Blog Posts

Voting Block expands, launches statewide citizen engagement campaign; sign up to host a ‘Political Potluck’

Wednesday Jul 19, 2017  |  0 comments

Last month we announced the launch of Voting Block, a collaborative reporting initiative to cover New Jersey’s upcoming gubernatorial election through the lens of neighborhoods across the state.

Voting Block started with four initial reporting partners –WNYC, WHYY, NJ Spotlight and The Record – and is being coordinated by the Center for Cooperative Media, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and New America Media. The first stories have been rich; we’ve learned about residents and their concerns in Paulsboro, Westwood, Long Valley and West Orange. We plan to follow them throughout the summer and fall leading into Election Day, with a focus on their thoughts on the governor’s race.

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Coming Soon: A new high-tech home for the School of Communication and Media

Wednesday Jul 12, 2017  |  0 comments

When it opens this fall, the new state-of-the-art home for the School of Communication and Media will be the most technologically advanced broadcast and media production facility at any university in the nation. The new building embodies Montclair State University’s commitment to providing future media and communication professionals with the leading-edge training and skills they need for career success.

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Common New Jersey media law questions answered in ‘News Law FAQ’ booklet; here’s how to order one

Monday Jul 10, 2017  |  0 comments

Two years ago, the Rutgers Institute for Information Policy and Law launched the News Law Project, which was intended to help answer common media-related questions under New Jersey law.

The News Law Project solicited questions from journalists in the Garden State and worked with Rutgers Law School students to answer them. The project was lead by Professor Ellen P. Goodman and funded by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

A list of frequently asked questions was created from the students’ research and published online. The FAQ includes answers to questions such as “Am I responsible as the “author” when I edit website comments?,” and “Do I have to worry about privacy when I post videos of people online?.”

To make these important and helpful FAQs available to as many New Jersey journalists as possible, the Center for Cooperative Media, in partnership with Goodman, designed and printed booklets of the FAQs. The booklets, about 40 pages in length, are available to be distributed to journalists across the state.

Fill out the form below to request booklets to be mailed to you.

You can also:

And if you’re a New Jersey journalist with other legal questions, be sure to check out the Center’s legal resources web page.

Questions? Email Stefanie Murray, director of the Center for Cooperative Media, at murrayst@montclair.edu.

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 CenterforCooperativeMedia.org.

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More than 70 proposals submitted for collaborative reporting project funding in first open call

Friday Jun 30, 2017  |  0 comments

Winners to be announced in early August

When we closed the application window today in our first open call for funding to support collaborative reporting projects, we were thrilled with the result — an amazing 72 proposals.

Proposals came in from all over the U.S., from radio and television stations, newspapers, hyperlocal digital outlets, nonprofits, universities and independent journalists. We had quite a few international inquiries as well.

The Center for Cooperative Media intends to provide six grants of up to $7,000 each to fund meaningful, impactful journalism as a result of this open call. This support is made possible thanks to generous funding from Rita Allen Foundation and Democracy Fund.

Our goal is to notify grant winners by the end of the month and announce them publicly during the first week of August.

The judges for the open call include Heather Bryant, a John S. Knight Fellow studying collaborative journalism at Stanford University; Jon Funabiki, professor of journalism at San Francisco State University and executive director of Renaissance Journalism; Scott Klein, deputy managing editor at ProPublica; Ju-Don Marshall Roberts, chief content officer at WFAE; and Jan Schaffer, executive director of J-Lab.

Thanks to everyone who helped us spread the word far and wide for this effort. We appreciate your support.

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Local news publishers in New Jersey learn WordPress tips and tricks at training session

Wednesday Jun 28, 2017  |  0 comments

As many site owners and indie publishers will tell you, paying money to a developer to do things that you aren’t trained to do yourself can end up costing you a lot of money.

“It’s just like going into an auto repair shop to get your used card fixed,” instructor Martin Halo told a room full of local publishers and reporters on Tuesday during a WordPress training event hosted by the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. “At the very least,” Halo continued, “you should have some understanding of the basics, otherwise you’re much more likely to get ripped off.”

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USC journalism students Cristina Galvan, left, and Almond Li worked on stories for Alexa in the “Advanced Journalism for Mobile and Emerging Platforms” class. Photo by Alan Middlesteadt via MediaShift.
Local publishers should pay attention to the rise of smart speakers

Monday Jun 26, 2017  |  0 comments

This post was originally published on June 15, 2017 via the NJ Mobile News Lab.

Over the next six months, so-called “smart speakers” like the Amazon Echo and Google Home are expected to reach an estimated 36 million active users, according to a study by eMarketer. Meanwhile, Apple recently announced plans to introduce its own smart speaker, “which comes in the form of a bulbous appliance rather awkwardly called the HomePod,” writes Nicholas Quah.

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Open call for collaborative reporting projects expanded as Democracy Fund matches Rita Allen Foundation support

Tuesday Jun 20, 2017  |  0 comments

Apply today; deadline is June 30

One of the things I was most proud to announce at the Collaborative Journalism Summit in early May was the launch of a fund to support collaborative reporting projects. We announced the launch of that funding with an open call for projects — we planned to award three grants of $7,000 each — thanks to support from the Rita Allen Foundation.

Now, I’m thrilled to say we’ve doubled the fund!

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Photo credit: Richard Yeh/WNYC
Voting Block, a New Jersey collaborative reporting project on governor’s race, launches today

Monday Jun 12, 2017  |  0 comments

This fall’s gubernatorial election will mark a pivotal moment for the state of New Jersey.

Chris Christie, the governor with the lowest approval ratings in history, will leave office following a tumultuous eight years as head of the Garden State. The critical election to replace him will play out against a backdrop of national political division and turmoil.

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Bill introduced to create and fund New Jersey Civic Information Consortium; aim is to support news and information initiatives

Thursday Jun 01, 2017  |  0 comments

This article is cross-posted with permission from NewsVoices.org. 

On Thursday, the majority leaders of the New Jersey State Assembly and Senate introduced legislation to establish the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium, an initiative joining New Jersey’s leading universities in support of the news-and-information needs of communities statewide.

The legislation, introduced by State Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D–Camden) and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D–Bergen), would allocate $100 million in proceeds from the federal broadcast-incentive auction, in which the sale of the licenses of New Jersey public-television stations WNJN and WNJT brought in more than $330 million in revenues to the state. The funding for the Civic Information Consortium would be allocated in $20-million annual disbursements over a five-year period.

The consortium would provide grants to support news-and-information projects and programs to benefit civic life and meet the information needs of underserved New Jersey communities. The consortium would be a partnership with Montclair State University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University and Rutgers University. The legislation establishes a governing structure for the consortium while providing initial funding for grants to organizations engaged in this work.

In late 2016, Free Press Action Fund launched a campaign via its News Voices: New Jersey project to urge lawmakers to set aside proceeds from the Federal Communications Commission auction of public-TV station licenses to give residents the news and information they need. In March, Free Press Action Fund and participating universities proposed the formation of the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium to support projects that strengthen public-interest journalism, advance research in the media field, develop and deploy civic technology, and promote civic engagement.

“This legislation is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address the local news crisis and make New Jersey a model for the rest of the nation,” said Mike Rispoli, the director of the News Voices: New Jersey project.

“People rely on locally produced news and information to engage with their neighbors, learn about volunteer opportunities, make decisions about voting, run for public office, get information about small businesses and support their children in local schools,” added Rispoli, who testified on the consortium before both New Jersey chambers earlier this year. “The Civic Information Consortium would support projects that strengthen the kind of public-interest journalism and innovation in civic media that the people of New Jersey urgently need.”

“New Jersey continues to see its media landscape erode as the sector shrinks,” said Dan Gurksis, dean of Montclair State University College of the Arts. “A strong local media ecosystem is important to foster a healthy democracy. Timely, accurate and insightful information is necessary for all New Jersey residents to participate effectively in civic activities. Now is a critical time to invest in rebuilding our news-and-information ecosystem for the benefit of residents in the Garden State.”

“At a time when most newspapers and TV stations keep cutting staff and reducing local news coverage, this bill is a pioneering effort by lawmakers to meet the information needs of New Jersey’s underserved local towns and counties through partnerships between those communities and the state’s public universities,” said Juan González, professor of professional practice at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information, and co-host of Democracy Now!

According to the legislation, the consortium would report annually to the New Jersey governor and legislature and regularly solicit public input from local communities. To be eligible for a grant, proposals would need to include a collaboration between at least one university faculty member or graduate student and at least one local community organization, media organization or representative of the technology sector. This would ensure that consortium funds are used in communities and outside of a university setting.

Over the past two years, Free Press Action Fund’s News Voices: New Jersey project has worked to build stronger connections between residents and reporters and ensure that local journalism serves community needs. News Voices has convened meetings and helped build networks in Asbury Park, Atlantic City, Camden, Glassboro, Montclair, Morristown, Newark and New Brunswick.

For more information, please visit newsvoices.org. 

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Why are publishers abandoning Facebook Instant Articles?

Thursday May 25, 2017  |  0 comments

This post was originally published via the NJ Mobile News Lab blog on May 25, 2017.

Instant Articles were marketed as a publishing game-changer when Facebook first made them available to a select group of major publishers back in 2015. A year later, publishers of all sizes were given access to the new format. Instant Articles promised faster load times, which would reduce the number of users that jumped ship and moved on to the next story when yours took too long to load.

“This is a problem that impacts publishers of all sizes,” Facebook claimed in a blog post announcing the expansion of the feature. “Especially those with audiences where low connectivity is an issue.”

While that may be true, it appears that faster loading times aren’t high enough on the publishing hierarchy of needs in order to guarantee that publishers will continued to use them — especially if they don’t lead to increases in revenue.

Collaborative Journalism Summit: Cooperative news networks often form in response to events, out of necessity

Friday May 12, 2017  |  0 comments

Whether responding to events, making the best of limited resources or reflecting community traditions, cooperative journalism ventures are forging pathways across an altered media landscape.

Illustrating the possibilities, panelists and audience members shared such experiences in a session on “Building a Cooperative News Network” during the Collaborative Journalism Summit, held May 4-5 at Montclair State University and hosted by the Center for Cooperative Media.

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