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NJ News Commons, NJ Spotlight Together Win SPJ Award

Tuesday May 05, 2015  |  0 comments

The New Jersey chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists recently announced the winners of their annual Excellence in Journalism awards, with top honors going to the Star-Ledger’s Christopher Baxter for his What Killed Kevin Garcia? series about the controversial condition called “excited delirium,” sometimes declared as a cause of death after physical encounters with police.

Jaimie Winters and Meghan Grant of The South Bergenite won first place in the O’Brien competition for weekly newspapers and local online publications for “Rutherford Releases Transmission From Police Shooting,” in which the Bergen County weekly, along with its parent The Record daily newspaper, sued for release of documents and transmissions from a deadly shooting by local police after they trapped a stolen SUV on a Route 3 overpass. One judge called it “amazing work,” commending the paper for standing up for open records and filing suit.”

Winning first place in the category of Online Deadline Reporting were NJ Spotlight and NJ News Commons, which collaborated on creating a live election results map last November. Colleen O’Dea, data cruncher for NJ Spotlight, got specific mention. For that story, NJ News Commons gathered a roomful of students, data junkies and journalist volunteers to update spreadsheets as election results came in, while O’Dea reported on the data. The collaborative results were made freely available to news sites throughout the state.

See the complete list of awards here (PDF).

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Grow & Strengthen: How We’re Helping Build Up the NJ News Ecosystem

Monday Feb 09, 2015  |  0 comments

Almost two years ago, the Center for Cooperative Media embarked on a project called Grow & Strengthen to expand and fortify the news ecosystem in New Jersey. We identified news entrepreneurs who were interested in starting new sites, gave them small seed grants and regular coaching, and made sure they connected regularly through monthly Peer-to-Peer meet-ups. We’re proud to report back on our progress, with a StoryMap snapshot of 15 news projects we’ve seeded and nurtured. Our business coach, Joe Michaud, has also reflected on the qualities that help make news startups successful — as well as those that lead to failure.

Announcing the Local News Lab

Tuesday Jun 17, 2014  |  0 comments

The Montclair State University Center for Cooperative Media is pleased to announce the launch of the Local News Lab, a collaborative initiative focused on journalism sustainability led by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, in partnership with the Center for Cooperative Media, and the City University of New York’s Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism and Center for Community and Ethnic Media.

The Local News Lab’s efforts mainly will focus on sustainability for six pilot sites: Brick City Live, Jersey Shore Hurricane News, Morristown Green and New Brunswick Today in New Jersey; and The Lo-Down and Sheepshead Bites in New York. The Lab will test new revenue models, strategies for community engagement and collaborative projects to strengthen the journalism ecosystem. Experiments will range from traditional and crowd-funded advertising to events, membership models and new revenue products.

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Grow and Strengthen: Micro-Grants

Wednesday Aug 14, 2013  |  1 comment

Grow and Strengthen is an ongoing project of the NJ News Commons to helping seed new news sites in New Jersey, and prod existing hyperlocals to deepen their coverage. Initially funded with a grant from the New Jersey Recovery Fund, the Commons seeded seven news sites in fall of 2013 and awarded seven grants for in-depth reporting. A second start-up class of news start-ups will begin in the summer of 2014.

News sites funded by Grow and Strengthen function as a class, attending trainings together and supporting each other through monthly peer-to-peer mentoring.

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Podcast: The News in Jersey

Tuesday Aug 13, 2013  |  0 comments

Every week we have a conversation with journalists around the state about something they’ve been working on. Shows have focused on subjects ranging from street violence to Lakewood’s Tent City. Listen to our most recent show, or peruse our archives, here. And if you use iTunes or any other podcast client, just search for “The News in Jersey” and add us to your subscription list.


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The Immigration Project

Thursday May 02, 2013  |  2 comments

The Immigration Project is a collaborative reporting effort — spearheaded by NJ News Commons — involving approximately 10 reporters and news agencies in New Jersey to cover the under-reported topic of immigration in the Garden State, which ranks fifth nationwide in the number of foreign-born residents and third in percentage. Read more about The Immigration Project here. For more information or to participate, contact njnewscommons@gmail.com.

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Sunday Mar 10, 2013  |  0 comments

CJET, or Community Journalism Executive Training, is a special 2 1/2-day workshop being offered by the NJ News Commons to help entrepreneurial news organizations become more business savvy. CJET will take place on May 16-18, 2013 at Montclair State’s Center for Cooperative Media, and is supported by the Patterson Foundation and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Twenty news sites will be selected to participate and will receive the training for free. Applications are due March 20. Read more here.

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Hack Jersey

Friday Mar 01, 2013  |  0 comments

In January 2013, the NJ News Commons and Montclair State hosted the first hackathon in New Jersey to involve both coders and journalists. The weekend-long event, called Hack Jersey, featured a Friday-night party where teams began to form, a series of speakers including Matt Ericson of The New York Times, and a 24-hour contest to create data visualizations and news apps.

Many organizations came together to organize and sponsor the event. The other major sponsor besides the NJ News Commons was Mozilla Open News.


Tuesday Feb 05, 2013  |  0 comments

Before and during Hurricane Sandy, news organizations across the state of New Jersey scrambled to put resources in place to cover the storm. Utilizing the ScribbleLive platform and the hashtag #NJSandy, the NJ News Commons created a live blog, which pulled a multitude of tweets, photos, videos and stories into one place.

Many hyperlocal sites — including Baristanet, Hoboken 411, MyVeronaNJ, The Boken, Morristown Green, Cliffview Pilot and Elizabeth Inside Out — both contributed content to the #NJSandy blog and embedded it on their sites, generating an astounding 200,000 pageviews during the week of the storm.

Read more about the project in the essay, “The Million Reporters of Hurricane Sandy,” published on the Dodge Foundation blog.


Monday Feb 04, 2013  |  0 comments

Hurricane Sandy arrived a week before the 2012 Presidential election, and even before it made landfall in Atlantic City, many people expressed concern about whether power outages, road closures, evacuations and other infrastructure problems would endanger New Jerseyans’ ability to exercise their right to vote. In cooperation with a consortium of news organizations that included WHYY and NJ Spotlight, the NJ News Commons created a voter hotline where citizens could report problems voting, and a Crowdmap to record and visualize the reported problems.