NJ College News Commons membership criteria, community guidelines and FAQs

The New Jersey College News Commons is a network of student journalists, publishers, and media organizations that have agreed to communicate and work together in order to improve the quality and sustainability of student journalism in the Garden State. It is modeled after the NJ News Commons network.

The role of the Center is to help connect, grow, and strengthen campus and student media outlets at New Jersey colleges and universities. We do this by maintaining and facilitating communications channels between partners and organizations. All New Jersey college or university news and information providers are invited to join the NJ College News Commons.

Click here join the NJ College News Commons.

NOTE: When applying, select “Member” under the first question in the application.

The following document specifically outlines what membership in the NJ College News Commons entails and should provide prospective members with an idea of what to expect if they choose to become a part of our growing network.


Members of the NJ College News Commons receive the following benefits:

  • Access to the resources available from the Center for Cooperative Media, including business and journalism coaching.
  • Access to a private NJ College News Commons Facebook group, Slack channel, and other communication channels.
  • Subscription to the bi-weekly Campus Beat newsletter.
  • Subscription to a monthly newsletter from the Center.
  • Access to trainings, events, workshops, meetups, and other initiatives related to the industry, coordinated by the Center and its partners.
  • Access to Montclair State University faculty and facilities (facilities available by request and only upon approval by university administrators). Click here to submit a request.
  • Use of the NJ College News Commons, NJ News Commons, and Center for Cooperative Media logo on your website and printed products.


To be accepted as a member of the NJ College News Commons, organizations must:

  1. Be a news and information provider who serves college or university students in the state of New Jersey.
  2. Adhere to a commonly-accepted professional journalism code of ethics, such as the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics or a comparable code, and indicate to us which code they follow.
  3. Agree to abide by our Community Guidelines (see below).

Failure to meet any of those three criteria is grounds for removal from the network.

Additionally, we encourage members of the NJ College News Commons to:

  1. Recognize the value of cooperation and seek opportunities to collaborate for the benefit of NJ residents and students.
  2. Remain open to opportunities to work with the Center, its partners, and members of the NJ News Commons.
  3. Communicate with the Center to help us identify and address needs, issues, concerns, challenges, opportunities, and goals of our partners and others in the local news and information industry.
  4. Attend CCM and NJCNC events, trainings, and other initiatives that are relevant to their interests and availability.
  5. Participate in various surveys and information-gathering initiatives.


These guidelines govern how we expect NJ College News Commons members to interact with each other. We ask members of the NJ College News Commons and all partners of the Center to conduct themselves according to the following guidelines:

  1. Respect the privacy and personal information of others. No doxing. We strongly discourage people from publishing personal information about others. Do not share personal information about other people that violate their right to privacy.
  2. Be courteous and constructive. For the sake of a strong and healthy debate, we aim to foster constructive and focused discussion between our members and partners.
  3. Be open to debate and dissent. One of the most important requirements for maintaining a vibrant intellectual space is to promote and focus on the intelligent discussion of ideas. We are all still learning and no one knows everything.
  4. Be honest and truthful. Try to be clear and straightforward about what you are saying, but remember that people may interpret your contribution differently than you originally intended. Avoid knowingly disseminating false or misleading information.
  5. Refrain from personal attacks. Threats and abuse will not be tolerated. We don’t want to stifle debate, but we ask you to find ways to share your views without being divisive, threatening or toxic to others.
  6. Watch your language. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of hateful speech will not be tolerated. There is a difference between criticising ideas and attacking people on the basis of their race, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, etc.
  7. Avoid blatantly commercial or spam-like material. Sharing information that is intended solely for commercial purposes is not permitted.
  8. Moderators have the final say. When it comes to online forums, groups, and other communication channels, our moderation style is pretty tolerant. Most forms of self-expression are fine, even some of the more colorful or questionable forms, but try not to go overboard. Moderators of our online communities reserve the right to edit or remove a post if it violates any of the above guidelines.


  • Do I have to pay to join the NJ College News Commons or become a partner of the Center?
    • No. The Center is a grant-funded program based at a state university and the NJ College News Commons is one of our flagship projects. At this time, we do not charge membership dues. Some of our trainings, events and conferences have registration fees, which will be clearly noted on registration forms.
  • What’s the difference between the Center for Cooperative Media and the NJ College News Commons?
    • The Center for Cooperative Media is a grant-funded program based at the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University, and its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism for the benefit of citizens in New Jersey. The NJ College News Commons is one of the Center’s flagship projects and it refers specifically to the network of media organizations and individuals at NJ colleges and universities who have agreed to be members of the Commons.
  • Who funds you?
    • The Center for Cooperative Media is currently funded by Montclair State University, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Learn more about our funders here.
  • Will you fund me?
    • In the past, the Center has been able to re-grant money to seed startups, pay for business coaching, pay for reporting on collaborative projects and fund mobile journalism experiments. Each of these grant opportunities has been project-based, however; the Center is not currently funded to make ongoing operational grants. You can learn about project-based funding we offer by being sure to read our daily and monthly newsletters.
  • What if I’m not a journalist, but I own a technology company/marketing organization/am a communications professor, etc., and want to be affiliated with the NJ College News Commons or the Center?
    • While only college or university media organizations and independent journalists or freelancers can be official members of the NJ College News Commons, the Center for Cooperative Media partners with all kinds of different companies, groups and organizations that have a vested interested in support a healthy news and information ecosystem. If you are interested in partnering with us, click here to send us your information.

Click here to join the NJ College News Commons.

Questions? Contact us:

Molly Jenkins, NJCNC coordinator
Email: [email protected]