Greg Reibman, a former community newspaper publisher and a founder of a Newton-oriented blog, has been named the president of the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce.
Reibman replaces Bob Halpin, who accepted a job as the Framingham Town Manager after about a year as the head of the Chamber of Commerce.
Until last year, Reibman had been the publisher of the Newton Tab and headed up several of GateHouse Media Inc.’s Boston-area newspapers. Gatehouse eliminated his position last year as part of cost-cutting measures.
Soon after he left GateHouse, Reibman launched Village 14, a community blog that focuses on Newton issues. Reibman said he will continue to be involved with that website.
The Chamber selected Reibman because of his business experience in Newton and Needham and his familiarity with the community and its leaders, said Joseph De Vito, chamber chairman, in a press release.
“We are especially pleased to be bringing in someone who already knows our communities, our elected leaders, our businesses and the challenges we face as we emerge from a long recession,” De Vito said.
Reibman said he hopes to use his social media and community engagement skills to broaden the Chamber’s on-line presence. He said he expects to update the business group’s website and offer members the traditional networking opportunities and seminars on such issues as using Twitter.
“We’re ready to modernize,” he said.
Reibman said he also plans to start a shop local initiative to promote businesses, especially in the village centers.
With major developments in the pipeline, including several Route 9 projects, and the Riverside mixed-use proposal, the Chamber will likely have a role to play in ensuring that commercial space in Newton and Needham is best-used, Reibman said.
“This is a really critical time,” he said.
Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org