For many years a common complaint in the Blairstown community has been that there was no longer a source of reliable, local news. The rise of the internet made the economics of producing local papers for local delivery a losing proposition and many organizations had to close their doors. With the death of local journalism, people were left to essentially rely on unsubstantiated hearsay passed around for-profit social media websites to get information on what is happening in their community.
In 2021, BEC members caught wind of a project funded by the State of New Jersey called The New Jersey Civic Information Consortium. The NJ CIC put together a grant program to “address the growing problem of news deserts, misinformation, and support more informed communities.”
After inviting the NJ CIC to present at a BEC meeting, several members pulled together a project team in its quest to provide accurate and unbiased news on local government, school board and community affairs. The team believed that reliable information would result in more community involvement.
In May 2021, the NJ CIC awarded the grant to the BEC and the Ridge View Echo was born. Now fully established as an independent non-profit corporation, the Ridge View Echo aims to cover local news in the townships of Frelinghuysen, Blairstown, Hardwick and Knowlton. Its inaugural, online edition came out in February 2022.