Theory of change

When industry-leading training is provided; collaboration is prioritized; timely research is shared; funding is put directly into the hands of the people who produce and distribute local news and information; and equity drives all decisions, it will result in more informed, engaged and strong communities.

More specifically:

Funding is a significant factor in the success of local news and information ecosystems, and it historically has not been equitably distributed. We believe putting funding directly into the hands of the people who produce and distribute local news and information will lead to a healthier, more equitable news ecosystem.

Training and support are vital when it comes to keeping up with industry standards and ongoing technological innovation. We believe training and helping organizations become more proficient in journalistic tools and practices will lead to more informed communities.

Community building and cooperation are necessary to maintaining healthy relationships between peers and cohort members. We believe that healthy relationships and open collaboration allow partners to lean on each other in times of upheaval and disruption, leading to better outcomes for everyone involved.

Wide collaboration across the entire media industry is critical and can help solve shared problems, enhance journalism and build audience trust. We believe that support for collaborations of all sizes and research about their work will lead to these outcomes.

Research is the only way to truly understand the bigger picture and gain empirical insights into the media landscape. Timely and accurate research gives news organizations the information they need to make informed decisions, leading to more intentional and efficient applied solutions.

An equity focus ensures that all of our decisions are considered and implemented through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Keeping this focus at the forefront of our programs and initiatives allows us to work toward reversing historical and structural oppression in our industry and beyond, leading to stronger communities and a more healthy distribution of power.

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 Montclair State University, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy 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