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Complete applications at the end of this post.

The NJ News Commons is helping seed new news sites in New Jersey, and prodding existing hyperlocals to deepen their coverage. With funding from the New Jersey Recovery Fund, we will be awarding $3,500 $4,000 micro-grants to up to six entrepreneurs to start new news sites, and $2,500 micro-grants to up to eight existing hyperlocals with proposals for an investigative or in-depth reporting project. Read more about our initiative here.

A panel of judges will select the grant recipients. Judges include Star-Ledger columnist and Pulitzer finalist Mark DiIonno; Merrill Brown, director of the School of Communication and Media; and hyperlocal publisher and investigative journalist Polly Kreisman. (more…)

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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 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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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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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. (more…)

Sandy

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.

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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. (more…)