LION member spotlight: Baristanet

A Q&A with Liz George, publisher of Baristanet in New Jersey.

October 24, 2015 by LION Publishers


A Q&A with Liz George, publisher of Baristanet in New Jersey.

1. When did your site launch, what geography does it cover and why was it founded?

Baristanet launched in May 2004. My partner Debbie Galant, a writer, was interested in the move toward hyperlocal news after meeting with Jeff Jarvis.

2. What was your background before becoming an independent local news publisher?

I got involved with Baristanet in August 2004. At the time I was a freelance writer and author and went on to work for a number of years as special sections editor for New York Daily News

3. How would you describe your operation and business model?

Currently, I run Baristanet on my own with help from part-time editor/writer, an ad sales director, many contributors, both paid and unpaid. Our business is model is based on revenue from display advertising. Everyone works as an independent contractor.

4. What do you consider your competition as a local news or information source?

We offer something different than other news sources in the area, both in our geographic focus as well as our content, but Montclair Times, Patch and TapintoMontclair compete for many of the same readers as we have.

5. What makes your site unique?

The engagement we have with readers, the 24/7 updates and or reporting we do, and the types of articles we cover. Here is a favorite of late.

We also kick ass when it comes to staying on top of new restaurants and businesses, something that's very popular with our readers.

6. What is something you wish you had known when you were starting out or would do differently now that could perhaps serve as advice for others?

Our focus is broad, which is great for creating content, but then you are also committed to covering those subjects or areas. 

7. What about your operation is your biggest source of pride right now?

On my own, after my partner stepped away from the business, I've been able to move over to a much better system for accounting; implement a CRM tool that my sales director uses; change hosts and enjoy a more stable site and save money as well; and navigate a difficult situation with a site we had partnered with and have the end result not impact our business.

8. What do you struggle with the most?

I'm also a licensed clinical social worker, so for me, juggling my second career as a psychotherapist along with the business is always something I struggle with, but it also motivates me to look for better ways to get work done and streamline systems.

9. What are some of your future goals for the site?

I would like to build some other revenue streams besides display ads.

10. Why are you a member of LION Publishers?

I find LION to be incredibly helpful to check the pulse on issues that affect my site and to learn from other publishers. Even though I've been doing this for more than 10 years, I can and always learn something new from LION members.

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