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Subsidizing a community service: Honcho of Slope co-working space offers special rate for laid-off local reporters

Subsidizing a community service: Honcho of Slope co-working space offers special rate for laid-off local reporters
In other news: Entrepreneur Cosmo Lee is offering journalists space at his co-working business, Park Slope Desk, for $1 per month in response to sweeping layoffs that left reporters at Gothamist and DNA Info looking for jobs — and a place to work.
Community News Group / Colin Mixson

Now all they need is a job!

The owner of a Park Slope co-working facility is providing shelter for journalists once employed by this newspaper’s competitors for the price of a $1-per-month subscription fee from now
until the end of March.

The bargain-basement rate is being marketed to former employees of Gothamist and DNA Info — whom billionaire Joe Ricketts fired earlier this month following their vote to unionize — but the shared-office space’s proprietor described the deal as benefitting all local reporters.

“Whether they’re covering holiday festivities or breaking news about local crime or construction, it would make me happy to help journalists get the story out,” said Cosmo Lee, the self-described “chief co-worker” at Park Slope Desk at 501 11th St. between Seventh and Eighth avenues.

Journalists who cash in on the offer receive desk space and use of the facility’s conference room — perks that otherwise go for between $100 and $350 a month — and also have access to amenities that include high-speed Internet, “ergonomic” chairs, and printing, scanning, and laminating services, according to Lee.

More importantly, however, the entrepreneur said the professional atmosphere at his venue offers workers an oasis of calm from the nuisances that can plague coffee-shop and at-home reporting.

“Like our members, journalists need a place to focus,” he said. “Their apartments are full of distractions, and cafes on their beat are too noisy for them to work effectively.”

Gothamist employees generally crafted their sometimes snarky posts from desks at the company’s Manhattan office, but DNA Info’s journalists typically worked in the field, according to the website’s former Park Slope reporter — a Brooklyn Paper alum — who said the real problem with writing in coffee shops was not the hustle and bustle, but the readily available supply of java.

“The noise didn’t bother me,” said Caroline Spivack, “But I would feel hopped up on caffeine going from café to café.”

Spivack, who lives in Bay Ridge, said she probably won’t take Lee up on his offer because of the distance between his facility and her home.

But the newswoman appreciated his act of kindness nonetheless, noting how fellow reporters who live closer to Park Slope could benefit from the invitation.

“It’s a nice gesture,” she said. “I think it’s good for people in the area.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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