Deadline extended for NJ News Commons Excellence in Local News awards

January 9, 2018
January 9, 2018 Joe Amditis

UPDATE: The deadline for submissions has been extended! The new deadline is now Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 at 11:59pm EST.

It’s been another tough year for local journalism.

News organizations are battling issues of misinformation and trust. There have been attacks on press freedom. And local news providers are still trying to figure out how to financially sustain their work in the shadow of behemoth platforms that seem to gobble up more control of audience and revenue every day.

Yet, local journalists are still here and are still pumping out the local news and information your community relies on. That hard work should not go unnoticed.

With that in mind, we’re excited to announce the inaugural NJ News Commons Excellence in Local News awards for original local journalism produced in 2017.

There are six award categories: the Engage Local award, the Collaborate Local award, the Sustain Local award, the Innovate Local award, the Investigate Local award and the NJ News Commons Partner of the Year.

  • The Engage Local award will go to a journalist(s) or news organization that relied heavily on community engagement or similar practices as a major source or aspect of their reporting.
  • The Sustain Local award will go to a journalist(s) or news organization that found innovative and effective new ways to address revenue and sustainability issues.
  • The Collaborate Local award will go to a journalist(s) or news organization that leveraged the power of cooperative or strategic partnerships to take their reporting beyond what would have been possible on their own.
  • The Investigate Local award will go to a journalist(s) or news organization whose investigative reporting efforts had a demonstrable impact on the community they serve.
  • The Innovate Local award will go to a journalist(s) or news organization that used new and emerging technologies or strategies to enhance and improve the value and impact of their reporting efforts.
  • The winner of the NJ News Commons Partner of the Year award will go to a journalist or news organization that showed overall excellence in their work in 2017.

The NJ News Commons Excellence in Local News awards will honor outstanding achievements in local journalism during 2017 by online, print, broadcast, photo, radio, multimedia and other local journalists who are based in New Jersey.

Entries will be judged by a panel including a representative from the Center for Cooperative Media, a representative from the faculty at the Montclair State University School of Communication and Media,  a representative from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, a representative from SPJ’s New Jersey chapter, and the previous year’s NJ News Commons Partner of the Year winner. (This year, of course, there will be no Partner of the Year rep, since this is the first time we are giving out that award.)

The deadline for submissions is Friday, January 12, 2018 at 11:59pm EST.  The winners will be notified within two weeks of the submissions deadline, and announced publicly the following day. All award winners and their guests will be honored at a luncheon reception in late January.

Award winners will receive a certificate, a logo that can be placed on the winner’s website and/or print publication and a $100 cash prize.


  1. The contest is open to members of the NJ News Commons.
  2. All entries must focus on local topics related to New Jersey.
  3. All entries must have been published or broadcast in 2017.
  4. Work published or broadcast while working as a student or intern is eligible, as long as it was published or broadcast by a NJ News Commons member news organization.
  5. Unpublished manuscripts, classroom exercises and unaired news broadcasts do not qualify. Any work found to be unpublished, unaired or a classroom exercise will be disqualified. A classroom exercise is defined as work assigned for a grade or fulfillment of a course requirement and is not eligible for a Excellence in Local News award unless it was also published outside of class in the campus/local newspaper, campus/local broadcast stations or website.


  1. For entries not originally published or broadcast in English, please include an English translation.
  2. Entries that are incomplete will be disqualified. We will not be able to notify entrants of such disqualification.
  3. Material submitted for the contest will not be returned.
  4. Winning entries may be reproduced or posted on the Center for Cooperative Media’s website and other digital properties for publicity, educational or other purposes.
  5. If it is not already apparent, please mark the date of publication or broadcast on all items submitted.
  6. Each contestant may enter as many categories as desired, but please submit no more than two entries per category. There is no limit on the number of entries you can submit.
  7. Be sure the name of each journalist who worked on the entry is listed as a collaborator on the entry form and that their name is spelled correctly.
  8. A maximum of four people can be named on a team entry. Otherwise, the entry should be submitted in the name of the newspaper, magazine, station or online news site.
  9. Scripts for broadcast entries are optional, but recommended.

If you have any additional questions, comments or concerns, please send an email to

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

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Joe Amditis

Joe Amditis is the associate director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. He can be reached via email at and on Twitter at @jsamditis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.