Part of what good realtors do is stay abreast of what’s happening in their communities. Yet, in a time where local news coverage has been shrinking what’s an agent to do—or a local resident for that matter?

In recent years, some have recognized the benefit of working with “hyper local” digital news sites. Baristanet in Glen Ridge and Montclair pioneered the trend in New Jersey, launching in May 2004.

Since then, more than 70 independent local sites have popped up across the state. You can get a full list at NJ News Commons.

Even with the demise of Patch (the sites still remain but seem to offer scant local coverage) or perhaps because of it, hyper locals seem to continue to grow and offer a place for brokers to get their stories out and place interactive advertising. The Alternative Press, originating in New Providence and Berkeley Heights, is soliciting licensees throughout New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, for example.

Other sites have been around or are popping up, offering terrific journalism that engages local readers — and those from afar who are looking to move to your community. Take a look at, Red Bank Green, Morristown Green, The Franklin Reporter and Midland Park Press.

It’s the newly launched The Village Green that I am most excited about because it will give me the kind of information I need to be good at what I do. The Village Green “provides day-to-day, granular news coverage of the issues that matter to the people of Millburn, Maplewood, South Orange, and environs — including education, redevelopment, taxes, public safety, governance, local business, the arts and culture, and lifestyle — with fairness, thoroughness, humanity and a distinct voice.” Check out

I also happen to know and respect both of the founders, Mary Barr Mann and Carolyn Maynard-Parisi, local residents who have a strong track record of reporting local news.

If we value local journalism we must remember that it doesn’t come at no cost. I will be supporting The Village Green as a paid subscriber and advertiser because I believe that the founders’ deep community roots and professionalism will benefit a loyal readership that trusts their message.