Time to make your voice heard on plan to create NJ Civic Info Consortium

For about two years now, Mike Rispoli, the Journalism Campaign director for the national advocacy group Free Press, has been traveling around the Garden State drawing attention to New Jersey’s local news crisis and pitching the idea of using some of the proceeds from the sale of the state’s public television licenses to do something about it.

That battle cry has evolved into a specific proposal to create a New Jersey Civic Information Consortium, a joint initiative of the state’s four leading research universities to fund projects designed to boost the state’s news ecosystem. The theory is that the state is selling assets that were meant to better inform people, so the money from their sale should go back to that intent.

The proposition depends on legislative approval. And now that it’s budget season at the New Jersey statehouse, the time has come for citizens to tell lawmakers what they think of the idea.

The Free Press is encouraging citizens to attend state Assembly Budget Committee hearings that are taking place this month to put their opinions on the record. (Full disclosure: Jane Primerano, SPJ Region 1 director, and I plan to testify in support of these efforts; I am employed as a lecturer at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, one of the four universities involved in the consortium.)

As proposed, the consortium would work with Montclair State University, Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rowan University to fund collaborative journalism as well as public information and media innovation projects. To read more about the proposal, click here. To learn more about The Free Press, click here and here. To see the schedule of state Assembly Committee Budget hearings and their locations, click here.



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Skills Fest 2017: What you need to succeed in today’s job market

Want to learn how to shoot and edit video? Tell an audio story? Use Instagram and Snapchat in a story?
Then SkillsFest 2017 has what you need and more. This half-day set of workshops on Saturday, April 22 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark will teach the skills that are needed in today’s job market.
Hosted by the New Jersey chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, SkillsFest brings together some of the best professional in New York metropolitan area.
Among the speakers are:
  • Tom Franklin, multimedia journalism instructor at Montclair State University.
  • Karen Rouse, New Jersey reporter for WNYC-FM
  • Sam Shefler, staff writer for Media Shift
  • Frank Runyeon, freelance multimedia journalist
  • John Ensslin, multimedia journalist for The Record.
Among the other skills to be taught: how to stage a Facebook Live broadcast and how to produce a podcast.
Attendees can choose up to three classes, which will be taught at NJIT’s Newark campus from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
WiFi will be provided. Attendees must bring their own laptop and smart phone.
Cost of the program is $45 for students and $85 for professionals. Admission includes a box lunch and a one-year membership (or a one-year renewal) in SPJ, the nation’s oldest and largest journalism advocacy groups. Click here for more info and to register.…
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Public Records forum postponed until March 20

Please note that NJ FOG’s OPRA forum has been postponed for a week because of the blizzard that has been predicted. 

In honor of Sunshine week, our friends at the NJ Foundation for Open Government are holding a free open government seminar in Camden County on Monday, March 20 March 13, 2017 from 7-9 p.m. at the Bellmawr Baptist Church, 328 Creek Road, Bellmawr. The discussion will focus on New Jersey’s Open Public Records and Meetings Acts (OPRA and OPMA).  Attorney Walter Luers, who specializes in OPRA and OPMA matters, will be speaking. Handouts and light refreshments will be provided. Be sure to bring your questions. To register, click here. For more information, email NJFOG at info@njfog.org or call 732-992-6550.…

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Press freedom panel in NYC March 10

In response to President Trump’s recent declaration that the press is the “enemy of the people’’ as well as the decision to ban CNN, Politico, BuzzFeed, HuffPost and the New York Times from a Feb. 24 White House Press briefing, the National Writers Union and the Writers Guild of America East are hosting a panel on Trump vs. Press Freedom.

The event, from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, March 10, will be held the 12th floor UAW NYC offices, 256 W. 38th St, New York City, and will be live-streamed here.

Panelists will be Bill Fletcher, Jr. (The Nation, Black Communicator), Trudy Lieberman (Columbia Journalism Review) and Liza Featherstone (The Nation).

The Writers Union notes: “The attacks on the press did not start with the six journalists arrested on Inauguration Day. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, and many other reporters were arrested, threatened, and assaulted while covering the North Dakota Pipeline Access protests, as well as marches against police killings in New York and Ferguson. The Obama Administration prosecuted nine cases under the Espionage Act, more than all previous administrations combined, in an attempt to silence whistle blowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Now, Trump and Bannon are rushing through that opened door.”

RSVP to nwu@nwu.org. Space is limited.


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Contest deadline extended to Friday, March 10!

Go forth, Jersey journalists — show us your best work! We’re extending our deadline for annual Excellence in Journalism to 11:59 p.m. Friday, March 10 for all entries except for the Awbrey. The new Awbrey deadline is Friday, March 17 at 11:59 p.m.. (The Awbrey always gets an extra week because of the extra documentation that’s needed.) For info about the contest (categories, guidelines, and directions for how to submit your work), click on the relevant contest tabs on the navigation bar above. As has been the case for several years now, the contest is managed online through BetterBNC. Click here to reach the BetterBNC platform. If you’re having trouble navigating the system, don’t hesitate to contact our contest administrator Terry Williams at 619-743-3669 or email her at spj.nj@cox.net.


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