Montclair Local’s board of trustees announced Monday, Aug. 22, that veteran journalist and editor Carla Baranauckas has been appointed editor-in-chief of the award-winning news organization. 

Baranauckas began her career at small-town newspapers, developing a lifelong passion for the importance of news coverage in communities like Montclair. Along the way, she worked at newspapers in Texas, Illinois, North Dakota and Missouri before moving to New Jersey. 

She spent more than 20 years at The New York Times while also teaching at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She knows New Jersey well, having been an editor at The Record/NorthJersey.com, an instructor at Rutgers University in Newark and a Garden State homeowner for more than 25 years. 

“The expertise in and commitment to local journalism that Carla brings is amazing,” said Ollie Hartsfield, chair of the Montclair Local board of trustees. “We’re excited that her leadership will help the Local continue to serve the Montclair community.”

Baranauckas is widely regarded as a thoughtful, collaborative leader who encourages innovation while upholding the highest standards of precision and accuracy. She has worked in local, national and international news as well as business, culture and sports.

“Montclair is a community that recognizes the importance of local journalism and is fortunate to have a vibrant news organization in the Local,” Baranauckas said. “I’m thrilled to be joining the team that plays a vital role in building community and shining a light on democracy.” 

Baranauckas has been the Local’s interim editor since June and was hired for the permanent position following a nationwide search. She succeeds Louis C. Hochman, who now works for WNYC radio. 

In the course of her career, Baranauckas has worked for HuffPost, NextAvenue.org, TheStreet.com, 24/7 Wall St., AOL, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Grand Forks Herald, the Edwardsville (Illinois) Intelligencer, the Texarkana Gazette and the Pampa (Texas) News. She has a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she taught for 15 years. 

She grew up in Niagara Falls, New York; Memphis, Tennessee, and Edina, Minnesota. She is a longtime Minnesota Twins fan and lives with her newly adopted dog, Emmy Beans, in Weehawken, the site of the Aaron Burr-Alexander Hamilton duel.

The Local was founded in 2017 by Heeten and Thalla-Marie Choxi to focus exclusively on topics of interest to the people of Montclair. Today, the Local is a nonprofit news organization supported by the community through membership, donations, grants and local advertising. 

The Local’s stories and photos are published daily on its app (Montclair Local), its website (montclairlocal.news) and social media, and weekly in print. Montclair Local has won the New Jersey Press Association’s top award, General Excellence, given to one weekly and two daily newspapers in the state each year, for the four years that it has been eligible, as well as dozens of awards for specific areas of coverage.