Blog Archives

Voting Block expands, launches statewide citizen engagement campaign; sign up to host a ‘Political Potluck’

Wednesday Jul 19, 2017  |  0 comments

Last month we announced the launch of Voting Block, a collaborative reporting initiative to cover New Jersey’s upcoming gubernatorial election through the lens of neighborhoods across the state.

Voting Block started with four initial reporting partners –WNYC, WHYY, NJ Spotlight and The Record – and is being coordinated by the Center for Cooperative Media, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and New America Media. The first stories have been rich; we’ve learned about residents and their concerns in Paulsboro, Westwood, Long Valley and West Orange. We plan to follow them throughout the summer and fall leading into Election Day, with a focus on their thoughts on the governor’s race.

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Open call for collaborative reporting projects unveiled at Collaborative Journalism Summit; here’s how to apply

Thursday May 04, 2017  |  0 comments

One of the most important goals of this year’s Collaborative Journalism Summit is to spur new ideas for future reporting projects that can produce meaningful, impactful journalism.

And now, we’re adding a little financial incentive to help us hit that goal.

Thanks to generous support from the Rita Allen Foundation, the Center for Cooperative Media today at the Summit announced that it is launching an open funding call for collaborative reporting projects. We’re accepting proposals today through June 30; three reporting projects will be selected thereafter to win a $7,000 grant.

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Speaker lineup, agenda announced for Collaborative Journalism Summit; register now to save your seat!

Tuesday Mar 28, 2017  |  0 comments

We’re thrilled to announce the speaker lineup and agenda for the upcoming Collaborative Journalism Summit, an international symposium on collaborative reporting projects and cooperative news networks.

The summit, set for May 4-5 at Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J., will bring together more than 150 journalists, media executives, funders, technologists, professors and students to discuss different models, best practices and case studies of collaborative projects. The event is presented by Google News Lab.

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Layoffs in local newsrooms: A study of recent changes within North Jersey Media Group

Friday Mar 17, 2017  |  0 comments

When the Center for Cooperative Media was founded in 2012, it followed a wave of large layoffs at the state’s largest newspaper, The (Newark) Star-Ledger. Our mission since then has been to find ways to grow and strengthen the local news ecosystem in New Jersey for the benefit of citizens.

So when Gannett acquired The Record and dozens of other assets owned by the North Jersey Media Group and announced a reorganization that would result in layoffs, we knew it was time for us to step up and help.

Thanks to a grant in late 2016 from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, we connected laid-off folks together and provided stories of what to do next during a “Life After the Newsroom” luncheon. We partnered with The Poynter Institute to offer free training to recently laid-off journalists through the News University certificate program. We coached some folks thinking about staying in the industry and starting their own news outlet.

We also told Dodge that we would do an independent assessment of the changes being made in the North Jersey Media Group and make recommendations for how future work or investment could defray any negative impacts.

That report, titled “Layoffs in Local Newsrooms: Documenting the changing New Jersey local journalism ecosystem, 2016-2017” was investigated and written by Sarah Stonbely, who manages research on behalf of the center.

We don’t think there is anything surprising in this study, but it does provide some hard data showing that the content some communities are getting now is different than before North Jersey Media Group’s restructuring.

“Any time a community sees such a loss in the number (and experience level) of reporters and editors covering its news, and a corresponding change in available content, it is fair to say the consequences are negative,” the report said.

Our strategic recommendations are listed at the bottom of the report. We’d love to hear from you, too; what do you think has to be done to bolster local news coverage here in the Garden State? Email your ideas to us at info@njnewscommons.org.

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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Op-Ed: Sale of NJ’s airwaves could address local news crisis

Thursday Mar 16, 2017  |  0 comments

In an op-ed printed in NJ Spotlight this week, Mike Rispoli of Free Press lays out the case for creating the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium, a group that would be formed with a mission to “advance research and innovation in the fields of media and technology and strengthen local news and information.”

The group of four New Jersey universities in the consortium — which includes Montclair State University — would be funded with proceeds of the recently-concluded FCC spectrum auction, in which old public TV licenses were sold for millions of dollars. A windfall is coming to NJ from that sale, and we believe at least a large chunk of the money should be reinvested this way.

What would the consortium do? Rispoli laid out a few options in his piece, including issuing grants to universities, media outlets, technology companies, and community partners for projects that benefit the state’s civic life and meet the evolving information needs of New Jersey’s underserved communities.

“There’s an urgent need to invest in local news and information in New Jersey,” Rispoli wrote. “When news coverage disappears, people are less informed, civic participation drops, and political corruption increases. A bleak future for the journalism industry means a bleak future for the towns and cities where we live.”

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine media in our state. This is a chance to change the course of history, and do something that no other state has done before.

The Center for Cooperative Media is fully onboard with this proposal, and we are doing everything we can to help the Free Press Action Fund move forward in its work convincing New Jersey lawmakers to support the consortium.

And the time is now for YOU to take action if you support the proposal; click here to get more info about what you can do through the Free Press Action Fund. You can also email Mike Rispoli for more info: mrispoli@freepress.net.

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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Local Beat: A camp of homeless, making life in the woods

Thursday Mar 02, 2017  |  0 comments

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

A CAMP OF HOMELESS, MAKING LIFE IN THE WOODS
The well-known homeless camp in Lakewood known as Tent City no longer exists, but several former Tent City residents and a minister named Steve Brigham have set up a smaller version in Howell more than a year after the original location shut down. Chris Lundy of Micromedia Publications took a trip to Howell and came back with a three-part series that looks at how some live life in the woods.

MAYOR TORRES PROPOSES HALF-BILLION DOLLAR ‘NEW DEAL’ ECONOMIC REDEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR PATERSON
Paterson Mayor Joey Torres unveiled a new economic redevelopment deal for Paterson during a three-hour presentation at a town council meeting on Tuesday. Ali H. Aljarrah of TAP into Paterson says the “New Deal” plan, estimated at around $500 million, will focus on improving quality of life, job creation, retention and ratable properties.

RESIDENTS DEBATE MAKING WESTFIELD A SANCTUARY CITY
The immigration debate in New Jersey continues in Westfield. Jackie Lieberman of TAP into Westfield says a local resident asked the mayor at last week’s town council meeting to consider making Westfield a sanctuary city. The question sparked a long debate between residents on both sides of the issue, but no resolution was introduced and no formal action was taken as a result.

MORRISTOWN MAYOR WANTS TO START A REVOLUTION
Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty declared on Saturday that he and his fellow anti-Trump activists are “definitely starting a revolution,” and urged them to take their message next door to neighboring Morris Township and other Republican strongholds across Morris County. Kevin Coughlin of Morristown Green says Dougherty also called on U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.) to host a town hall meeting at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, but Frelinghuysen’s staff has yet to respond.

SOUTH JERSEY FAITH COMMUNITIES RALLY TO SUPPORT KATZ JCC AFTER BOMB THREAT
Christian, Muslim and Jewish community members rallied during rush hour at a busy intersection in Cherry Hill on Tuesday to show their support for the Katz Jewish Community Center after the JCC was evacuated in response to a recent bomb threat earlier this week. Steve Lubetkin of State Broadcast News was on the scene with this video report.

BOARDWALK HALL, CONVENTION BIZ FALLS AS CASINOS TAKE MORE OF THE MEETING PIE
The good news is Atlantic City attracted more visitors in 2016 than it did in 2015. The bad news is those visitors mostly gathered at the casinos in the Marina District instead of congregating at Boardwalk Hall or the Atlantic City Convention Center. Elinor Comlay of Route 40 News says New Jersey is supposed to be helping Atlantic City increase revenue and lower costs as part of the state takeover, but a closer look at how the state has been running the Convention Center and Boardwalk Hall is raising some serious questions about the state’s management skills.

ON HEROIN AND HOMELESS IN NEW BRUNSWICK
Jack Murtha of TAP into New Brunswick brings us a harrowing inside look at the life and struggles of two homeless heroin addicts living in New Brunswick. The couple, identified only by their first names, has a story that is all too familiar to many across the state – and country – as many continue to suffer from the effects of heroin and opioid abuse.

AT FIRST FORMAL ENDORSEMENT, GUADAGNO PREDICTS 45K GOP VOTES IN HUDSON
At her first formal county endorsement event, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno said she expects Hudson County to put her on a path to the governorship by delivering 45,000 Republican votes in November’s election. John Heinis of Hudson County View says Republicans have rarely been able to shake up the Democratic establishment in Hudson County, and Guadagno has yet to give any indication as to whether or not she plans to draw on bipartisan support to bring out the vote there.

HOW WILL THEATRE REACT TO THE CHANGING POLITICAL CLIMATE?
New Jersey Stage takes a look at how theatre will react to the changing political climate. Gary Wein spoke with two artistic directors for New Jersey-based theatre companies, Dreamcatcher Repertory Company and Centenary Stage Company, and two area playwrights to get their perspective on the state of politics and theatre.

THINK YOU KNOW TRENTON? THINK AGAIN.
State of the Arts travels to South Jersey to explore the cultural life of New Jersey’s capital. Trenton is quickly becoming a center for cultural activity – and it’s growing fast thanks to outdoor concerts, graffiti festivals, punk rock flea markets, cutting edge theater, destination restaurants, an amazing community of artists, and big plans for a new downtown arts district. Find out more on this special episode of State of the Arts.

SAFETY CONCERNS RESURFACE AFTER MERCER STUDENT ARRESTED
Tensions are running high at Mercer County Community College after a student who is also a convicted sex offender was arrested in connection with an incident at the campus gym earlier this month. The news team at MCCC’s The College Voice has the full story.

The NJ News Commons is the flagship projects at the Center for Cooperative Media; it is a network of 150+ news outlets across the Garden State.

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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Active hyperlinking improves chance of sustainability for newspapers, new research shows

Thursday Feb 16, 2017  |  0 comments

It may be hard to believe that there are still news organizations out there that don’t hyperlink actively and externally. (How many years have we been explaining this now?) But, there are.

Perhaps this will help: New research published this week by a Rutgers professor shows that newspapers that actively hyperlink to themselves and other websites are more likely to survive than those that don’t.

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Local Beat: Newark, A Love Story

Thursday Feb 16, 2017  |  0 comments

Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources. The NJ News Commons is the flagship project of the Center for Cooperative Media. Want to get our daily New Jersey newsletter? Click here to sign up!

NEWARK: A LOVE STORY
For Valentine’s Day, Andaiye Taylor of Brick City Live asked nine individuals and couples who love Newark to talk about the places that best capture their affection for New Jersey’s largest city. The photography and design of the piece are matched only by the power and emotion of the stories.

WHAT IS A SANCTUARY CITY AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?
Several New Jersey mayors and elected officials over the last week have signed orders creating or upholding sanctuary status for their cities, but many residents are unsure how such a designation might affect their neighborhood. The TAPinto Paterson staff put together a helpful guide that takes a closer look at what it means to be a sanctuary city.

MORRISTOWN OFFICIALS TELL IMMIGRANTS: YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR FROM US
Morristown’s mayor and police chief told a crowd of nervous immigrants on Tuesday that they have nothing to fear from them. Kevin Coughlin of Morristown Green says residents and immigration advocates asked the town council to declare Morristown a “Fair & Welcoming” place for immigrants with and without documentation.

WESTFIELD BOARD OF HEALTH CITES LOCAL SUBWAY FOR MULTIPLE VIOLATIONS
The Westfield Board of Health shared its January report on Monday, which contained an unsatisfactory rating issued to the local Subway sandwich shop. Michael Bruchert of TAPinto Westfield says that among the many violations cited was a lack of food safety knowledge or certification and a lack of hot water.

HIGH SCHOOL DIRECTOR’S $247K SALARY, SCHOOL VEHICLE RAISES QUESTIONS ON COMPENSATION
A director at the High Tech High School earns an annual salary of more than $247,000, was given his own school vehicle, and recently received a sick and vacation time payout of more than $15,000 last year. John Heinis of Hudson County View looked into the salary, as the director in question makes nearly $100,000 more annually than his peer directors.

SHANIQUE SPEIGHT TAPPED TO RUN IN 29TH LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT
Democratic leaders in Newark have selected former school board member and Essex County sheriff’s officer Shanique Speight to be the Assembly candidate for the 29th Legislative District. Mark Bonamo of TAPinto Newark says Speight was nominated after party leaders voted 4-2 in her favor.

BARNEGAT FORMER POLICE CHIEF EXONERATED, RETIRES
Former Barnegat Police Chief Arthur Drexler was suspended without pay last year after he was accused of giving himself compensatory time in a way that the township believed violated his contract. Now, Chris Lundy of Micromedia Publications says Drexler’s status has been changed to a separation and retirement after an investigation determined that the incident was merely the result of a disagreement on how compensatory time could be given.

CHERRY HILL FAMILIES LAUNCH NON-DENOMINATIONAL CONGREGATION FOR JEWISH FAITH, CULTURE
A rabbi in Cherry Hill is trying to counteract the dwindling number of people who are members of the Jewish faith in his South Jersey tri-country area by launching a new congregation. Matt Skoufalos of NJ Pen reports that Rabbi Larry Sernovitz has joined forces with 15 families to found “Nafshenu,” a new congregation that is intended to be more responsive to the needs of Jewish people.

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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Newsletter, crowdfunding and events guides available from relaunched Local News Lab

Friday Feb 10, 2017  |  0 comments

The Democracy Fund relaunched the Local News Lab initiative today and released three useful best-practice guides for local newsrooms.

The guides, written by Josh Stearns, cover how to write and market effective newsletters, how to build meaningful crowdfunding campaigns, and how to create events that produce revenue and reader engagement.

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Sponsorship opportunities available for Collaborative Journalism Summit

Friday Feb 10, 2017  |  0 comments

We’re putting together a fabulous lineup of speakers and presenters for keynote addresses, panels and workshops at the first Collaborative Journalism Summit — and we hope you’ll join us!

The symposium, set for May 4-5 at Montclair State University, will dive deeply into collaborative reporting and cooperative news networks. Space is limited, so reserve your seat now at collaborativejournalism.org.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the summit; we are actively seeking supporters who believe collaborative journalism is a key component of the media industry’s transformation. The projects and case studies we’ll highlight at the conference have shown that teamwork across traditional boundaries can result in more capacity, better distribution and ultimately greater impact — the groundbreaking Panama Papers project is one example.

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Financial struggles, access to officials, Trump administration policies among concerns of New Jersey ethnic media

Friday Jan 27, 2017  |  0 comments

A panel of five reporters and editors from ethnic media publications in New Jersey met this week with representatives from a handful of mainstream media outlets to share their editorial priorities and challenges for 2017.

Chief among the panel’s concerns was how to improve ethnic media’s access to public officials, how to tackle revenue growth, and how ethnic media can play an active role in protecting the rights of immigrants under the new administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

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