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. (more…)

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

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. (more…)

Dodge Foundation
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…



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. (more…)

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

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. (more…)


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. (more…)

Decline in Local News Audience

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


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.




In his latest blog post, “Hyperlocal Cooties,” Jeff Jarvis frets that recent retrenchment by Carll Tucker’s Daily Voice and staff cuts at Patch might make people give up on the concept of hyperlocal. He offers a post mortem on many of the “cootied corpses” of failed hyperlocal, from BackFence to Everyblock, and acknowledges a maxim that most independent hyperlocals have espoused for years: “Maybe the truth is that hyperlocal won’t scale. One entity won’t own thousands of towns and their sites because the successful site is very much a part of the community.”

Hyperlocal may not scale, or make anybody rich — but Jarvis believes it can succeed when very dedicated journalists set them up in their own communities. And he wants to see way way more. (more…)



As is often the case, TV’s satirists — Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers — do a better job of getting to the truth of things than those of us actually practicing journalism. A few weeks ago, it was Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein who managed this with their satirical sketch about the Portland Tribune being sold to an internet outfit called Link PDX. Armisen and Brownstein storm the newsroom, quickly explain the art of Gawker-like breeziness and get the Tribune editor, played by George Wendt, to think more of himself as a “linkalist” than a “journalist.” In the end, the editor sheepishly accepts his new publisher’s praise for writing the most popular post in Link PDX’s history, garnering 70 million hits: “Charlize Theron NSFW” (Watch that sketch here.)

Exaggeration of the state of journalism in America today? Perhaps, but not by much. Photos of a scary-looking lamprey eel found by a fisherman on the Raritan River garnered 1.2 million views on Reddit last week, and the story got picked up by the Houston Chronicle and the Christian Science Monitor. We at the NJ News Commons weren’t immune to the story either.

Meanwhile a report issued by New Jersey Watchdog about 45 New Jersey superintendent “double dippers” who get pension pay along with their salaries got a mere handful of pickups in the press.