Blog Posts

Local News Lab: Reimagining How We Get Community News in New Jersey

Thursday Jan 12, 2017  |  0 comments

Imagine you were given an assignment. Here it is:

Two weeks before Christmas, gather the major legacy and new media players in your state for a brainstorming meeting that will take up the better part of their day. Just to make things more interesting, also lure a nice sampling of the academics and advocates who track trends in local media.

You’ve got three weeks to get it done. Go!

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The Rotunda inside the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. (Photo credit: Peter Miller via Flickr)
New Jersey’s track record of local journalism innovation runs deep

Friday Jan 06, 2017  |  0 comments

The New York Times published an article this week chronicling the changing landscape of media outlets –mostly print newspapers — in New Jersey, paying particular attention to downsizing at large organizations such as Gannett Co. (full disclosure — I used to work for Gannett.)

The writer, David Chen, used to work in Trenton as The Times’ statehouse bureau chief. At the conclusion of the piece, he compared his experience in 2008 with what he sees at the state capital now: the visible press corps is much smaller.

He’s right – the number of journalists in our state has shrunk. But what isn’t reported in Chen’s article about New Jersey media is just as important – and far more encouraging – as what is.

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Photo by Thomas E. Franklin.
Best of 2016: Five things we’re proud to have been a part of this year

Monday Dec 26, 2016  |  0 comments

As 2016 comes to a close, we’re looking back on what the Center for Cooperative Media and our partners have accomplished over the last year. Although there are many things we’re proud to have been a part of, we’ve chosen to highlight five of our favorite projects, events, and initiatives.

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New Jersey’s SPJ chapter condemns ‘prior restraint’ by judge in court order against The Trentonian

Friday Dec 16, 2016  |  0 comments

The Society of Professional Journalists and its New Jersey chapter issued a statement this week condemning the actions of a New Jersey judge who issued an order this fall to prevent The Trentonian from publishing information related to a child abuse case.

The temporary injunction was issued in October by Superior Court Judge Craig Corson, and involves a complicated story about a 5-year-old Trenton boy who went to school with drugs in his lunch box.

“The action constitutes “prior restraint” which has been rejected by the United States Supreme Court several times, including in the landmark 1971 case, New York Times vs. U.S., over the publication of the Pentagon Papers, a classified report on the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War,” the SPJ said in its statement.

For more info on the case:

About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. The Center is supported with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and Democracy Fund. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism, and in doing so serve New Jersey residents. For more information, visit CenterforCooperativeMedia.org.

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Content sharing is the future of public service journalism, and NJ Spotlight is already ahead of the game

Thursday Jun 09, 2016  |  0 comments

New Jersey voters took to the polls Tuesday to vote in the state’s  primary election. As the results trickled in, NJ Spotlight reporters worked well into the night to make sure the spreadsheets for their live election map were accurate and up to date.  

And not only was that election map featured prominently on NJ Spotlight’s website, but it was also embedded in nine other independent local news sites across the state – free of charge.

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What it’s like to set up Facebook Instant Articles

Wednesday May 04, 2016  |  0 comments

For someone with only a basic understanding of computer logic, setting up Facebook Instant Articles for an indie publication is a pain in the ass. It’s tedious, buggy, and it comes with that familiar feeling of pending judgment as you submit your 10 sample articles for review.

Which is exactly why I’m doing it. I’m going through the motions of converting my old digital news startup, Muckgers, into a Facebook-first publication as we prepare it for a possible revitalization (more on this to come). Muckgers co-founder Simon Galperin and I will document our progress along the way, letting you know what works, what doesn’t, and what’s next. Think of Muckgers as a canary in the digital coal mine that is Facebook-first publishing. Our plan is to create useful walkthroughs and video tutorials along the way to help you navigate through the weeds.

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Collaboration is the future of impactful, sustainable enterprise journalism — and here’s why

Wednesday Apr 20, 2016  |  0 comments

Last year, some 400 journalists from 107 media organizations in 76 countries joined forces to investigate and analyze more than 11.5 million leaked documents. Their investigation, known as the Panama Papers, was published worldwide earlier this month.

The Panama Papers marked the biggest leak in whistleblower history. Analysis of such a huge trove of documents was only possible because such a large group of reporters and editors — led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists — worked collaboratively on the project.

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Reboot: The Return of Peer-to-Peer Sessions

Thursday Mar 31, 2016  |  2 comments

It’s been a long time since we last held a peer-to-peer group session for NJ news entrepreneurs. We used to hold monthly meetings at Montclair State and via Zoom Conference where we’d bring together independent publishers and news entrepreneurs to discuss the challenges they faced. The goal was to get people in the same room to exchange best practices and hopefully find solutions that just don’t show up in a Google search.

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We’re launching another collaborative reporting project. Join us.

Tuesday Mar 29, 2016  |  0 comments

I spent a sizable chunk of 2015 helping to coordinate Dirty Little Secrets, the Center for Cooperative Media’s first statewide collaborative reporting project. The experience taught me a lot.

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Thinking It Through: Using design thinking to connect with your community

Wednesday Mar 16, 2016  |  0 comments

This week, the students of the CUNY Social Journalism program descended upon the Sheraton Times Square Hotel to host a day-long innovation challenge using design thinking at NYC16, the College Media Association’s Spring National Media Convention.

The challenge was pretty straightforward: Use design thinking to come up with ideas to improve the media experience of women on college campuses.

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Social Media Strategy for Small Publications

Monday Mar 14, 2016  |  0 comments

Some of us don’t have millions of subscribers and widespread brand recognition to lean on

Over the last five weeks or so, I’ve listened to guest speaker after guest speaker talk about the wonders of the latest social media innovations to come out of Facebook, The New York Times, Mashable, the Harvard Business Review, or one of the other media giants. While I understand the benefits of learning from their examples, I can’t help but feel like there’s a huge gap in this type of thinking when it comes to implementing these ideas at the local level.

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