After the pandemic: Reporting on NJ underserved communities

Six-month fellowship will support up to 10 New Jersey journalists

As the COVID-19 pandemic finally wanes, big challenges still lie ahead of us. New Jersey’s vaccination rate has still not reached herd-immunity threshold while threats of the Delta variant of the coronavirus looms large. The economic fallout from the pandemic continues to batter communities of color in the state, which will be greatly exacerbated once eviction restrictions end. This fall the state will have gubernatorial and congressional elections, as well.

In these challenging times post-pandemic—when it is more important than ever for journalists to play a role in disseminating reliable information— the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University is launching a new six-month reporting fellowship, “After the pandemic: Reporting on NJ underserved communities.” This fellowship program aims to support up to 10 journalists from New Jersey’s community and ethnic press.

This fellowship will run from July to December 2021. Monthly news briefings on various topics of timely interest and general relevance will be provided, along with access to experts and public officials in the state, translation services and fact sheets. Fellows will receive stipends of $2,000 each and opportunities for potential reporting partnerships with a large mainstream New Jersey media organization.

Each fellow will be encouraged to produce at least one story per topical briefing, or at least a total of six stories within the six months of the fellowship. For any fellows paired with a general market reporter, stories produced from the partnership are counted as part of the required number of fellowship stories.

For six months, fellows receive guidance and mentorship from the Center and its partner media organizations. The fellowship is supported with funding from the Democracy Fund.

All reporting fellows are required to adhere to the Center’s professional ethics and corrections policy.

List of current fellows:

  1. Phillip Han, Miju Weekly News NJ (Korean)
  2. Aleksandra Slabisz, Nowy Dziennik (Polish)
  3. Maricarmen Amado, NJ Hispano (Latino)
  4. Kaushik Amin, Radio Dil (Hindi)
  5. Kleibeel Marcano, Reporte Hispano (Latino)
  6. Selcuk Acar, Turkish Journal (Turkish)
  7. Mohsin Zaheer, Urdu News (Pakistani)
  8. Gregg Morris, NJ Urban News (African American)
  9. Joe Wei, The World Journal (Chinese)
  10. Joseph Clyde Hughes, Jr., Frontrunner New Jersey (African American)

Latest reporting from our fellows:

Meet the Latino immigrants in New Jersey who are fully vaccinated — but want a booster shot to be more protected

More and more Latinos in the state are now seeing the importance of getting fully vaccinated to contain the spread of the coronavirus, some Latino community leaders said. Despite the continuing threats of vaccine disinformation, the surging Delta variant has been driving them to get the shot.

By Maricarmen Amado
August 25, 2021
New Jersey Hispano

Read the English version.

They waited and hesitated. Finally, with Delta raging, Pakistani immigrants in New Jersey are now getting the shot.

In the New Jersey and New York areas, at least, there are two groups of unvaccinated Pakistani Americans: those who still refute the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines and the other are those who say they are willing to get vaccinated but are procrastinating.

By Moshin Zaheer
August 23, 2021
Urdu News

Read the English version.

For some Korean restaurants in New Jersey that received millions in federal aid, uncertainty still looms as new COVID-19 cases surge

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund has served as a lifeline to a number of Korean restaurants hit hard by the pandemic. But optimism may be threatened again by the surging coronavirus cases from the spread of the Delta variant in New Jersey.

By Phillip Han
August 13, 2021
Miju News (Korean Business Journal)

Read the English version.

A stark divide on COVID-19 vaccinations leaves many Polish Americans in New Jersey at risk

“There’s no Delta. It’s all a scam,” said Marlena K. Despite the warnings about the Delta variant and assurances that the vaccines against COVID-19 have been sufficiently tested and are safe, some Polish Americans in New Jersey remain skeptical.

By Aleksandra Slabisz
August 13, 2021
Nowy Dziennik (Polish Daily News)

Read the English version.

As COVID-19 cases rise, vaccine hesitancy still high among Latinos in New Jersey

Mistrust of the effectives and safety of COVID-19 vaccines deters many Latinos in New Jersey from getting vaccinated. Latest census data shows that Latinos represent 20 percent of New Jersey’s total population.

By Kleibeel Marcano
August 8, 2021
Reporte Hispano

Read the English version.

Black, Latino vaccination rates improve as Delta variant dominates NJ

In South Jersey, Camden City, which has a majority African American and Latino population, has one of the highest percentages of unvaccinated people in the state, with 45 percent still not vaccinated.

By Clyde Hughes
July 30, 2021
Frontrunner New Jersey

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 support an informed society in New Jersey and beyond. The Center is supported with funding from Montclair State University, the Geraldine R. Dodge FoundationDemocracy Fund, the New Jersey Local News Lab (a partnership of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, and Community Foundation of New Jersey), and the Abrams Foundation. For more information, visit