Good morning, citizens of Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange. No, you’re not lost, though we might have spun you around a little. You clicked on The Local, the New Jersey outpost of The New York Times, and wound up on Baristanet, a website that until now concentrated mainly on the comings and goings of people in Montclair, Bloomfield and Glen Ridge.
We now pronounce you denizens of Baristaville!
Who are we and why should you spend time with us? Well, we started the media niche now known as “hyperlocal” back in 2004 with $6,000 and a lot of chutzpah and in six years have attracted 25 million pages views and competitors like AOL. We believe we’ve changed the way people in our area look at local media. We skip the paper, double the attitude, and welcome a boisterous Greek chorus of kibitzers.
You’ll soon learn that our approach to local newsgathering can be a bit unconventional. While we pride ourselves of being fast on breaking news, like the story of the Montclair couple nabbed as Russian spies on Monday and a bank robbery in Bloomfield last week, we’re also known for our irreverence, our food stories, our ticket giveaways and our (sometimes controversial) parenting coverage. But most of all, we’re known for the robust conversation on our site, like this 128-comment post on Montclair mayor Jerry Fried’s explanation of where tax increases come from.
We also have a lot more fun than your traditional news sources. We throw parties for readers and always have a float in Montclair’s Independence Day Parade and we plan to be giving out Baristanet tie-dye buttons at Maplewoodstock a week from Sunday.
Heading our new effort is Jolie Solomon, a former Newsweek and Wall Street Journal writer, who lives in Maplewood. She will be joined by names you’ve grown familiar with over the past 15 months at The Local.
It’s particularly apt that we finally expand into Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange because Baristanet was actually born during a meetup at the Dancing Goat Cafe (may it rest in peace), when I met media maven Jeff Jarvis. We’ve also suffered quite a while from a major case of pool envy.
So, howdy neighbor and welcome to a newly-expanded version of Baristaville. There’s a lot to explore. But we can’t do it without you. Write to us a email@example.com with story ideas and breaking news alerts, and reach out to Jolie or Liz and Debbie if you’d like to become a regular contributor.
And see everybody at Maplewoodstock!
Don’t forget to join our Fan Page on Facebook, where you’ll get advance warning on contests and can post your own messages, and follow us on Twitter too.
(Loyal readers from the north side of Baristaville, we haven’t forgotten you. Liz has a post coming that explains how the new site has been engineered and why we think it will be better than ever.)