Jersey Bites, an online smorgasbord of restaurant reviews, recipes and food blogging for the Garden State, turns seven on Thursday. To celebrate, founder and social media maven extraordinaire Deborah Smith is throwing her site a birthday party — on Facebook. Over the course of the day, Jersey Bites will give out $850 worth of prizes, donated by restaurants, bars, bakeries and in one case a vineyard. The hourly prizes will be drawn randomly from entries by readers who like the donors’ Facebook pages and report back.

Smith with cake“Everybody’s very excited about it,” Smith says. “I think it’s something new. We have a really engaged audience.” (more…)



Wake up, write some news. Next day, do it all over again.

It’s true, the word “new” is three quarters of the word “news.” But what if there was a way to take some of what we’ve built before and occasionally re-purpose it? Maybe even make some money from it?

On Thursday, Sept. 18, from 1 to 3 p.m., Debbie Galant of the NJ News Commons at Montclair State’s Center for Cooperative Media and Josh Stearns of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation will discuss strategic ways to use news archives. They’ll present best practices and creative ideas for re-use and monetizing archieves — and brainstorm with participants.

Free. Join in person in Schmitt Hall Room 311 or remotely through Zoom videoconference. Tickets and videoconference instructions on Eventbrite.

Photo by Jo Guldi via Flickr Commons.

Podcast Art NJ News Commons

From a story by the International Business Times about how Christie’s pension investments have benefitted Wall Street – but not pensioners – to a Wall Street Journal story about connections between Christie and Rudy Giuliani.


MSU Crest

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.


Westmont Theatre


Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best and most topical reporting from local news sites around New Jersey.

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 8.50.46 AMRipples from Ferguson, MO continue to be felt in New Jersey. Bill Bowman of the Franklin Reporter & Advocate shows us that not all police departments are as gun-hungry as the stereotype dictates. In fact, not one local department in all of Somerset County has surplus military equipment.

With school right around the corner, Carolyn Maynard-Parisi of The Village Green sat down with South Orange Middle School (SOMS) Principal Joseph Uglialoro for some tips on “How to Succeed in Middle School: By Really Trying!


Josh Stearns Profile Picture


Subscribe to have the Local Fix delivered to you on Fridays. Each week we look at key debates in journalism sustainability and community engagement through the lens of local news, starting with one good idea…

One good ideaRethink memberships. In a speech at the Weapons of Mass Creation conference Melody Kramer of NPR offers a useful framework for thinking about how to build community and investment in local journalism. While the focus is on public radio, the ideas are applicable to any local newsroom.

You’ll notice a slightly different format this week. Instead of focusing on four big ideas, this week’s newsletter focuses on four important places. Thanks to everyone who contributed ideas and tips.


Montclair Jazz Festival


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? (more…)

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On January 9, the day Bridget Kelly’s famous “time for some traffic problems” email came to light,  NJTV News was all over it — livestreaming Christie’s two-hour press conference,  getting many of the story’s principals on the air during its regular newscast and producing a special report on the scandal.

For its efforts, NJTV News has received its first Mid-Atlantic Emmy nomination for Best Evening Newscast in Larger Markets– going up against much bigger TV news shows in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. has been nominated for its (more…)

Podcast Art NJ News Commons




Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best and most topical reporting from local news sites around New Jersey.

Montclair PetitionsThe Montclair municipal clerk received more than 1,600 petition signatures this week calling for Montclair to place a local ordinance on the ballot that would give private sector workers the right to paid sick leave, reports Natalie Hackett of TAP into Montclair. Montclair joins four other New Jersey towns – Irvington, Passaic, Paterson, and Trenton – that have received similar petitions. If approved, the proposed ordinance would provide Monctclair’s private sector employees with the right to earn paid sick leave.


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New Jersey will be electing one U.S. senator, 12 U.S. representatives, and 45 school board members this November. It’s our job, as reporters, to go beyond the rhetoric and the slick campaign ads and let the voters know what’s really on the table.

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Join the Center for Cooperative Media on Wed. Oct. 8 from 9:30 to 3:30 as we take a deep dive into political reporting and give you and your newsroom colleagues the tools to keep the politicians honest.

In the morning, the American Press Institute’s Fact-Checking Project will teach how to check the claims and rhetoric coming from political advertisements, stump speeches and debates.

Six experienced scholars representing universities from Wyoming to the U.K. are working with the American Press Institute to study fact-checking and how to improve it. The group joined API’s fact-checking project, announced in February, with plenty of experience in the study of information, misinformation and how facts are processed.

API’s training will teach you the best practices based on their research.

In the afternoon, the Sunlight Foundation will help you follow the “dark money” behind shady political ads. From Sunlight:

Just who is behind those “mystery meat” groups with names like “Jerseyans for a Better Jersey” or (this is a real one) “Save Our Future Now” dumping zillions of last-minute political ads into the campaign you’re covering? The proliferation of political groups thinly disguised as nonprofits makes following the money in politics harder than ever — but there is one place this dark money organizations do leave a paper trail: at the TV stations where they buy their ads. Join the Sunlight Foundation, the Internet Archive and Philadelphia’s Committee of Seventy in an ambitious project to track the air wars and the money behind them. We’ll show you how to use — and improve — the data tools we built and talk about how they can be deployed to illuminate the dark corners of politics at federal, state and local levels.

The full day of training, from 9:30 to 3:30, is free. Just sign up on Eventbrite. The workshop, which includes lunch, will take place in 311 Schmitt Hall at Montclair State University. Here’s how to find us.