Image via Joe Amditis.

Announcing the Racial Equity in NJ News Media initiative and advisory board search

The Center for Cooperative Media launches new racial equity initiative in New Jersey and begins advisory board search


The Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University is proud to announce a series of initiatives beginning in 2024 to specifically advocate for and support diverse representation and racial equity in newsrooms throughout New Jersey’s local news ecosystem.

The Racial Equity in NJ News Media initiative will build on previous Center programming thanks to support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Democracy Fund. The program will include research to better understand the extent to which New Jersey newsrooms currently reflect the diversity of communities they serve and will seek to increase news coverage produced by and for the state’s communities of color through support for journalists of color.

The Center does not believe that New Jersey’s media landscape currently reflects the diversity of the state’s population and that it is generally oriented to the needs and perspectives of affluent and mostly White communities. Newsrooms that are more representative of their readership and surrounding communities would provide more nuanced and comprehensive news coverage.

The work of fostering diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging takes time and intentionality. It will require listening to various stakeholders to understand the current news landscape, including how hiring practices, newsroom demographics and access to training and career development impact the news ecosystem.

This work will call for learning from these insights in order to expand and plan the appropriate course for our vision. And this effort will hopefully lead to positive gains as we build support for journalists of color and advocate for increasingly diverse newsrooms.

To help us lay the foundation for the Racial Equity in NJ News Media initiative, we are seeking the insight and collaboration of an advisory board. This group will ideally consist of six advisors that are representative of New Jersey.

We seek the guidance of stakeholders who understand the important role of equity and representation in newsroom staffing to help better serve and respond to the information needs of audiences from various communities throughout the Garden State.

We are excited to share more developments about this new initiative later this year and into 2024!

Makeup of the board:

The Racial Equity in NJ News Media initiative seeks to engage a board of six advisors representative of New Jersey media organizations, and also representative of other stakeholders who understand the important role of equity and representation in newsroom staffing to help better serve and respond to the information needs of audiences from various communities throughout the Garden States.

The Center seeks to recruit a diverse board, representing different geographies, racial and ethnic groups, genders, ages and abilities.

Roles and responsibilities:

The roles and responsibilities of the advisory board include:

  • Be a vocal advocate about diversity in New Jersey media. This could include, but is not limited to:
  • Participating in panel discussions about diversity and equity.
  • Visiting New Jersey newsrooms to discuss diversity and equity in news.
  • Writing or creating video content about issues that arise in the New Jersey news ecosystem relating to diversity and equity that deserve praise or criticism.
  • Advocating publicly in other ways to support journalists from marginalized groups.
  • Attend quarterly meetings, one of which will be in-person.
  • Provide input to the CCM’s Assistant director for membership and programming and the team about the Center’s DEIB work and planning at the meetings and as needed electronically.
  • Participate in other ways that are determined between you and the CCM assistant director.


Advisory board members will receive an annual stipend of $2,000 for their time and participation.

Selection process:

Center staff, led by the assistant director, will select the advisory board. Care will be taken to select a group that is representative of the people most harmed and marginalized by a lack of diversity in New Jersey newsrooms. Those applicants not selected will be contacted to discuss other ways they can be involved in the Center’s racial equity work.

Apply today!

Please fill out this form to apply to join the advisory board by Friday November 17, 2023.


If you have questions, please contact Cassandra Etienne, the assistant director for membership and programming, at

Cassandra Etienne is the assistant director of membership and programming at the Center for Cooperative Media. Contact her at

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 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 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

Image prompt: “journalism diversity, BIPOC, local news, graphic novel, hopeful, optimistic, bright -people -faces -ar 14:9 -s 750” via Midjourney v4 (plus light editing in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.