Local Beat: How to strengthen local news? New Brunswick offers ideas

Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources.

HOW TO STRENGTHEN LOCAL NEWS? NEW BRUNSWICK OFFERS IDEAS
Roughly two dozen journalists, academics, residents, and activists gathered at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information this week for a brainstorming session to come up with ideas for how to improve local journalism. Jack Murtha of TAP into New Brunswick was at the event, hosted by Free Press, and provides a breakdown of the most popular proposed solutions.

NEW BILL WOULD CREATE FUND FOR LOCAL JOURNALISM
A new bill was introduced in the state Legislature on Thursday that would use some of the money from the recent sale of New Jersey’s public television licenses to create a fund to support local journalism initiatives in New Jersey. MyCentralJersey.com says the Civic Information Consortium bill, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, would allocate $20 million toward the fund each year for the next five years. Full disclosure: The Center for Cooperative Media and Montclair State University are supportive of, and would be part of, the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium.

HOW ABOUT A TINY VACATION HOME?
Elinor Comlay of Route 40 sat down with Paul St. James to talk tiny homes. In particular, St. James believes that tiny homes could become increasingly popular among older residents who are tired of paying the bills and taxes associated with larger homes and younger residents who can’t afford to move out of their parents’ houses.

WHAT KEEPS YOU FROM PAYING FOR NEWS?
As NJ Pen enters its third year, founder and editor Matt Skoufalos is continuing to look for ways to keep the Camden County news site up and running. The missing piece, he says, is finding a paying readership that’s willing to support local news with their wallets.

U.S. SENATOR URGES DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY TO PROBE ONE JOURNAL SQUARE AFFILIATES
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is calling on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate potentially fraudulent claims made by affiliates of the One Journal Square project in Jersey City. John Heinis of Hudson County View says Senator Grassley is concerned about the involvement of the Qiaowai Group, a Chinese company, and a second private company known as the “U.S. Immigration Fund.”

PETITION DRIVE SCUTTLES VERONA’S PURCHASE OF SYNAGOGUE PROPERTY
The township of Verona will no longer be seeking to purchase the Congregation Beth Ahm property as a new location for the Verona Rescue Squad. Virginia Citrano of MyVeronaNJ says the township will rescind their offer to purchase the property for $900,000 after a petition drive mounted by five residents who live near the synagogue gained enough support to warrant a referendum on the purchase.

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