Center for Cooperative Media Holds Engage Local Conference

Second national conference focuses on revolution in media and how it affects cities

Photo: Mike Peters

Panelists take questions at the Town Hall Discussion on the first day of the "ENGAGE Local" conference.

Montclair State University’s Center for Cooperative Media, together with the City of Newark and Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka jointly hosted the Center’s second national conference, entitled “ENGAGE Local,” on June 15 and 16, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the Robert Treat Hotel.

The event focused on a range of timely and hotly debated topics related to the interaction between community and media. The Center for Cooperative Media, which has emerged in the past three years as a national leader in local media innovation, created a program that initiated new conversations about the industry’s changing role in the current, highly connected world.

“This conference was an important opportunity for community stakeholders, economic leaders and representatives of both the traditional and new forms of media to develop strategies to better inform residents about the facts, issues, and initiatives they need to know about, and how they can make their voices heard.” remarked Mayor Baraka. “I am grateful to Montclair State for joining with us to host this conference, proud of all the people who attended to bring their expertise and excited about the developments that will emerge from this event.”

The conference opened on June 15 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center with an evening public forum involving civic leaders, journalists, urban planners and the general public entitled “Renaissance or Gentrification: How do we discuss redevelopment in Newark?” A diverse panel of experts including Deputy Mayor of Economic and Housing Development Baye Adofo-Wilson, Glocallynewark.com publisher Derek Ware, former Washington Post reporter Dale Russakoff, along with other public opinion leaders addressed concerns and answered questions.

“Montclair State University has long been committed to serving the city of Newark, particularly through major programs in the city’s schools and through the enrollment at the University of thousands of Newark residents,” said Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole. “We are, therefore, pleased that the second annual conference presented by the University’s Center for Cooperative Media is taking place in Newark, and we appreciate Mayor Baraka’s collaboration in this effort.”

The second day’s event, themed “Media engaging the local community,” included panel discussions and speakers, who offered real-world examples of community engagement from media leaders across the country. The daylong event featured a conversation between Merrill Brown, director of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State and Marty Baron, editor-in-chief of The Washington Post. They discussed the Post’s strategies for reaching new audiences, deploying engagement tools and ways through coverage to develop audiences, locally, nationally and internationally.