Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 9.28.04 AM

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

Local media are not only keeping an eye on elected officials and civic leaders in New Jersey’s 565 municipalities and 21 county governments — they’re watching the bigger media outlets as well.Art Gallagher of More Monmouth Musings noticed a quote by Patrick Murray of Monmouth University in an NJ Spotlight story by Mark Magyar that seemed to predict the results of his next poll before it had even been taken:

Murray said he expected to see similar results in his next Monmouth Poll. “It will be negative. This is not going to be positive,” Murray stated emphatically, asserting that the controversy over the Mastro report clearly resonated with voters.  (more…)

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 9.43.26 PM

Can you hear the champagne corks popping?

Over in Woodland Park, the newsroom at The Record is knocking back some bubbly as Rebecca D. O’Brien and Thomas Mashberg celebrate their finalist status for a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for ”their jarring exposure of how heroin has permeated the suburbs of northern New Jersey, profiling addicts and anguished families and mapping the drug pipeline from South America to their community.”

On top of breaking “Bridge-gate,” The Record is having a stellar year in 2014 — and it’s only April.

Dan Fagin might not be a New Jersey native (he was born in Oklahoma City) or current resident (lives in Long Island) but he has been awarded a Pulitzer for general nonfiction for a very New Jersey story — “Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation” (Bantam Books). The Pulitzer committee said the book “deftly combines investigative reporting and historical research to probe a New Jersey seashore town’s cluster of childhood cancers linked to water and air pollution.”

Fagin also is awarded $10,000.

Congratulations to all.

Read about all the winners and finalists here.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 10.52.59 PM
Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best and most topical reporting from local news sites around New Jersey. 


Local news reporting is keeping Jerry DeMarco at Cliffview Pilot sleep-deprived. DeMarco tells us that in one 18-hour span from Tuesday to Wednesday, he “nailed three major Bergen scoops that are being followed all around.”It began with “No leads in search for missing Ridgefield girl, 13“; followed by “Five firefighters, homeowner injured in Montvale deck collapse“ and ended with “Sexually explicit’ remark to young-looking woman leads to arrest in Leonia luring attempts.” (more…)

Podcast Art NJ News Commons

Joe Pompeo of Capital New York and John Mooney of NJ Spotlight. Credit: Debbie Galant/NJ News Commons

Joe Pompeo of Capital New York and John Mooney of NJ Spotlight. Credit: Debbie Galant/NJ News Commons

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 12.30.01 PM

Applications Now Available - Deadline Friday, April 11

Following on our successful incubation of seven NJ news start-ups in October, 2013, the NJ News Commons is recruiting a new class of entrepreneurs to expand the NJ news ecosystem. This comes on the heels of mass layoffs at Patch, announced in January, and significant bloodletting at the Star-Ledger and, and is aimed at helping recently downsized journalists and others who are interested in launching news sites in New Jersey.

We will be seeding up to 10 start-ups, all of whom will receive six months of twice-a-month private coaching sessions from local news consultant Joe Michaud, as well as membership in a peer-to-peer support group that will meet monthly to discuss issues as they ramp up. We will also be awarding micro-grants of between $1,000 to $4,000 to the start-ups selected.


For more information, please write to Debbie Galant.

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 9.45.18 PM

BuzzFeed. Huffington Post. The New York Times. The Boston Globe.

Eric Newton. Ken Doctor. Larry Kramer. Jeff Jarvis. Michele McLellan. Steven Waldman.

Big names and heavy hitters in media will gather April 24 and 25 at Montclair State University for the Center for Cooperative Media’s first annual conference, “Innovating the Local News Ecosystem.”

“We’re pleased to present what we hope will be a timely and utilitarian look at local news and information,” said Merrill Brown, Director of Montclair State’s School of Communication and Media. (more…)

Flying glass from this window injured a Garfield firefighter. Credit: CliffviewPIlot/Garfield PD

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

Politics, crime, activism and the arts filled local news sites throughout New Jersey this week.On the activism front, Brick City Live touted a hyperlocal social network in Newark that is creating a sense of community in neighborhoods. West Orange TAP reported on local parents of special education students observing Autism Awareness Month. Maplewood TAP covered a community forum held by a new organization of parents concerned about equality for Black students in the South Orange-Maplewood school district. (more…)


Hot on the heels of news that it would create a new media company to provide content, advertising and marketing for its New Jersey-area outlets, Advance Publications announced mass layoffs today at The Star-Ledger.

According to a report posted on, Star-Ledger ownership announced they “were eliminating the jobs of approximately 167 people, including 25 percent of the newsroom.” Emails to NJ News Commons today indicate that cuts have also been made at

NJ News Commons will be recording a podcast on the changes at The Star-Ledger and other Advance holdings in New Jersey on Tuesday, April 8. Joining us on the podcast will be Dean Starkman of the Columbia Journalism Review and John Mooney, former Star-Ledger reporter and current co-founder and editor at NJ Spotlight.

Condolences are rolling in via Twitter.

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. 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.

Betty Wardell sifts through plastic bags and bins to see what she can salvage Credit: Patricia Miller/Patch

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

Hyperlocal doesn’t mean small news for New Jersey’s small town news sites.

This week we saw Point Pleasant Patch go beyond the headlines to focus on how people are picking up their lives after the devastating motel fire in Point Pleasant Beach where Sandy victims were living — and were victimized yet again. Hackettstown Patch covered a cocaine, heroin and gun bust. Midland Park Press published a message from the mother of a heroine victim.

Newark Now featured an interview with mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries. State of the Arts NJ debuted an 11-minute profile of the late poet Amiri Baraka, father of Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka. (more…)

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 4.41.00 PM

A network of hyperlocal news sites that began in New Jersey is expanding to Pennsylvania.

On Monday, March 24, The Alternative Press announced that it had launched a site in Lower Providence, PA with a franchise by former Patch Regional Editor and Lower Providence resident, Melissa Treacy. (more…)