How to Follow the 3rd and Other Pro Tips on NJ Political Reporting

This story has been updated with video of the event. Kathy Kiely, managing editor of the Sunlight Foundation, stepped in front of the room of New Jersey investigative and political reporters and began with the familiar laugh line, “I’m from Washington and I’m here to help you.”

Training for News Entrepreneurs

On July 9, 2014, we hosted a training session for news entrepreneurs at Montclair State University. The all-day session included talks from entrepreneurial journalists, marketing strategists, ad sales representatives, and other professionals from throughout the news ecosystem.

How to Start a News Site

Dozens of potential independent news publishers descended upon the Multimedia Newswoom at Montclair State University on March 11, 2014 for a day of training on “How to Start a News Site.” The event was the first of many in the NJ News Commons’ latest round of Grow and Strengthen, a project aimed at seeding and incubating local news sites across New […]

Video from the Open Data NJ Summit

Three videos from the Open Data NJ conference, held at Montclair State University on May 15, 2014, are now up and running for those who were unable to attend the conference in person — or who want to watch it again.

Know Your Communities, Keep Up With Technology, Newton Tells Conference

By DEBBIE GALANT Local news startups need to understand their communities with greater precision if they are to survive today’s difficult journalism economics, Eric Newton said last night in the kick-off of Montclair State University’s national conference on the future of local news. “Do you know as much about your communities as the commercial data […]

Immigration Profile: Kamila Kolodynska

Kamila Kolodynska, 22, was born in Szprotawa, Poland. She lives in Leszno Gorne, Poland until she immigrated to the United States with her family when she was 10 years old. Her family immigrated to New Jersey to seek medical help for her older sister who has neurofibromatosis. Kamila lives in Clifton and attends Montclair State. […]

Becoming an LLC in One Easy Step

Joe Amditis, a co-founder of Muckgers and a regular at our monthly peer-to-peer mentoring group, showed up the other day with incorporation papers, courtesy of Legal Zoom. In this short video, he explains exactly how easy it was.

Seeking Refuge Is Anything But Easy For Bangladeshi Refugee

Seeking Asylum Is Anything But Easy for Bangladeshi Refugee (via Paterson Times) Holding up a black-and-white election poster of father, since slain, Ibrahim Momin feels the same fate could be in store for him if the U.S. fails to grant him political asylum. Photo: Beverly Peterson. By J.M. RAHMAN, PATERSON TIMES Since 2009, when…

Seeking Refuge Is Anything But Easy For Bangladeshi Refugee

Seeking Asylum Is Anything But Easy for Bangladeshi Refugee (via Paterson Times) Holding up a black-and-white election poster of father, since slain, Ibrahim Momin feels the same fate could be in store for him if the U.S. fails to grant him political asylum. Photo: Beverly Peterson. By J.M. RAHMAN, PATERSON TIMES Since 2009, when…

Embeds, Hashtags and Maps for Election Night

Here’s some great stuff available for news organizations in New Jersey on Election Night. Take advantage of these embeds to keep your readers — and their conversation — on your website throughout election day and night. – Starting at noon on Tuesday,’s Darryl Isherwood will host a live, interactive video chat with various pundits, taking […]

Immigration Profile: Louis Cancio

The “New Barbeque Pit” in Bergenfield, NJ is owned and operated by the Cancio Family. Louis Cancio came from Manilla, Philippines at the age of 11, and lived with his aunt and uncle in Livingston, NJ, where he went to high school. He began roasting the pig in their garage, and soon thereafter Louis joined […]

Pizzeria Owner: “You Just Suck It Up and Keep Going”

By KENNY SPOONER The heartbreaking story of a year of rebuilding, wiped out in one day by a sudden fire, broke New Jersey’s heart Thursday night. Ken Spooner and Mike Mee, both recent graduates of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State, talked to Dominic Maruca, owner of Maruca’s Tomato Pies in Seaside […]

Oral History: Valeria’s Promise

By SOFIA CHAVEZ Valeria Villamarín grew up in Guayaquil, Ecuador and moved to North Bergen, New Jersey with her family at 17. Her family is under permanent visa and while her parents work hard for a better life, Valeria works hard to fulfill a promise she made to her grandmother.

Clergy Are Often Immigrants’ Biggest Advocates

By MIRIAM ASCARELLI and TERRENCE McDONALD for THE IMMIGRATION PROJECT Three years ago, when Father Karl Esker became the associate pastor of St. James Church, a close-knit Brazilian parish in the heart of Newark’s Ironbound section, he knew a big part of his job would involve helping new immigrants. But he didn’t expect to become […]

Emanuel Martinez: From Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League

At Essex County College, Emanuel Martinez is wrapping up a series of workshops meant to empower community college students to transfer to four-year colleges. A native of Mexico, Martinez moved to Passaic with his family at age 7. When his mother discovered that he was gay, Emanuel left home and spent nights in a homeless […]

Oral History: Nora Calderon

Nora Calderon is the first of many oral histories we plan to collect for The Immigration Project. Soon after she came to NJ from Guatemala, she started working as an assistant for Beth Kruvant in her home and law office. Nora subsequently became a real estate broker and bookkeeper. She currently lives in Bloomfield, NJ […]

Mr. Auciello Goes to Washington

If there was any doubt that Justin Auciello, publisher of Jersey Shore Hurricane News, is a media superstar, that was put to rest yesterday when the 33-old South Seaside Park resident was honored at the White House as a Champion of Change for his work during and after Hurricane Sandy. Auciello was one of 17 […]

John Keefe Data Mapping Training — LIVE!

John Keefe data visualization training

Learning Lunch: The Pew Report

In this Learning Lunch, we talk to John Mooney, Steve Johnson and Virginia Citrano about the Pew report on the State of the News Media 2013.

Proposition 8 Plaintiff Jeff Zarrillo: We Have to Tell Our Stories

Jeff Zarrillo, one of the plaintiffs in the challenge to California’s Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court, is a Montclair State alumni. He was interviewed last year by fellow alum Erica Emmich.

Learning Lunch: How the ‘Story Exchange’ Can Work for You

NJ News Commons’ Story Exchange — powered by Repost —  is an initiative to facilitate sharing within the New Jersey news ecosystem. All the stories offered on this page are free to embed on most sites — just like a YouTube video. There are advantages to sharing content: traffic you receive on embedding sites counts […]

Wheeler Antabanez on the Bridge Blast Beat

Wheeler Antabanez was the only person in New Jersey to chronicle all six of the detonations that destroyed the old Rt. 3 bridge over the Passaic River.

Undefeated: Lady Red Hawks Go to Championships

Video by Montclair State’s School of Communication and Media about the Lady Red Hawks’ undefeated basketball season.

Booker Coy with WBGO

Cory Booker dodges the question on whether he’s officially running for Senate on WBGO’s Feb. 21 edition of “Newark Today”

Hack Jersey: Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica and ‘News Applications’

When he started as a journalist in 1980, Stephen Engelberg was a copy boy in The New York Times’ Washington bureau. “This was back when reporters actually typed their stories on manual typewriters,” Engelberg told a rapt audience at Hack Jersey in January. Engelberg related how reporters would tear their stories out of the typewriter […]

Hack Jersey: Marc Pfeiffer Gives Data Gathering Advice from a Bureaucrat

Journalists who wanted to get into the head of a public servant had that opportunity at Hack Jersey in January when Marc Pfeiffer presented “a former bureaucrat’s view” on “Why It’s Hard to Get Data from State and Local Governments.” Pfeiffer had some good news for journalists, however, pointing out the exceptions to the rule. […]

Hack Jersey: Jeff Larson Talks Data and Investigative Journalism

At Hack Jersey this past January, Jeff Larson of ProPublica delighted the audience with his “short history of data journalism” — starting with CBS News’ use of the UNIVAC computer to predict the outcome of the U.S. Presidential election in 1952 (spoiler alert: the computer accurately predicted Eisenhower as the winner and was only off the final tally by 4 electoral votes).

Larson moved on to discuss how PolitiFact had inspired journalists like himself: “It woke us up in the news” to see that “we can tell stores in a different framework.” Larson then continued to discuss how data journalism was beneficial not just to breaking news stories but “deep dives.”

Hack Jersey: Matt Ericson of The New York Times

One of the most compelling speakers at Hack Jersey — NJ News Commons’ effort to bring together journalists and data specialists for a weekend of crunching open source database numbers and generating leading edge journalism — was Matthew Ericson, deputy graphics director at the New York Times.

During his presentation (captured on video below), Ericson discussed the elements that make a good graphic and gave several examples of how graphics can be used to tell a story. Ericson noted that the NYT graphics department — once the maps department — was now made up of about 30 individuals including cartographers, traditional journalists, statisticians, web developers and 3D artists. The graphics discussed ranged from basic charts comparing unemployment data to interactive graphics that could integrate data, video, maps, graphics, photos, sound and text.

Hack Jersey: Tom Meagher Discusses Journalist’s Role in Data Journalism

Co-founder of Hack Jersey Tom Meagher highlights some exciting recent data journalism projects during his presentation at Hack Jersey in January 2013.

Meagher is the data editor for Digital First Media, which owns and operates more than 75 daily newspapers in 18 states. At Project Thunderdome, DFM’s Manhattan news hub, Tom leads a team of developers who build interactive web applications and support data reporting projects in local newsrooms across the company.

Before that, Tom spent eight years working as a reporter and editor at New Jersey newspapers small and large. Most recently, he was the data editor at the Star-Ledger after serving as an editor at the Local News Service in Somerville and city editor at the Herald News in West Paterson. He learned the basics of data reporting and pursued investigative projects while he was a municipal reporter covering the city of Paterson. He lives with his wife and children in Maplewood.

Hack Jersey, Graveyard Shift

Here’s what it looked like in Schmitt Hall Saturday night, as the hours for Hack Jersey developers and journalists began to dwindle. Hack Jersey, sponsored by the NJ News Commons in the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University and Knight-Mozilla Open News, is a 24-hour contest to develop the best journalism-related app […]

It’s Hack Jersey!

Our student video team (Jack Smith IV, Ken Spooner, Ryan Miller and Lindsay Rassmann) has been filming Hack Jersey since our opening party on Friday night. Here’s a great little piece that sets the scene. Meanwhile, our blogging team (Viveka Garza-Gomez, Omar Ammar, and Samantha Roth) has been interviewing our hackers and checking out the […]

Chat Live with NJPR during #njsots

Christmas in Sea Bright

“Christmas in Sea Bright’s going to be kind of a bummer,” says Chris Wood, owner of Woody’s Ocean Grill in Sea Bright. It’s been almost two months since Superstorm Sandy devastated the town, and only about 20 percent of residents have returned home. But a community Christmas tree with residents’ personal ornaments is one attempt […]

Learning Lunch: The Benefits of Going Non-Profit

Listen as John Mooney of NJ Spotlight, Paul Bass of New Haven Independent and Brian Wheeler of Charlottesville Tomorrow talk about why they operate as non-profit news organizations.

Another Sandy Survival Story

A roundup of news around NJ Dec. 3, 2012 Last week, we showed you the Sandy documentary created by 16-year-old Charlotte Nagy of Rumson. Today, via NJ 101.5, comes another video, by John Mark Basile, an avid surfcaster and a set dresser for Law and Order SVU, who survived Hurricane Sandy by spending the night […]

Sandy, One Month Later: Charlotte Nagy’s Sandy Documentary is Well Worth the 33 Minutes

A roundup of news around New Jersey on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 A month after Superstorm Sandy hit New Jersey, the best storytelling to come out of it may be the work of a 16-year-old Rumson girl named Charlotte Nagy. Want to remember how it felt to watch Sandy approach and then land? The excitement […]

Thanksgiving in Sea Bright

Sea Bright is down but not out, as Montclair State student Noah Smith discovered in a pre-Thanksgiving visit this past weekend. Volunteers from both in- and out-of-state joined business owners to begin the job of rebuilding. “The town was destroyed, but the people weren’t,” said volunteer coordinator Nancy Sherman. “So I guess the town’s kind […]

Battle for the 9th

Surely the most colorful Congressional race in New Jersey this election in the 9th Congressional district, pitting incumbent Bill Pascrell against Orthodox rabbi and sex family thearpist. Schmuley Boteach. Jack Smith IV, a Montclair State student in the School of Communication and Media, did extensive interviews with both candidates and produced this report.