Tech assistance, WordPress coaching available for local New Jersey news outlets as part of pilot project

July 24, 2017 Joe Amditis

One of the most common requests we get from partners of the Center for Cooperative Media and members of the NJ News Commons is this: I need tech help!

Connecting New Jersey news outlets with the resources they need to be successful is important to the Center’s mission of growing and strengthening local journalism in the Garden State. In the past, we’ve hosted workshops and webinars to address questions like this, and we’ve connected journalists directly with technologists for one-off requests.

Now we’re going to try something different.

The Center is coordinating a three-month pilot project through which Montclair State University adjunct professor Martin Halo will provide technology coaching to members of the NJ News Commons network through his business Percy Cole Media. This shared service experiment is funded by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

This kind of help is commonly provided by paid membership organizations. But many of the people we work with are small, independent and entrepreneurial organizations that aren’t members of such groups. Our goal is to help journalists in our state, especially the folks at those smaller, often hyperlocal outlets, improve their digital skills and resolve tech problems. We also want to gain a deeper understanding of exactly what kind of tech help is needed so we can investigate how to facilitate ongoing assistance.

Halo, who will provide the technology help and coaching directly to individual NJ News Commons members, is especially well-versed in WordPress, which is the content management system most commonly used by organizations in our network.

Halo is a media manager and web developer with more than nine years of experience in content management systems and publishing. Halo is a 2006 graduate of Monmouth University and has been teaching digital media-related courses as an adjunct professor at Montclair State University since 2013.

Last month, Halo led a WordPress training for the Center and its NJ News Commons network. That training session covered a WordPress tools, tips, and tricks aimed at helping optimize site performance, improve SEO ranking and create custom CSS styles and other variations of WordPress themes. Click here to learn more about the tools and topics covered during the training session.

NJ News Commons members who would like to request tech help should fill out this Google Form. If you have questions, let us know by emailing

Are you a member of the NJ News Commons?
Click here to request tech help.

And if you aren’t a member of the NJ News Commons but want to join, this page contains everthing you need to know about membership.

About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. The Center is supported with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and Democracy Fund. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism, and in doing so serve New Jersey residents. For more information, visit

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Joe Amditis

Joe Amditis is the associate director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. He can be reached via email at and on Twitter at @jsamditis.

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