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Joe Amditis

Associate Director of Operations, School of Communication and Media

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B.A. – Rutgers University, School of Arts & Sciences
M.A. – CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

Joe Amditis serves as the assistant director of products and events at the Center for Cooperative Media, an initiative of the School of Communication & Media at Montclair State University. He also teaches multimedia production for strategic communications (STCM140).


I specialize in local news ecosystem management and support, with concentrations in local new innovation, collaborative journalism, project management, and the chronically online.


Research Projects

Looking back on 10 years of cooperative media

This year, the Center for Cooperative Media celebrated its 10th birthday at Montclair State University. We outlined at the beginning of this year some of the steps we planned to take to mark the occasion, including:

A piece of commissioned art from a local NJ-based artist
A series of blog posts on what NJ local news needs over the next decade
A convening to celebrate with our partners and funders
We also decided to put together a brief video presentation that recaps the last ten years of work and accomplishments from Center staff and partners over the years.

How we organized a nationwide pro-democracy reporting collaborative

Nearly 400 newsrooms from across the United States participated in Democracy Day 2022 on Sept. 15, publishing dozens of stories, editorials, and posts about democratic process, threats, challenges, and opportunities in the U.S.

This post is an attempt to explain what happened during that eight month window and how the collaborative came together, in the hopes that others will take the initiative to form similar collaboratives of their own going forward.

What we learned about hybrid events after this year’s Collaborative Journalism Summit

In May 2022, we hosted the sixth annual Collaborative Journalism Summit in Chicago — but also on Zoom. It was the first in-person event we’d done since the pandemic began and the first hybrid event we’d ever done.

This post is an attempt to share some of the strategies we employed, challenges we faced, and lessons we learned along the way in the hopes that it will help make your events more successful in the future.

Layoffs in Local Newsrooms: Documenting the changing NJ local journalism ecosystem (2017)

New Jersey saw significant cuts to its journalism corps in 2016. This was primarily due to the acquisition of North Jersey Media Group by Gannett Co. and ensuing layoffs, although other media organizations contracted as well. This report seeks to document the North Jersey layoffs and to provide more detail about who and what was lost to the local journalism ecosystem in the process. For example, in a small survey of laid-off journalists conducted in December 2016, we find that nearly half had more than 20 years of experience covering local communities. We also ask the most important question: what impact did these layoffs have on the news and information provided by these outlets? In a comparison of four newspapers before and after the takeover, we find clear evidence of decreases in substantive community news and information. We conclude with strategic recommendations for interventions and strengthening the local journalism ecosystem.

Everyone's A Little Bit Colorblind: A Critical Review of Avenue Q (2014)

In this paper, I examine the song “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist” from the 2003 Broadway musical, Avenue Q, as it relates to conceptions of race and power relations in the United States. The widespread success, critical acclaim, and notoriety of the show within the theater industry make Avenue Q a worthy candidate for critical analysis. When viewed from a cultural analysis perspective, the song functions as a tool of hegemony by convincing viewers to support the seemingly equitable state of race and power relations presented in the media text. The songwriters failed to include any reference to historical context or the systemic and structural elements of contemporary American racism. This leaves the consumer to conclude that “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist” because of some inherent human tendency toward racism and discrimination. In this sense, the song reinforces the notion of a “colorblind,” post-racial American society and perpetuates the normalization of the white perspective with regard to race relations.

White Men Can't Joke: Racial Hierarchy and Traditional Race Narratives in Humor and Comedy (2013)

Stereotypical depictions of race and ethnicity foster attitudes of white supremacy and reinforce the racial status quo. In this article, I examine the relationships between conceptions of race, whiteness, and humor to determine their effects on public discourse surrounding issues of race. I find that humorous and stereotypical depictions of race in the media, even those deemed to possess an oppositional framework, perpetuate hierarchical conceptions of race and traditional distortions of racial narratives. These narratives consistently value whites and white social norms over blacks and black social norms, thus preserving the historically privileged social status of whites in America. Understanding the complex relationship between race and humor can help to provide a clearer picture of the state of race relations in the United States, allowing us to move forward in the struggle for racial and social justice.

War Crimes in Gaza: Operation Cast Lead in International Law

In December of 2008, Israel launched a full-scale attack on the Gaza Strip. Beginning with an air strike on December 27, Israel continued its offensive against Gaza for approximately 22 days, resulting in over 5,000 casualties. After conducting over 2,360 air strikes and several ground assaults initiated on January 3, 2009, the fighting finally came to an end on January 18. The offensive, known as Operation Cast Lead, raised questions concerning the legality of the manner and magnitude of Israel’s use of force against Gaza. The Israeli government claims that Operation Cast Lead was a valid exercise of Israel’s sovereign right to self-defense and was necessary to stop continuous rocket attacks fired into Israel from Gaza. This article focuses on the events of Operation Cast Lead and the preceding socio-political relationship between Israel and the Occupied Territories, the allegations of war crimes against Israel as they apply to customary international law, and the possibility of recourse through the international community.

Employment Division v. Smith: Peyote in Politics (2012)

The case is complex and rife with controversy. Any time the interests of the State are pitted against the interests and freedoms of the individual there is always an expectation of backlash from the losing side. This case exemplifies the clash between societal needs and individual rights. The State has a duty to prevent possible harm and provide for the general welfare of the public while safeguarding the rights of minorities from the tyranny of the majority. This becomes increasingly difficult in a society that contains a multitude of political, religious, and intellectual persuasions. This difficulty is compounded when the parties involved have an intricate historical and political relationship with the State. The distinctive and multifaceted historical relationship between the Native American Peoples and the United States Government presents unique constitutional and legal questions in determining what constitutes a proper balance between the rights of the citizens and the powers of the State. Furthermore, in determining the extent of religious protections afforded by the First Amendment, this case illustrates that the line between religious belief and religious exercise may not be as obvious or clearly defined as many would suppose.

Responsibility to Overthrow: Libyan Regime Change and the Politics of Intervention (2012)

In February 2011, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolutions 1970 and 1973 in response to the violence and ongoing human rights violations being committed against the people of Libya by Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi and his regime. Citing Chapter VII authority, the Security Council demanded an immediate cease-fire, an end to the violence and all attacks against civilians, and called for member states to “take all necessary measures” to prevent further civilian casualties and enforce compliance with the resolution. This article will illustrate the ways in which NATO’s armed intervention in Libya violated customary norms, standards, and practices of international law. This article will also demonstrate the ways in which, from a broader historical perspective, the bombing campaign in Libya constitutes yet another episode in the ongoing saga of Western hypocrisy and global hegemony.