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We’re launching another collaborative reporting project. Join us.

Tuesday Mar 29, 2016  | 

I spent a sizable chunk of 2015 helping to coordinate Dirty Little Secrets, the Center for Cooperative Media’s first statewide collaborative reporting project. The experience taught me a lot.

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In the Shadow of Liberty: A Year-Long Study of Immigration in NJ

Tuesday Feb 09, 2016  | 

Does New Jersey live up to Lady Liberty’s ideals?

New Jersey has historically opened itself to newcomers. After all, the Statue of Liberty stands on the New Jersey side of the harbor. With almost 2 million foreign-born residents, the only states with more immigrants per capita are California and New York.

Yet what makes New Jersey truly different is the diversity of our immigrant population.

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Mapping New Jersey’s Ethnic Roots

Friday Jul 03, 2015  | 

If you live in New Jersey, you live in one of the most diverse states in the country. One in five New Jersey residents was born outside the U.S. (only California and New York have higher foreign-born percentages). Our ancestors hail from just about every country you can name., the local website devoted to finding and mapping New Jersey’s best food, is putting New Jersey’s ethnic diversity on the map – literally.

With the support of a NJ News Commons grant, EthnicNJ has published interactive maps that shed light on the ethnic roots of New Jersey’s population. In its American Community Survey, the United States Census collects population data annually. Three new EthnicNJ maps display ancestry and countries of birth information for each of New Jersey’s 21 counties and for 570 individual towns.

“EthnicNJ maps are a resource for anyone seeking to better understand New Jersey’s rich ethnic landscape,” says Anthony Ewing, who founded in 2010. The site has become an indispensable tool for hungry Jersey food fans, mapping over 980 restaurants serving some fifty different cuisines. The EthnicNJ Food Map provides a unique, real-time picture of New Jersey’s ethnic communities, viewed through the lens of ethnic restaurants.

“Mapping ethnic food in New Jersey led me to our state’s many ethnic enclaves,” says Ewing. “I started looking for current demographic information, but Census numbers alone can be difficult to find and to interpret. By displaying the data visually on a color-coded map, you get a much clearer picture of New Jersey communities.”

Readers can use the EthnicNJ Ancestry Map to select among 106 different ancestries reported by New Jerseyans, from Afghan to Yugoslavian. The list includes countries and regions outside the United States, and even a couple ethnic groups from within the United States, like Pennsylvania German and Cajun. Because the Census collects information about Hispanic and Asian populations separately under the category “Race and Hispanic Origin,” there is a separate Hispanic and Asian Ancestry Map. “Hispanic” includes people who report ancestry from the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as from Spain. Asian includes people who report any of sixteen specific Asian backgrounds, from Asian Indian to Vietnamese. The Place of Birth Map , which includes Asian and Latin American countries together with the rest of the world, illustrates the countries of birth of New Jersey’s substantial foreign-born population. This map features 158 different birthplaces.

Journalists can use EthnicNJ maps to generate story ideas, illustrate state demographics, and facilitate reporting. Where are the state’s first-generation immigrant communities? How have the children of immigrants migrated within the state? Which Asian ancestry group is larger in Camden County than in Middlesex County? (Vietnamese) Which NJ town should have the best Costa Rican food? (Summit) What percentage of Palisade Park’s foreign-born community is Korean? (43%) Where can I interview Syrian-born residents? (At one of the Syrian restaurants along Main Street in Paterson)

EthnicNJ is already using the demographic maps to see where New Jersey’s ethnic communities are, and to find the best food. “I knew Newark was the place to find excellent Brazilian food,” says Ewing. “I did not know Long Branch is now home to a significant Brazilian community. Sure enough, there are a couple of Brazilian steakhouses there that are now on my list of places to try.”

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VIDEO: Deferred Action Tips with Attorney Julio Sanchez

Monday Apr 21, 2014  | 

e350 Video: Legal and Immigration Segment, DUI Tips (via Inside Out)

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Immigration Profile: Kamila Kolodynska

Wednesday Apr 02, 2014  | 

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. She hopes to continue her studies in political science in the United States and to one day work in the immigration field to help others navigate the system.

This video was produced for The Immigration Project by Justin Guerrier, in association with documentary marker Beth Toni Kruvant, Guerrier graduated from Montclair State in May 2013 with a degree in Filmmaking and currently works for Brookdale Television as a production technician. He also works as a freelance producer, camera operator, sound mixer and editor.

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Sandy Rebuild’s Invisible Victims

Monday Dec 02, 2013  | 

Sandy Poses Special Problems for Immigrant Day Laborers Aiding Recovery Effort (via NJSpotlight)

“After Sandy, I went to work with a contractor doing a basement cleanup,” recalled Marcelo, a day laborer from Brazil who’s been living in the U.S. for the past seven years but didn’t want to give his last name because he’s not authorized…

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NJ Spotlight: ‘DREAM Act’ Advocates Accuse Christie of Reneging on Promise

Wednesday Nov 27, 2013  |  1 comment

‘Dream Act’ Advocates Accuse Christie of Reneging on Promise (via NJSpotlight)

Credit: Office of the Governor/Tim Larsen Gov. Chris Christie did something few Republicans have been able to do in recent years when he sailed to re-election earlier this month: He won a majority of the state’s Latino vote. Exit polls conducted by…

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Seeking Refuge Is Anything But Easy For Bangladeshi Refugee

Thursday Nov 21, 2013  | 

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…

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NJ Senate Approves Tuition Equality for Undocumented Immigrants

Monday Nov 18, 2013  | 

N.J. Senate approves bill granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants (via

TRENTON — A bill to offer in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants who grew up in New Jersey is continuing its progress towards Gov. Chris Christie’s desk. The state Senate today voted 25 to 12 to approve the controversial measure, which would…

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Jersey City Touts ‘First in State’ Immigrant Affairs Department

Thursday Nov 07, 2013  | 

Jersey City touts ‘first in state’ immigrant affairs department (via

Tucked away inside a first-floor office in Jersey City City Hall is a new city department that Mayor Steve Fulop says is the first in the state to explicitly cater to immigrants. Dubbed the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, the division is staffed by…

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One Year After Sandy, Ellis Island Reopens

Monday Oct 28, 2013  | 

One year after Sandy, Ellis Island reopens to the public (via

When employees of Ellis Island were finally able to make it back to the island last year after Hurricane Sandy devastated the region, they found a mess. The basement of Ellis Island’s museum was flooded. Brochures littered the grounds and covered…

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