Interested in dialogue journalism, politics and civil civic conversations? Come help run Voting Block 2019

April 11, 2019 Stefanie Murray

The Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University is looking for a project manager to help run the second iteration of its Voting Block initiative in New Jersey.

Unlike the first effort in 2017, which focused on the governor’s race, Voting Block this year won’t be tied to an election. Also different this year is that we’re planning to focus solely on four New Jersey cities, hosting multiple dinners and facilitated conversations about politics with a small group of neighbors. Those cities this year will be Paterson, Camden, Trenton and Newark.

The goal: To bring neighbors who have political differences together over meals to discuss civic life and politics in their communities in a civil, constructive and productive way. We’ll also bring in legislators to join a dinner so our groups of neighbors have direct access to their local politicians, and will produce a 2020 People’s Agenda for each city at the end of the project.

This year we’re also planning the project to be more of a dialogue journalism effort, one in which we work with community partners in each city to recruit participants and host the dinners, and bring in the journalists in in a way that promotes ongoing conversation, learning, understanding and ultimately reporting.

We’re thrilled to partner with Spaceship Media, who will work with the Center and our project manager to guide Voting Block’s dialogue journalism work. Spaceship’s strategy is “go right to the heart of problematic situations by bringing people from communities in conflict – or that simply aren’t communicating – together into a journalism-supported dialogue. We amplify that process by working with our news partners to tell the stories that arise organically from those conversations.”

That’s exactly what we hope to do with Voting Block.

Our full job description for the project manager job is below. If you’re interested, email Stefanie Murray, director of the Center, at with your resume and a note about why you think this role could be a good fit.

Please note the job is a temporary, part-time, project-based role. We hope to find someone to start by early May, and expect the project to wrap up by the end of the year.

Job description for Voting Block Project Coordinator

The Voting Block project coordinator, Center for Cooperative Media, is a project-based role intended to provide program management and coordination for a grant-funded, 8-month initiative.

Reporting to the Director of the Center for Cooperative Media, the duties of the Voting Block project coordinator will include designing and executing a plan for the second year of Voting Block, which is a collaborative, community-focused initiative intended to seed and support civil political dialogue among neighbors from underserved communities in four New Jersey cities. Media organizations, who will first be trained in community listening, will be recruited and matched with each city for news coverage. This is a dialogue journalism project.

The Project Coordinator will organize and execute the Voting Block project, which will include:

— Reviewing and agreeing to a full scope of work with the Center director.
— Working with community organizations to recruit and manage community participants.
— Working with and coordinating the use of a facilitator for the conversations.
— Arranging locations and meals.
— Keeping in communication with the participants and facilitators as needed in between dinners.
— Working with Center director to coordinate collaborative media coverage.
— Collaborating with legislative representatives to arrange attendance at meals, as needed.
— Arranging creation of People’s Agenda.
— Working within allotted project budget.

The project manager will also:

— Consult with Spaceship Media as needed.
— Work with Center director, Center research director and outside evaluator to compile a final report reviewing the project, including an overview of the project and its goals, strengths, weaknesses and recommendations for improvement.
— Perform other duties as needed.

The above statements reflect the general details considered necessary to describe the principal functions of the job as identified, and shall not be considered as a detailed description of all work requirements that may be inherent in the position.

Superior organization, communication and interpersonal skills; highly-developed leadership skills; team and consensus building abilities; and the ability to work well with all personnel levels within the academic environment and among external audiences is required. Demonstrated editorial skills should include writing, basic knowledge of collaborative platforms including Google’s suite or Airtable, some web production and some multimedia content production. This role requires intentional, hands-on coordination by someone with a knack for coaching and commitment to building lasting relationships. Degree in journalism, communications or other related fields or disciplines from an accredited university is preferred but not required. At least five years of experience working in a non-profit, business or academic enterprise related to the fields of communication and journalism is preferred but not required.

A total of $13,000 over the project period.

If you’re interested, email Stefanie Murray, director of the Center, at with your resume and a note about why you think this role could be a good fit.

Stefanie Murray is the director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. Contact her at

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