NJ News Commons


Are you a news or information provider based in New Jersey? Then you should be a member of our flagship project, the NJ News Commons.

What is the NJ News Commons?

The Center for Cooperative Media’s mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism for the benefit of New Jersey residents. We are a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. Our flagship project is the NJ News Commons, which is a network of media outlets across the state including hyperlocal digital publishers, public media, nonprofits, television, radio and newspaper organizations, that work together on collaborative projects, share content, network and generally support one another. Because the Center is a grant-funded initiative at Montclair State University, most of what we offer our members is provided at no cost to them.

All we ask in return is that members show up. You don’t have to pay to join: all you have to do is participate.

We invite any and all New Jersey news and information organizations to join the NJ News Commons.

The following page specifically outlines what membership in the NJ News Commons entails in order to give prospective members a better idea of what to expect if they choose to become a part of our network.

What does the NJ News Commons do?

This group shares content, collaborates on stories, stays in touch with each other through social media, and supports one another as the industry changes. Here’s a look at some of the coverage our efforts have received over the last few years.

Click on the tabs below to learn more:

Dirty Little Secrets: Investigating New Jersey’s Toxic Legacy was a collaborative reporting project aimed at identifying and exposing potential and lesser-known sources of environmental contamination across the Garden State. Read more about Dirty Little Secrets on our project homepage or check out coverage of the project below:

In the Shadow of Liberty was a crowdfunded, year-long collaborative reporting effort on the subject of immigration in New Jersey. Shadow of Liberty was launched and coordinated by the Center for Cooperative Media and NJ Spotlight. Read more about Shadow of Liberty on the project homepage or check out some of the relevant coverage and links below:

Voting Block, a New Jersey collaborative reporting effort. The project involves several major news organizations in the state who will explore the gubernatorial election — and political divisions — through the eyes of one neighborhood. Each news outlet will follow a group of neighbors throughout the summer and fall as the race develops, holding events and online discussion groups.

Current reporting partners include WNYCWHYYWBGONJ SpotlightThe Record of the USA Today Network and New America Media, along with more than two dozen local and hyperlocal partners from across New Jersey. Editorial components of the project are being coordinated by the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University, and audience engagement is being coordinated by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.

NJ Mobile News Lab
The NJ Mobile News Lab launched in 2016 with the goal of funding three mobile news experiments by local publishers in New Jersey. The Dodge Foundation gave the Center for Cooperative Media $20,000 to address this issue by funding mobile news experiments for local publishers in New Jersey. With their support, we launched the NJ Mobile News Lab. Read more on the NJ Mobile News Lab homepage or check out the relevant coverage and links below:

How U.S Publishers Are Using a New App to Reach Mobile Users More Affordably | International Center for Journalists

With Push, small publishers have a cheaper, quicker way to develop their own mobile apps | Nieman Lab

Life After the Newsroom/Life After Layoff:

In New Jersey, Only a Few Media Watchdogs Are Left | New York Times

Local/national partnership program:

Collaborate or die: A new initiative wants to make it easier for national and local outlets to work together | Nieman Lab

Hack Jersey 2.0 (hackathon):

Learning About Messy NJ Data through Hacking at Hack Jersey 2.0 | NJ Tech Weekly

NJ News Commons membership criteria, community guidelines and FAQs


Below is a list of basic definitions of the terms that we use to describe the various types of relationships and associations different entities have with the Center:

– Funders are organizations and/or individuals who provide funding or financial support to the Center

– Partners are peers and/or organizations who work with or are affiliated with the Center with some regularity.

– Members are local news and/or information providers who belong to the NJ News Commons.

– Friends are individuals who may or may not be in the local news and information industry, but have some interest or stake in the fate of the industry and the players who inhabit it, and who associate with the Center with some regularity.


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

– Be a news and information provider who serves residents of the state of New Jersey.

– 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.

– 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 News Commons to:

– Recognize the value of cooperation and seek opportunities to collaborate for the benefit of citizens.

– Remain open to opportunities to work with the Center and its partners.

– 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.

– Attend CCM events, trainings, and other initiatives that are relevant to their interests and availability.

– Participate in various surveys and information-gathering initiatives.


Members of the NJ 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 News Commons Facebook group, Slack channel, and other communication channels.

– Subscription to a daily New Jersey news email 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 News Commons and Center logo on your website and printed products.


Do I have to pay to join the NJ News Commons or the Center?

No. The Center is a grant-funded program based at a state university and the NJ News Commons is our flagship project. 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 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 News Commons is one of the Center’s flagship project and it refers specifically to the network of New Jersey media organizations who have agreed to be members of the Commons.

Who funds you?

We are currently funded by Montclair State University, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Abrams Foundation.

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 News Commons or the Center?

While only media organizations and independent journalists or freelancers can be official members of the NJ 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.


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

– 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.

– 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.

– 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.

– 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.

– 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.

– Watch your language. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of hateful speech will not be tolerated. There is a difference between criticizing ideas and attacking people on the basis of their race, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, etc.

– Avoid blatantly commercial or spam-like material. Sharing information that is intended solely for commercial purposes is not permitted.

– 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.

Questions? Contact us:

Stefanie Murray, Director
Email: murrayst@mail.montclair.edu
Office: (973) 655-3879

Joe Amditis, Associate Director
Email: amditisj@mail.montclair.edu
Office: (973) 655-5554

Sarah Stonbely, Research Director
Email: stonbelys@montclair.edu
Office: (973) 655-5541