Katarina Hybenova


Dear friends, readers, and supporters,

Do you remember when, at the end of October, I published an article announcing that I was looking for a buyer for Bushwick Daily? As 0f February, I’m really happy to announce that I’ve sold the majority stake in Bushwick Daily to a great independent entrepreneur and a Bushwick resident. Let’s chat about it.

My October call included a rather extensive wishlist of the qualities I wanted to see in the new owner. I was looking for someone who wants to see the neighborhood grow in a just and sustainable way, someone who has a great respect for the values of independent journalism, and mainly someone who is not, well, Republican.

By an ironic twist of fate, only two days after I announced that Bushwick Daily was for sale, the news came out that Joe Ricketts, the Republican owner of DNAinfo and Gothamist, decided to pull the plug on both local publications. I’m not sure what strange movements were the celestial bodies performing that week but it’s important to say that my intention has never been to close Bushwick Daily. Quite the contrary. My hopes were that the publication will flourish in the hands of somebody new, excited, and knowledgeable. The main difference between DNAinfo and Bushwick Daily is that the latter has never been a startup, meaning it never ran on money from investors in hopes it will make money back. I literally started it seven years ago in a coffee shop with a budget of $20 for a domain name. It grew slowly but sustainably only from the revenue the project made. So local news is definitely not dead, at least not in my book.

I met Alec Meeker through the call for a new owner. In his twenties, Alec came to Bushwick after a disillusionment from his brief career in finance. He wanted to spend his life doing something more meaningful and community-oriented. (My own story is very similar. I came to Bushwick after a brief but intense career in corporate law which drove me very closely to the thoughts of retirement despite being only 27.) I’m always happy to meet a fellow idealist for whom values come before profits, and the alignment of our minds has been very apparent right from the start. Furthermore, Alec struck me a quietly persistent go-getter. Not the annoyingly loud type who forces his opinions on you whether you care or not, but a thoughtful and intelligent person who loves Bushwick Daily and understands the responsibility of running such a publication.

So what happens next? Alec and I have been working together to make sure that the transition period is super smooth (that is you won’t even notice it). The team of Bushwick Daily’s beloved contributors, helmed by the talented managing editor Evan Haddad, remains the same. I am still involved with Bushwick Daily as a minority owner, and after the transition period as an occasional advisor. I’m really excited to see Bushwick Daily grow into its next phase.

Bushwick is like a village and everyone keeps asking me what’s next for me. My answer is as idealistic as you can expect from me. I’ve been working on a novel for the past two years, and I’m taking some time to finalize it and submit it to literary agents. If you’re wondering whether the novel is set in Bushwick, I have to say, yes, of course. So even after the sale, Bushwick, with all its wonderful and ugly things, is very much on my mind. The novel is inspired by my first year in Bushwick and by my experience of starting the publication as an immigrant woman. It also follows a group of twenty-something immigrants in this glorious city, with their struggles and small victories. If you want to be posted about my novel and my future whereabouts, I’m very active on Instagram and have a personal newsletter. Please feel free to sign up.    

At the risk of being all corny and teary-eyed, I want to say thank you, dear neighborhood, for making me the person I am today. Bushwick, you will forever remain in my heart, and there truly is not a place in the world that compares to you.

And here is what Alec has to say about his future at Bushwick Daily: “I’m honored to continue Katarina’s legacy of running Bushwick Daily as a sustainable platform which exists to report on this incredible Brooklyn community. I will work every day to maintain Bushwick Daily as an inclusive and trusted source of local news with community at its core. With the team I will strive to publish stories important to its residents, and to give voice to individuals who have been historically underrepresented in the broader spectrum of the culture and media. Finally, I understand that much of the beauty of this place comes from the incredible diversity of the people who live here, and how important it is to tell stories from many perspectives. I will make sure that content is produced by individuals as unique and diverse as the community we serve.”

If you want to say hello to Alec and introduce yourself, or buy an ad and support indie local journalism, email him at [email protected]

Cover photo: Katarina Hybenova for Bushwick Daily