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CNBNews Editor Spotlighted on LION PUBLISHERS

By Matt DeRienzo | October, 2015


A question and answer with William E. Cleary Sr., EDITOR/PUBLISHER of CNBNewsnet 


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

Our site was founded in July 2006. The new owner of the Gloucester City News, a weekly paper located in Gloucester City, New Jersey, asked me to build it. After completing it, he said he didn’t have the time to keep it current. Instead of letting my hard work go by the wayside, I kept it Screen Shot 2022-05-20 at 17.33.41 going, adding ClearysNoteBook to the domain name. CNBNews provides news and opinion regarding the South Jersey and Philadelphia region, focusing on Gloucester City.


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

I began my career in journalism in 1966 with the family newspaper, The Gloucester City News. In 1978, I was named the editor of that newspaper, along with the editor of The Camden County Record, another paper owned by the family. In 1984, my wife Connie and I purchased the Gloucester City News from my parents. We sold the paper in 2001. I kept writing a weekly column for the paper until 2012.


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

My father taught me everything I knew about the newspaper business. I followed him as a kid, rushing out the door to cover a fire or another story. He taught me the news part of the business and my mother, who was in charge of the money, taught me the financial side of the business. They were both excellent teachers. My father told me initially,  “If you are doing your job right you will always have someone mad at you. If you want to be popular, you better rethink your chosen career.”


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

In the very beginning, ClearysNoteBook was the only news website in the immediate South Jersey area. The daily newspapers were just getting started with developing their websites. Local towns, along with police and fire departments, would use our site to make emergency announcements. I worked the site seven days a week and continued following that regimen. Today, there is Facebook, Twitter, and daily newspapers with reporters covering stories just posted on the websites.  Even so, CNBNews still has a strong following. We give them in-depth news, controversial articles, and commentary that the local newspaper and the dailies don’t cover for fear of angering their advertisers. The daily newspapers have long forgotten local news.  Bloggers who devote coverage to their community and nearby towns will succeed if they pick up that slack.


5. What makes your site unique?

We give the reader an opposing point of view. Gloucester City, along with 37 other communities in Camden County, has been ruled by the Camden County Democrat machine for decades. The old boys club continues to meet behind closed doors. The public is looking for someone who will speak out against these bureaucrats.  We do that.  We are not afraid to ruffle feathers. Recently, we filed a lawsuit against the City of Gloucester for refusing our requests for information. That lawsuit is scheduled to be heard on Nov. 13. I do what I do because I enjoy writing. I also think that I provide community service. I have no ulterior motive or agenda. I believe our readers recognize my sincerity.


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?

I wish I had chosen another name for my blog. I was taught that a news reporter should not be the focus of an article. Naming the site ClearysNoteBook gives me too much notoriety. South Jersey News, for example, would have been a better choice.


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

Running a weekly newspaper for several decades, I was always a week behind on many stories. If a breaking story happened after our deadline, I would have to wait until the following week to report on it.  The ability to post a breaking news story in a matter of minutes that the world can read is such an adrenaline rush for this old-timer. I take great pride in beating out the dailies and, in some cases, the local television stations with a developing story.


8.  What do you struggle with the most?

I am a one-man show. I have several people who write weekly commentary for our blog, but when it comes to the news, I am all alone. I would like to have the time to learn how to move the blog up to the number one spot on Google.


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

To improve my coverage of the South Jersey and Philadelphia region. To find someone interested in taking over the site one day. As it is now, the many articles, photos, and videos that I have compiled on CNBNews will someday disappear one day when I am gone if no one steps up to continue the blog. If only I had more time.


10. Why are you a member of LION Publishers?

There is strength in numbers. As the membership continues to grow, the more influence the organization will have on the national level. The LION Publishers insignia on our website gives a professional look to our blog. It shows that we are serious about our work. If I have a problem, I know I can reach out to the membership for help. Hopefully, someday soon the organization will be able to attract national advertisers who will advertise on each member’s website. I also look forward to the day when the organization can issue press credentials to each member.  


FROM THE LION PUBLISHERS WEBSITE--Lion Publishers are committed to strong local Lionlogo_350x1-77independent journalism, whether in small towns or big cities, to tell the stories that reflect their residents and build a sense of place, and shine an informative light that allows citizens to make wise decisions. The Internet is worldwide, but every neighborhood's story is individual.

LION Publishers has nearly 130 members in 32 states and Washington, D.C., representing both for-profit and nonprofit business models — all independently owned, operated, and devoted to local journalism.