Local Beat: Battle of the Jazz Festivals


Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly look at the reporting being generated by small news outlets around the state.

How is it that Morristown and Montclair both organized jazz festivals for the exact same day, last Saturday?

Morristown had Bucky Pizzarelli. Montclair had Christian McBride. Morristown’s chief media sponsor was the Star-Ledger. Montclair’s was WBGO. They both had banks: Investors Bank for Morristown, City National and PNC for Montclair.

Imagine the state’s poor beleaguered arts sponsors being forced to choose between jazz fests the same day in two of the state’s tony “M” towns. Imagine the poor jazz fans in Maplewood, essentially equidistant between both festivals. How did they pick?

Morristown Green captures the vibe of the crowd at the Morristown Jazz Festival.

Morristown Green captures the vibe of the crowd at the Morristown Jazz Festival.

That’s a story still left to tell. Our local news outlets focused on what was in front of them. Of the jazz fest stories that we saw this past week, Morristown Green won hands down with a package that included multiple videos and several photo collections. In Montclair, Baristanet captured the color of the event with an effective display of pictures, all running the full column-width of the story. Montclair TAP won on word count — 2,470 words to be exact — but its “exclusive interview with John Scofield,” billboarded in the headline, didn’t show up until the 18th paragraph.

Meanwhile, if you want to see a small town news publisher squirm, go over to Blogfinger to see what happened when Paul Goldfinger asked to take a photograph of an famous — or perhaps infamous — Ocean Grove Great Auditorium usher. And be sure to push the play button on the soundtrack first.

Our full roundup:

Profile of an Ocean Grove usher Blogfinger
New Brunswick Fire Director Pleads Guilty to Careless Driving in Crash That Hurt Three Kids New Brunswick Today
Westfield-Based Suicide Hotline Sees Spike in Calls Following Robin Williams’ Death TAP into Westfield
Suicide: Trying to Ask the Right Questions My Verona NJ
‘Peak Democracy’ Contract Approved for South Orange Village Green NJ
Citywide Reassessment Shifts Tax Burden Asbury Park Sun
Musical memories of the 2014 Morristown Jazz & Blues Fest: Video and more Morristown Green
Exclusive Interview with John Scofield at 2014 Montclair Jazz Festival TAP into Montclair
Beautiful Musical Day at the Montclair Jazz Festival Baristanet
Heroin-addicted Garfield ex-con caught, charged with Elmwood Park convenience store robbery Cliffview Pilot

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