our progress along with a big digital Thank You email at the end of the campaign.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About $25

    Brooklyn Deep Community Wall Engraving

    The success of Brooklyn Deep is fueled by the support of our community – and we'll have that as a daily reminder in our offices with the installation of a Community Wall featuring the names of all of our Kickstarter backers at the $25 level and up. We'll send you updates on the progress of our stories plus a picture of the wall when it's complete!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Limited Edition Poster

    You'll get your named engraved on our Community Wall PLUS you'll receive a signed 11x17 limited edition digital print from local Brooklyn artist Lehna Huie. The print features original artwork that currently hangs on the walls of Brooklyn Deep's office.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Third Rail Podcast Pack

    Featuring the name of our favorite segment from Brooklyn Deep's podcast, Third Rail, receive a TELL'EM WHY YOU MAD totebag and get ready to answer people when they ask about it on the subway.

    But there's more! At the $100 level you'll also receive an exclusive invitation to a LIVE taping of Third Rail podcast where we'll feature a very special community-led Tell'em Why You Mad.

    (Oh, and you'll get your name engraved on the Community Wall, too)

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Report Your Truth Pennant

    Your story matters – remember that every day with a handmade REPORT YOUR TRUTH pennant made my local artist Rayo & Honey. Each one is lovingly crafted and one-of-a-kind and we've only got 50 available.

    (And, yes! Your name will be engraved on the Brooklyn Deep Community Wall)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Brooklyn Deep VIP

    Whoa. You're helping us do some really big things at this level.

    Receive a Limited Edition Poster, a Tell'em Why You Mad totebag with live podcast recording invite, PLUS a VIP invitation to Brooklyn Movement Center's 5 Year Anniversary Gala.

    Brooklyn Movement Center is the organizing body which houses Brooklyn Deep - we couldn't exist without them and we'll have a special BkDeep presentation at the Gala.

    (Heads up: transportation is not provided for Gala)

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    Brooklyn Deep PodPack

    Receive every reward listed PLUS a 1-on-1 training session with the BkDeep team on community journalism and how to put together your very own podcast.

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Funding period

- (31 days)