Image via Joe Amditis.

Acting NJDCA Commissioner pledges advocacy for increased state ad funds to NJ ethnic media

Takeaways from a recent press briefing with Jaquelyn Suárez of the NJ Department of Community Affairs

Joe Amditis
Center for Cooperative Media
3 min readNov 17


At a recent press briefing hosted by the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University, Acting Commissioner Jaquelyn Suárez of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) participated in an insightful and substantive discussion about state advertising dollars and their allocation to ethnic and community media in New Jersey, among other topics.

Making history as New Jersey’s first Hispanic commissioner of NJDCA, Suárez says she is steering the department towards fulfilling its core mission: offering financial support, administrative guidance, and technical assistance to New Jersey residents, local governments, businesses, and community development organizations.

Under her leadership, she says the department will strive to improve the quality of life for families across the state.

Watch the press briefing on YouTube.

Penda Howell, co-publisher of NJ Urban News, raised the issue of the distribution of the state’s advertising budget. “Last year alone, state agencies, including the Department of Community Affairs, spent north of $32 million on advertising. But ethnic and community media received little to none of that,” Howell pointed out.

Commissioner Suárez acknowledged the challenge and touched on the DCA’s current approach. “What I do know is that DCA has and does advertise with ethnic media outlets. But we have a very small advertising budget,” Suárez responded. The DCA’s larger campaigns, Suárez continued, “all have ethnic media components to them,” such as those promoting lead remediation and utility assistance programs.

Suárez also committed to advocating for a more equitable distribution of funds.

“What I’m happy to promise and to pledge is that I will have continued conversations with the governor’s office as we’re preparing our next budget cycle, to kind of see, you know, some of these promises that have been made,” Suárez said.

The Commissioner’s response marks a significant acknowledgment of the disparity in advertising spending and the need for a more inclusive approach. It also highlights the ongoing dialogue between various stakeholders in the media landscape, highlighting the collective effort towards addressing disparities in media funding.

In addition to the discussion on state advertising dollars for ethnic and community media, Commissioner Jaquelyn Suárez of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) addressed several other key topics during the recent press briefing.

One of the other main themes of the briefing was the DCA’s approach to tackling homelessness and the affordable housing crisis in New Jersey. Commissioner Suárez emphasized the department’s commitment to innovative and multifaceted strategies. She highlighted the importance of not only creating more affordable housing but also ensuring the retention of existing affordable units and their transition into safe, stable, and affordable homeownership opportunities.

This approach is seen as pivotal in addressing socioeconomic disparities and bridging wealth gaps, especially in historically marginalized communities.

Ultimately, the press briefing was a constructive platform that facilitated important discussions, demonstrating the value of open dialogues among local media professionals, government representatives, and community stakeholders in shaping a more equitable media environment.

The Center hopes this press briefing and others like it lead to further dialogue and action toward more equitable media funding strategies in New Jersey. You can watch the recording from the press briefing above or click here to view it on YouTube.

👋 Want to continue the conversation?

Join the Center for a virtual discussion on Nov. 28 about how New Jersey should allocate state advertising dollars. Click here to register.

Joe Amditis is assistant director of products and events at the Center for Cooperative Media. Contact him at or on Twitter at @jsamditis.

About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a primarily grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism, and in doing so serve New Jersey residents. The Center is supported with operational and project funding from Montclair State University, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, NJ Civic Information Consortium, Rita Allen Foundation, Inasmuch Foundation and the Independence Public Media Foundation. For more information, visit



Joe Amditis
Center for Cooperative Media

Associate director of products + events, Center for Cooperative Media; host + producer, WTF Just Happened Today podcast.