Blog Posts

A Look Back at Your 2014 Brags

Wednesday Jan 07, 2015  |  1 comment

Well folks, it’s officially 2015. Here at the Center for Cooperative Media, that means it’s time for us to reflect on the previous year in the hopes that the next one will be even better. So, in the spirit of nostalgia and self-aggrandizement, here are some of the best brags of 2014 from across the NJ news ecosystem. (If you didn’t send a brag in after we asked, you just failed Marketing 101.)

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Judge: Parsippany Focus Protected by New Jersey Shield Law

Friday Sep 26, 2014  |  0 comments


Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 3.50.04 PM

Frank Cahill, main writer and chief editor of Parsippany Focus, an online newspaper serving the Parsippany-Troy Hills community.

In a victory for press freedom and online journalism in New Jersey, a Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of Frank Cahill, the chief writer and editor of his local online newspaper, Parsippany Focus. The ruling affirms that Cahill and the Focus are protected under New Jersey’s Shield Law.

Shield laws are meant to protect journalists from being forced to reveal their sources, and New Jersey’s Shield Law is often heralded as one of the strongest in the country. With the advent of the Internet, however, some people claimed that the lines between journalism and personal blogging had become blurred; that there was an inherent different between print and online journalism – and that’s where Frank Cahill and Parsippany Focus come in.

Bringing Data Into the Sunshine

Thursday Mar 20, 2014  |  0 comments


Imagine, says Waldo Jaquith, director of the U.S. Open Data Institute, that weather data was treated like much other government data. Say you had to file a Freedom of Information Request to get it, and when you did get it — weeks later — not only was the storm you were interested in long gone, but you got it as a PDF?

Luckily, in 1870, Congress established The Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce, which would ultimately become the National Weather Service. As a result, weather data is free and plentiful.

First print edition of New Brunswick Today. Credit: Charlie Kratovil
Digging Deep in New Brunswick

Monday Jan 06, 2014  |  1 comment

Two Rutgers graduates are doing local news in New Brunswick by going full throttle on investigative reporting.

New Brunswick Today is run by Sean Monahan, its 32-year-old publisher, and Charlie Kratovil, its 28-year-old editor. The two are determined to make this venture work both on the journalistic level and as a business proposition.

“We have a product that people really want,” Kratovil said during a recent interview. “People want the news. It helps that we are young and interested in our city and feeling positive. ”

Left to Right: Charlie Kratovil, editor, and Sean Monahan, publisher, of New Brunswick Today.

Left to Right: Charlie Kratovil, editor, and Sean Monahan, publisher, of New Brunswick Today. Credit: Debbie Galant

According to the duo, New Brunswick Today is doing well, with a roster of paid freelancers and volunteer staff, lots of media attention (Kratovil has been featured on Chasing New Jersey, and other stories and video have been picked up by News 12 New Jersey and Fox 5), a new print edition, and a grant from NJ News Commons for investigative journalism.

Dodge Foundation
Sharing to Survive

Wednesday Nov 27, 2013  |  0 comments

Sharing to Survive (via The Dodge Blog)

I know how hard it is to share. I’m a first child. I am hard-wired to want to be the first in everything: the best, the brightest, the most loved. Not only that, but I was born and bred to be a journalist. I grew up outside of Washington, DC, the…

Taking Stock of Anniversaries

Tuesday Oct 29, 2013  |  0 comments

For all the talk of journalism’s noble past and uncertain future, the truth is that journalism’s day-to-day is a lot like slinging hash. Everyday journalism is produced quickly, in massive quantities, in front of a live audience.

Think Rt. 22 diner, not Le Cirque. Cheeseburger, fries, soda. Crime tape, victim, arrest.

Hyperlocal Time Machine

Monday Jul 29, 2013  |  0 comments

Hyperlocal Manifesto: A Piece From 1880 in the Red Bank Register (via

It almost brought a tear to our eye when we came across a stirring piece in an 1880 copy of the Red Bank Register, apparently reprinted from the Burlington Hawkeye, “Iowa’s Oldest Newspaper.” Although it was written 130+ years ago, it seems more relevant…

Jerry demarco
DeMarco: Being First Was No Solace

Thursday Jul 18, 2013  |  0 comments

This is without doubt the first time I’m not proud of beating the competition by a good long time:

Former prosecutor Fahy suicide victim on Route 17

I wouldn’t have thought much of the initial suicide call, but law enforcement shut down both sides of the highway indefinitely during the height of the evening rush. What’s more, a photo someone sent me from the scene showed what looked like 20 officers from various agencies, local and county.

Tending to the Business Side

Thursday May 30, 2013  |  0 comments

When I started Baristanet, one of the first hyperlocal news sites in the country, in 2004, I didn’t realize I was starting a new industry.

Decline in Local News Audience
Pew: News Industry in Crisis

Monday Mar 18, 2013  |  2 comments

The state of the news business is lousy.  A week after the much-revered Boston Phoenix threw in the towel that’s hardly surprising news, but a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism is packed with statistics showing a weakened journalism profession that is losing reporting power, revenue and audience.

–Some 31 percent of respondents have reported deserting a news source because its quality has degenerated.
–Sports, weather and traffic now account for 40 percent of local TV news.
–Local TV news viewership among adults under 30 fell from 42 percent in 2006 to 28 percent in 2012.
–Mobile digital display is one of the fastest-growing ad markets, but news organizations aren’t getting much of a share. Some 72 percent of that market goes to six companies, including Facebook and Google.
–Some 63 percent of the public has little or no idea of the financial pressures facing news companies.
–At CNN, which invented the 24-hour TV news cycle, the number of produced story packages was cut in half between 2007 and 2012.

soddy daisy do
Booker’s #waywire to Topple Media Oligarchy

Saturday Mar 16, 2013  |  0 comments


Cory Booker is reinventing the future of media in America and that future is … Portlandia. Or perhaps, Williamsburgia. His new video-sharing platform #waywire, an upstart competitor to YouTube with $1.75 million in backing, is a world where hipsters look for the funniest-sounding town in America and see what’s tweeting there. Today, that’s Soddy-Daisy, TN, where #waywire’s #TweetTap team uncovered the nugget of Americana that is a Walmart parking lot barbecue.

Booker’s new video sharing platform #waywire was in the news this week for naming a 14-year-old to its board of advisors, falling prey to anti-Semetic video posts, and being talked about at SXSW, at least by the mayor himself, who was also a headliner.

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