#5Questions with New Jersey Media Leaders

New Jersey Media: #5Questions with Jason Allentoff of Jersey Shore Online

Each week, the Center for Cooperative Media introduces you to one of its partners in the New Jersey news ecosystem. The Center facilitates a network of New Jersey local news publishers, called the NJ News Commons, who collaborate together on projects, share content and ideas, and support one another.

Name: Jason Allentoff
Title: General Manager/Editor-In-Chief, Micromedia Publications/Jersey Shore Online
Age: 35
Current residence: Ocean County, NJ
Originally from: Brooklyn, NY
Contact info: (732) 657-7344 or jallentoff@jerseyshoreonline.com

 

Tell us about yourself:
I first got the “news bug” while watching Linda Ellerbee on Nick News as a kid – later it was Katie Couric & Matt Lauer on The Today Show. In high school, I attended a performing arts program with a concentration on video production. The ENG (electronic news gathering) portion was a highlight. In college, I studied radio, television and film and landed my first job in news as a reporter for Townsquare Media while still attending classes. At one point, I was taking a full course load, running the news department at Monmouth University’s WMCX and working as a reporter/anchor for WOBM. After earning my bachelor’s degree in communication, Townsquare hired me full time and I eventually worked my way up to morning drive news anchor. After eight years, I decided to leave news for sales – that’s when I landed at Micromedia. This led to me taking over as GM/Editor-In-Chief. I also serve as the company’s webmaster and social media director.

Tell us about your publication:
Micromedia Publications was founded 22 years ago for the purpose of publishing high-quality weekly newspapers in Ocean County. What started out as one paper has turned into seven successful publications, including one in Monmouth County. When I joined the staff in 2013, they had absolutely no web presence. I worked to develop an enhanced news website and social media pages. On June 30th of this year, we launched JerseyShoreOnline.com, a hyperlocal site update daily, with editorial content from the newspapers and advertising opportunities for small, medium and large businesses. It’s also great to see all seven papers in every Wawa in Ocean County.

What makes you get up and go to work every day?
They say when you love what you do, it isn’t really working. My job allows me to meet new people, help businesses to grow and inform the local residents about important issues they should care about. I’m also blessed with a great staff who always go above and beyond for the company.

What are you most passionate about when it comes to journalism?
Giving our readers greater knowledge and understanding of their community is what makes this all work. It’s my hope that the stories we craft in our papers and on our website are conversation starters.

What do think makes the Jersey Shore different than other coastal areas and beaches? Or, put another way, why is the Jersey Shore special to you?
Thanks to MTV, the Jersey Shore has had a few hiccups in the reputation department. I recently met someone from Hawaii who moved here and she made a comment to me that we are nothing like those GTL people on “that” show. I love the Jersey Shore, the place, not the show, because it’s very unique. We are all wrapped up in the day-to-day of our lives, but there is a sense of community when you say you’re from the Jersey Shore. The way everyone came together after Superstorm Sandy was amazing. I don’t think you would find such camaraderie anywhere else.

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