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Snow may still blanket the state, but spring has sprung at NJ News Commons, where a new crop of events, trainings, services and grants are sprouting like crocus flowers:

UPDATE: Applications for Grow & Strengthen Spring 2014 are now online. Deadline April 11.

– NJ News Commons will be administering another round of our successful Grow & Strengthen grants — micro-grants for start-up news and niche sites in New Jersey. Grant applications are not available, but anyone interested in finding out more or applying should plan on attending our free How to Build a News Site training on March 11 (register here) in Room 311, Schmitt Hall, Montclair State University. Read more about the grant program here.

- Our peer-to-peer mentoring group that was set up for Grow & Strengthen startups is opening up to all small news site editors and publishers in New Jersey who want to join. The group provides a chance for entrepreneurs to discuss common issues such as finding audience, adapting to new technology and tapping revenue streams. The group meets on thesecond Wednesday of the month from noon to 3 p.m. (bring your own lunch) in Schmitt 311. Register for the next meeting on March 12 here.

– Register here for our free training in Investigative Journalism with award-winning journalist Ben Lesser, Friday, March 7, 10 a.m. to noon., Schmitt 311. Lesser will be on hand monthly to assist reporters, and can give help on demand as well.

– NJ News Commons will be hosting a lunch for Ethnic Media in NJ on Thursday, March 13, in Schmitt 311, noon to 2 p.m. Register here.

– On April 24-25, the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media will host its first-ever annual conference, “Innovating the Local News Ecosystem.” Media leaders from across the country will gather at the MSU conference center for a day of keynotes and break-out sessions that will touch on the major trends and innovations impacting local media. The event is free. Register here.

- For Journalism — a suite of online coding classes for journalists — is now available to partners of NJ News Commons thanks to a generous grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. The curriculum currently includes Django, Charting & Visualization, Responsive Design, Mapping and Cybersecurity. Coming: Ruby on Rails, Devops, Data Science & Statistics, and Javascript. Register here. You should get permission to begin the classes within 48 hours. If you have any problems registering, email our staff.

– Save the date for our May 15 Open Data NJ Summit at which NJ News Commons, Hack Jersey, data journalists, advocates for open government, and government data specialists will gather to talk best practices and advocate for greater government transparency and better data delivery. At Montclair State University.