INDIA ABROAD April 7, 2017 15 INDIAN AMERICAN AFFAIRS
By Rick Rojas
— MONTCLAIR, N.J.
n a newsroom wedged into a
storefront here, reporters
worked on stories about the
contentious issues driving
the conversation around
town, like a property
reassessment that could
affect taxes and testing in the
public schools. An editor read
through submissions for a St.
Patrick’s Day limerick contest.
And Kevin Meacham, the newspaper’s top editor, was in his
office, looking at a mock-up of a
front page on his computer,
“XXXX” taking the place of
headlines waiting to be written.
The team of journalists was preparing to publish the
second issue of The
This month, the
arrived for the first
time in mailboxes
around town. A
local family decided
to pour hundreds of
thousands of dollars
into starting a news
reporters to cover
zoning board meetings and high school
wrestling tournaments and whatever
else residents in this
New Jersey suburb
The investment — by a software engineer who studied artificial intelligence, no less — seems
like a quixotic one when so many
newspapers are struggling and
many readers prefer to catch up
on town news on Facebook. But
the engineer, Heeten Choxi,
whose journalism experience
was limited to a middle school
newspaper, believes there is no
better way than print to deliver
“It looks beautiful,” Mr.
Choxi, who has lived in Montclair
for three years, said as he flipped
through a copy of the first issue.
“News tends to be more frag-
mented,” he added, referring to
social media. “You find out about
topics you’re already looking for.
You don’t get that same broad
The debut has touched off a
modern version of an old-fash-
ioned newspaper war, with a
fledgling independent newcomer
pitting itself against a communi-
ty staple, printed since 1877, that
has had cuts in coverage and
staffing after it was bought by a
major publishing company.