For Heeten Choxi, a resident of Montclair, N.J. since 2014 and overseer of New York-based tech firm Two Sigma Investments, it all started with the state of The Montclair Times. He felt that the paper, a weekly founded in 1877, was getting away from focused local coverage in the wake of its acquisition by Gannett.
Choxi (pictured, with a sleeping daughter) and his wife Thalla-Marie recently launched their own competing weekly, Montclair Local. Alongside the two print newspapers in town, there is also a well-staffed website, barista.net, and a local Patch overseen by a guy who teaches journalism at Rutgers. The most comforting bit of information for fans of the new Montclair newspaper comes towards the middle of today’s New York Times piece by Rick Rojas:
“We want it to grow,” Heeten Choxi said. “We want it to be sustainable. But it’s not about making money for us.”
A decided advantage, especially in the short term. Rick Green, vice president of content for New Jersey Media Group, which owns The Montclair Times, says all the rights things in the NYT article. His weekly currently counts more than 16,000 paid subscribers. The Choxi’s, by year’s end, hope to have 6,000 at $12 per year.
The easy-to-overlook wild card here may be barista.net. The website, founded in 2004 by Debbie Galant, is overseen by former New York Daily News special sections editor Liz George.