The idea was first floated a few years ago, between journalists Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg and Jon Whiten: let’s start an alternative paper in New Jersey.
After many brainstorming sessions and lots of planning and study, July 1 marked the realization of that idea with the launch of City Belt, an independent, progressive news organization that’s focused on the cities and towns of North and Central New Jersey. City Belt will at first be a monthly magazine, distributed mainly through small businesses and college campuses — the first print issue debuts Sept. 1. The Internet offers City Belt a space to pursue an even greater amount of journalism; the Web site will be updated at least once daily.
City Belt will muckrake and revist a golden age when the alternative press had investigative vigor and the political conviction to stand up for what is important. And just what do we think is important? Social justice issues and good government, for starters. City Belt will also be covering the local arts scene in ways that probe deeper than patronage. Overall, we hope to be a voice of the progresssive community in New Jersey, and to further foster political, cultural and civic engagement. We welcome feedback — after all, we need readers as much as we hope readers will come to need us.
Our first story is a quick look into the background of Chris Lyon, the independent contractor working on the film commisioned by the Kean campaign to paint Menendez as unethical. We found some pretty interesting stuff by just looking around a bit, and thought it was important to get this out there. We hope that other news organizations will use their resources to look more closely at the pasts of those involved in this very important election, especially when doing so may shine light on hypocrisy or dishonesty.
City Belt is currently also looking for all kinds of help: we are scraping by in true DIY fashion, and could always use writers, distributors, tips on friendly businesses (both for advertising and distribution), and story ideas. We certainly can’t promise riches, but we do promise to reward all efforts to help get City Belt off the ground. Thanks.