Apply now! NJ Sustainability Reporting Fellowship

The New Jersey Sustainability Reporting Hub is now accepting applications for its second cohort of sustainability reporting fellows. Download a fellowship application here.

The project is a statewide media collaborative that aims to help speed society’s transition away from fossil fuels and restore healthy living environments for future generations through solutions journalism. Selected fellows and their editors will have tremendous learning opportunities through orientations, briefings, field trips, collaboration, mentorship, and groundbreaking assignments. Fellowships run February 24 through August 31, 2020.

For more information, click here. The application deadline is Jan. 22.…

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2020 Signature Awards! Enter now!

The start of a new year means it’s time to rummage through your clips and submit your best work to our annual Signature Awards contest! Our fees remain the same as always: $20 per entry for SPJ members, $25 for non-members. To learn more about our 10 categories, including one for outstanding New Jersey journalism educator, click here. To submit your work, click here. The contest closes at 11:59 p.m. Feb. 23, 2020. Questions? Contact our contest coordinator Sue Toth at or call 973-378-0327.

If you’re looking for a contest with more categories, Jersey journalists are invited to submit their work to the Keystone (PA) chapter of SPJ’s annual Best in Journalism contest. Keystone will be launching its competition at the end of January. Stay tuned for details!…

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What we did in 2019

2019 was a year of great highs and lows. We were ecstatic when our national organization recognized the Red Bank home of muckraking journalist T. Thomas Fortune as an SPJ national historic site in journalism; we were devastated by the loss of John Ensslin, a dear friend, outstanding journalist and our immediate past chapter president — who had the added pedigree of having served as president of our national organization.

We were proud to lend our voices to legislative efforts that successfully convinced a state Senate Committee to say yes to a bill that would have boosted press rights for high school and college journalists in New Jersey —  and disappointed when that bill (known as New Jersey New Voices) could not get a hearing before an equivalent committee in the state Assembly, effectively knocking things back to square one.

Finally, we would be remiss not to mention other accomplishments of 2019, including our on-going First Amendment advocacy, our efforts to document the legacy of Garden State journalism through our NJ SPJ Journalism Hall of Fame and the skills-based workshops we organized to help our friends and colleagues keep up with trends in our industry.

A heart-felt thank you to all our members and supporters. We’ve got big plans for 2020, so stay tuned!

To learn more about our chapter and what we’ve done over the years, see our website’s “About page” and scroll down until you see our list of activities.…

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News Release: Oct. 26 celebration of SPJ’s designation of Red Bank home of T. Thomas Fortune as a historic site in journalism

Please let us know if you plan to attend! Click here for the registration page


• Miriam Ascarelli, president of the New Jersey chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists,
• Gilda Rogers, vice president, T. Thomas Fortune Foundation, 732-383-5483

RED BANK — The New Jersey chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the T.
Thomas Fortune Foundation will join together on Oct. 26 to co-host an afternoon of festivities to celebrate the African American journalist T. Thomas Fortune and SPJ’s recent designation of Fortune’s Red Bank home as a historic site in journalism.

The celebration, to be held at the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, 94 Dr. James Parker Blvd., Red Bank, will run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The cultural center — which opened this year –once served as the home of Fortune and his family.

The family lived there from 1901 until 1911. Although Fortune’s story has been largely forgotten, Fortune was co-owner and editor of The New York Age, one of the leading black newspapers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

He used his newspaper as a vehicle to speak out against lynching, black disenfranchisement and other injustices. In addition to the unveiling of a bronze plaque from the Society of Professional Journalists designating the Fortune home as a historic site in journalism, the program will feature a talk by Dr. Walter Greason, president of the T. Thomas Fortune Foundation, about how Fortune influenced the development of Red Bank and also helped to radicalize the black press.

After the ceremony, there will be tours of the newly restored Fortune house and an opportunity to see the cultural center’s current exhibition, Afrofuturism & Afrofuturist Design: From Ancient Dogon to Wakandan Futures. Light refreshments will also be served.

Fortune’s home — which he named Maple Hall — was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and the New Jersey Register in 1979. However, by the early 2000’s, the house had fallen into disrepair and was slated for demolition.

It was saved from the wrecking ball in 2016, thanks to the efforts of local activists and developer Roger Mumford, who came up with a plan to restore the house and convert it to a cultural center and to build 31 luxury apartments in the style of the home in the back of the property.

The restored home re-opened as the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center at Fortune Square this past May. The Society of Professional Journalists’ National Historic Sites in Journalism program is completely separate from the historic site registries administered by the state and federal governments. Thanks to a nomination by the New Jersey chapter, SPJ named the Fortune House a National Historic Site in Journalism this summer.…

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Access 101: Journalists cannot be barred from public meetings

NJ-SPJ is very concerned about an event on Wednesday at City Hall in Newark where members of the media were prevented from covering a public meeting. Below is a video from NJTV explaining what happened and the ramifications for the public:

To quote the SPJ mission statement: “It is the role of journalists to provide  . . . information in an accurate, comprehensive, timely and understandable manner.”

At no time is that more important than in the middle of a public health crisis.

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