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Frank Griffin, community news legend, is dead

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Bay Ridge newspaper legend Frank Griffin, who published the Home Reporter from its creation in 1956 to just a few months ago, died on Monday at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan of cancer. He was 83.

In a career that stretched from his native Baltimore to a Masters Degree at Fordham University to a stint at the National Enquirer, Griffin was ultimately known by that most noble of titles: community journalist.

“He was a passionate newspaper man,” said long-time companion Sara Otey. “He really believed intensely in local journalism and community newspapers.”

Griffin grew up in Baltimore and came to New York for his degree. But in the mid-1950s, he struck gold, starting the Home Reporter, a weekly newspaper in Bay Ridge that later merged with the Sunset News in 1962.

By 1976, Griffin was so successful that he was able to acquire his longtime rival, the older Brooklyn Spectator.

And he kept at it until selling the newspapers to a Queens publisher earlier this year. By then, his reputation was enshrined.

“His role as founder of the Home Reporter was an integral part of his identity, but it was only one of many reasons he received the respect and admiration of residents,” said Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge).

State Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) agreed with his longtime rival on the issue of Frank Griffin’s importance to Bay Ridge.

“I am proud to have known Frank Griffin for many years and I join the community in mourning his loss,” Golden said. “The legacy of Frank will be forever held in high regard. Throughout his career, he promoted the importance of community newspaper, local business and an overall better neighborhood for all of us to call home.”

Griffin is survived by his five sons, two daughters and four grandchildren. His funeral will be in his native Maryland.

Updated 12:00 pm, March 18, 2011
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