The School of Communication and Media Launches Cooperative Media Center

Funded by the Dodge and Knight Foundations, the multiplatform hub to create unprecedented news collaboration to strengthen New Jersey voices

Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media (SCM) announced alliances that will bring six of the state’s top media organizations to its campus, providing each with fully operational news bureaus and access to student-internship programs. Housed in the SCM’s Center for Cooperative Media, the organizations – including the New Jersey sites of AOL's Patch, NJ.com, NJ Spotlight, North Jersey Media Group, Reuters and WBGO – will join existing on-campus news operations established by New Jersey Public Radio and NJTV.

The Center for Cooperative Media was created last fall and is founded on six key principles: strengthen new and existing voices throughout New Jersey; create a hub for New Jersey media that serves as both a centralized and virtual resource center; build and maximize strategic alliances between the SCM and New Jersey media entities; provide SCM students, faculty and their classes with unique, professional, on-campus multi-platform opportunities and internships; develop and fund initiatives that encourage media collaboration and expand news coverage within the state; and provide needed training and assistance that addresses the changing media landscape, particularly on the local and hyper-local levels.

The multi-platform representation makes the Center a hub for New Jersey media and a focal point for media collaboration throughout the state.

“By organizing all of these top news and information entities under one roof here at Montclair State University, we are providing them with an easy way to effectively and collaboratively report the news of New Jersey and its communities,” said Merrill Brown, SCM's director. “The reporters and producers from each of the organizations on campus will still continue to work on their daily assignments, but will also have the opportunity to collaborate by simply walking down the hall and talking to each other and to University students and faculty.”

This latest announcement comes on the heels of the recent establishment of partnerships between Montclair State University and New Jersey Public Radio (a part of New York Public Radio) and NJTV (New Jersey’s only statewide television network). The University announced partnerships with each organization in late 2011 and early 2012, with each developing capabilities inside Montclair State University facilities.

“Montclair State University is the broadcast home for our news program, NJ Today with Mike Schneider,” said John Servidio, general manager of NJTV. “Our partnership has resulted in many collaborative opportunities, and the new Center for Cooperative Media promises to further enhance our content-sharing opportunities with the school and other news outlets, resulting in more comprehensive news and information for the people of New Jersey.”

Through major investments by the University and generous gifts from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Center leverages the resources of the SCM’s high-quality television and radio broadcast studios, editing suites, multiplatform newsrooms, advanced Internet and IT facilities, office space and operating and technical support services. This modern, physical-working environment provides needed support to media organizations throughout the state.

The Center is led by Matthew Frankel, associate director of Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives at the SCM, and reflects the School’s commitment to media innovation and journalistic collaboration, and serves as a focal point for expanding news and information in the state. It ensures deeper coverage and greater distribution of New Jersey-centric news and results in valuable alliances that help guarantee continued coverage in the future.

Building this focal point for New Jersey media also provides SCM students with unique, on-campus work-study and internship opportunities and a curriculum that includes direct engagement with media. It also will serve as a national anchor for forums, guest lectures and research into the future of journalism.

“Given the constant stream of emerging technologies, the continuous upheaval of the industry and the increasing appetite for instantaneous reporting, there is an urgent need for a new model of education to prepare students who study in the fields of communication and media,” said Brown. “The Center for Cooperative Media will address this need by giving our students the unique opportunity to have a creative edge over their peers and allowing them to quickly become the next generation of leaders in the industry.”

The Center for Cooperative Media is built on alliances with the following organizations:

•    New Jersey Public Radio (NJPR) News
NJPR News is WNYC's expanding multi-platform editorial service focused on New Jersey news and public affairs across a range of beats, from state politics, transparency, and governance to educational opportunity and reform. Stories from NJPR News can be heard on WNYC and New Jersey Public Radio, a network of four stations that WNYC launched in 2012. NJPR content is produced both at Montclair State University and at WNYC headquarters.

•    NJ.com
NJ.com is New Jersey's most popular digital destination for local news, regional sports coverage, entertainment options, jobs information and listings of cars and houses for sale. In addition to the work of its own reporters, NJ.com publishes content from The Star-Ledger, the Jersey Journal, the Times of Trenton, the South Jersey Times and several weeklies. As part of the Center, NJ.com operates a news bureau in Schmitt Hall.

•    NJTV
NJTV brings quality public television programs and resources to communities throughout New Jersey and its tri-state neighbors. The station’s week-nightly news broadcast, NJToday with Mike Schneider, features stories from across the Garden State and is broadcasted live from the DuMont Media Center. Additionally, its 25-person news bureau is located in Schmitt Hall. NJTV complements its growing news staff by partnering with state-wide media and higher education institutions, including Montclair State University. The network’s website posts the latest local news, information and program schedules, and its Education section offers local educators free, classroom-ready, digital resources through VITALNJ.

•    NJ News Commons
The NJ News Commons is the first funded initiative of the Center, and fosters cooperation, collaboration and support to New Jersey digital news organizations. The NJ News Commons creates statewide training opportunities, conferences and panels for New Jersey digital news sites, curates and showcases the best daily news content from around the state, builds collaborative projects among various news brand so more statewide reporting can occur, provides general assistance to digital news and information in areas such as revenue creation, legal assistance, and research, and helps fund new websites and initiatives in under-served areas around the state.

In the months after its creation, the Commons drew multiple sources of news and social media into a live Hurricane Sandy blog, which ran on sites throughout the state, and led an initiative to see how storm damage was affecting voting. In January, it co-sponsored "Hack Jersey," a 24-hour competition allowing groups of journalists and software coders to team together to create original projects that could transform the way New Jersey residents use data and experience news.

•    NJ Spotlight
NJ Spotlight is an online Statehouse news service that provides issue-oriented analysis and reporting on topics critical to New Jersey. Focusing on the issues of education, energy, environment, healthcare, and public finance, NJ Spotlight won the international Online Journalism Award for General Excellence in 2011 and continues to expand with its content partnerships with the state's major public and private media outlets. The organization operates a news bureau in Schmitt Hall.

•    North Jersey Media Group (NJMG)
Using The Record newspaper as its editorial anchor, the Center and NJMG have created a multiplatform enterprise unit that will focus on addressing under-reported statewide issues and lead to positive change within the government or the private sector. NJMG operates a news office in Schmitt Hall.

•    Patch.com
Patch.com is AOL's leading online local news and information platform with more than 80 hyper-local news sites across the state. As part of the Center, Patch.com operates a news bureau in Schmitt Hall.

•    Reuters
Reuters has identified Montclair State University as a location for a temporary newsroom in the event of a regional emergency. In addition, Reuters’ staff in the area will occasionally work out of the University’s satellite office.

•    WBGO
WBGO is a publicly supported radio station that has provided New Jersey audiences with jazz and news for more than 30 years. The news department is one of the most-decorated departments in public radio with more than 200 awards in just the last 15 years. In an effort to dramatically expand and deepen its news coverage and work in collaboration with the members of the Center, WBGO operates a satellite news bureau, producing news programs broadcast from Montclair State University’s new radio facility. WBGO will also have a programming office at the University where it hopes to build new content opportunities, especially in the area of jazz and music.

For more information about the Center for Cooperative Media, visit here. Read an article in "The Star-Ledger" here.