Students at Montclair State University prepare for broadcast during the Election Night Open Newsroom. Photo by Joseph Amditis.

NJ News Commons partners team up with NJ Spotlight, Montclair State students for election night open newsroom

The News Lab at Montclair State University hosted a half-dozen media professionals and more than 100 students for collaborative reporting on election results

For the last several elections, members and media partners of the NJ News Commons have teamed up with NJ Spotlight to host an election night open newsroom. The recurring reporting partnership brings together publishers, freelancers and journalists from across the Garden State to cover elections and electoral politics in New Jersey.

Like last year, this election night open newsroom was a big event. We partnered with each of Montclair State University’s campus media properties — Wired Jersey, WMSC 90.3 FM, Carpe Diem and The Montclarion — as well as the Montclair State University Broadcast and Media Operations team and TV34 Montclair to host a two-hour live election results broadcast. We were joined by a group of students from NJIT and their faculty adviser, Miriam Ascarelli, as well as a group of student reporters from TCNJ and The Streetlight. In total, more than 100 students participated in the effort.

The show included in-studio interviews with experts and commentators, as well as reporters in the field and on the ground at election parties for several of the major candidates in New Jersey’s contested congressional races. The team also debuted a series of pre-produced interviews and video packages, all of which were created by student journalists and budding media-makers.

The entire production was streamed live online and broadcast on TV34 Montclair, including a simulcast on 90.3 WMSC FM.

And, of course, members of the NJ News Commons were on hand to populate NJ Spotlight’s live statewide results map. A half-dozen journalists and media professionals representing different organizations across New Jersey joined students at the election night open newsroom to either work on the map or do their own reporting from the newsroom.

This year’s event marked the fifth time that the Center and NJ Spotlight have teamed up on election night.

The live results maps and graphics are based on a series of Google Sheets, which are populated by Center partners and members of the NJ News Commons network who gather at the open newsroom on election night to input data and check each other’s work.

Once the data is entered into the appropriate spreadsheet, the information appears on the interactive maps and charts. The maps can be embedded and republished by news outlets, partners and other websites from all over the state — all free of charge.

👋 Interested in participating next time?

Have ideas about how we could make future open newsrooms even better? Let us know by sending an email to

Joe Amditis is the associate director of the Center for Cooperative Media. You can reach him on Twitter at @jsamditis or via email at

About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. The Center is supported with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, the New Jersey Local News Lab Fund of the Community Foundation of New Jersey and the Abrams Foundation. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism, and in doing so serve New Jersey residents. For more information, visit