The New Jersey Press Association has once again presented Montclair Local its General Excellence award.

The nonprofit newsroom earned 26 other awards for work done in 2021 — with judges crediting its team for thoughtful storytelling, an emphasis on accountability for those in positions of power, deep explorations of issues key to Montclair's culture and community, and creative use of online platforms. 

The General Excellence Award, NJPA’s top prize, is given based on a tally of points from the other award categories. Montclair Local shared the General Excellence Award in the weekly category with the Ocean County-based Sandpaper.

This marks the fourth year in a row Montclair Local earned the General Excellence Award; it’s received the honor every year since the newspaper became eligible to compete in the press association’s annual Better Newspaper Contest.

As I told our staff: “As always, I’m tremendously proud and grateful to be working with the dedicated team that continues to make such high achievement possible.”

Late last year, Montclair Local put out the call to our community — “Save Montclair Local.” Our nonprofit newsroom’s work is only made possible through the generous support of donors who believe local journalism matters, and hearing word of our urgent need, so many stepped up — helping us collect more than $300,000 in a single quarter, much of it through large, one-time contributions. Never before has Montclair Local been gifted so much in such a short time from the community it serves.

But even that $300,000 represents only a fraction of our operating expenses, which approach $800,000 per year. Our single greatest expense is also what we believe to be our greatest asset — the team of hardworking journalists who bring you thorough, timely, important news about Montclair every day at, and every week in our print edition.

It’s only through that team’s dedication that Montclair Local could earn such a prestigious award time and time again — and provide you with the vital journalism that it recognizes. 

We’re closer to long-term financial sustainability than ever before, but we still need your help. That’s why over the next six weeks, we’re conducting our first focused membership drive — asking you and your neighbors to sign up to support us on an ongoing basis, as sustaining members.

Just $10 per month makes you a member, and gets you our print edition so long as you continue your membership. That small cost helps meet our most essential needs. And when you become a sustaining member, you help us plan for the future — helping us establish a predictable, stable base of recurring income.

The old models for supporting newspapers are failing. Advertising income alone doesn’t cut it — that’s why you’ve seen so many other local newspapers cut back or close down altogether. We believe there’s a better way, as the community’s paper, supported by the community’s goodwill and earned through the work we do in its service.

If you agree, please visit today and become a sustaining member. 

As always, we’re humbled by the support so many have shown us. Thank you for considering becoming a sustaining member, to ensure Montclair Local can serve the community for years to come.