Look Out Print, Here We Come: JCI Acquires NEW Magazine

During this week one year ago, we had just finally finished the design framework and the conceptual notion of the Jersey City Independent, and we started posting News Roundups and blog entries, slowly but surely. Since then, we’ve grown quite a bit and offered you, the readers, a real alternative to the existing local media. We’ve covered the arts scene, the political scene, we’ve broken stories and worked with the community to sponsor local events. All in all, we’re psyched we’ve been able to come this far and we’re very optimistic about the future.

Part of that optimism stems from some good news we have to share with you all this cold Friday morning: we are now the proud parents of a print magazine. The Independent has purchased NEW magazine, the twice-yearly arts, culture and lifestyle magazine that covers Jersey City. We’re excited about the opportunity and hope to continue growing with all of you. Thanks so much for reading and for your support over this past year!

The press release is below; if you haven’t already, you can check out stories from the two most recent issues of NEW and download PDFs here.

Dec. 11, 2009

Bucking the trend of media contraction, the Jersey City Independent is expanding into print after just one year of publishing a hyperlocal web-only alternative newspaper. The Independent has acquired NEW magazine, a four-year-old arts, culture and lifestyle magazine that covers Jersey City.

NEW, which comes out twice a year, was founded in November 2005 by Amanda Assadi-Rullow; in 2007 she decided she wanted to expand the magazine and offer a stronger editorial presence. For that, she turned to Jon Whiten, the Independent‘s co-founder and current editor. He has been NEW‘s managing editor ever since.

“When Amanda approached us about purchasing NEW, I knew that we had a great opportunity to build on the success of our online work with a print product,” Whiten says. “The magazine will enable us to explore the arts and culture scene in Jersey City more fully while we continue to cover that scene — plus local news and politics — on the web.”

Shane Smith, the Independent‘s publisher and co-owner, says the decision to purchase NEW was a no-brainer.

“We’re an independent, locally-owned, forward-thinking alternative to the publications that are out there, and so is NEW,” he says. “In a fairly small media market, it made a lot of sense for us to join forces.”

Assadi-Rullow says that while she’ll be sad to let the magazine she founded go, she is happy that it found a good home.

“This is a completely natural progression, as well as a necessary transition that will ensure outstanding journalism,” she says. “I have always wanted NEW to be an independent, refreshing voice for our community and this move will only enhance that effort.”

And Assadi-Rullow isn’t leaving the magazine completely behind either. She will continue to lend her design skills and sharp eye to NEW as its creative director. Meanwhile, the Independent‘s current team of writers and editors — many of whom have written for NEW in the past — will keep producing content for the magazine, ensuring a virtually seamless transition for NEW‘s 40,000-plus readers.

“We’re not looking to go back to square one here,” Whiten says. “We want to build on the solid foundation the magazine already stands on, and continue to invest in the best writing, photography and design we can put out there.”

Smith says that despite the web evangelism being preached in the media world, physical magazines still offer a unique experience that’s not going away.

“People love to say that print is dead, but we know that we’ll be able to connect with a whole new audience with a print publication, in a way that complements what we offer on the web,” Smith says. “That furthers our mission of providing the community with an alternative to the local daily, and it’s great for our bottom line.”

Terms of the deal, finalized earlier this month, were not disclosed. The first issue of NEW under its new owners is due to hit the streets and stores of Jersey City in April.

ABOUT The Jersey City Independent

The Jersey City Independent is the alternative source for news and culture in Jersey City. The website, which began publishing in Dec. 2008 and formally launched this March, has experienced tremendous growth as residents have come to rely on its comprehensive coverage of city government, local news and the arts+culture scene. The Independent not only covers the community, it is a part of it as well, as shown by its sponsorship of cultural offerings like JC Fridays, the 4th Street Arts & Music Festival and the Jersey City Book Festival.


Jon Whiten
jwhiten (at) gmail.com

Shane Smith
shane (at) jerseycityindependent.com

Jon Whiten

co-founded the Jersey City Independent. He is currently the Deputy Director of New Jersey Policy Perspective.