Graphic image of an award seal for the ‘2024 NJ News Commons Excellence in Local News Awards’ with the word ‘WINNERS’ prominently displayed at the bottom. The seal is gold with a jagged edge and features the outline of New Jersey in white.

Announcing the winners of the 2024 Excellence in NJ Local News Awards

Joe Amditis
Center for Cooperative Media
4 min readMar 28, 2024


The Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University is thrilled to announce the winners of the 2024 Excellence in New Jersey Local News Awards. This year, we received an astounding 85 submissions, the highest number in the history of our awards program.

The quality of the entries was truly exceptional, making the selection process especially challenging.

After careful consideration, we have selected the following 10 award winners who exemplify the vital role that local journalism plays in informing and serving New Jersey residents and communities:

Jackie Lieberman, TAPinto Westfield

Lieberman’s reporting on fake AI-generated pornographic photos made of high school students tackled a deeply disturbing issue with serious implications for the well-being and privacy of students. Jackie’s reporting helped inform the community and led to legislative action to address the problem.

Matt Kadosh and Mark Bonamo, TAPinto Newark

Kadosh and Bonamo’s article on exploited immigrant workers getting overdue pay directly led to the resolution of an injustice against a vulnerable population. Their journalism served as a catalyst for positive change, demonstrating the tangible impact of local news.

Charlie Kratovil, New Brunswick Today

Kratovil’s dogged investigative work exposed taxpayer funds being misused to defend a councilman in a harassment suit. Charlie’s reporting, which included obtaining court audio and attending public meetings, exemplifies the watchdog role of local journalism in holding elected officials accountable.

John Heinis, Hudson County View

Heinis uncovered that a school superintendent lied about having a doctorate for years. John’s diligent research and questioning revealed a troubling pattern of deception, promoting accountability in the school system.

Therese Jacob, TAPinto Newark

Jacob’s coverage of Newark’s failure to provide struggling students with needed tutoring revealed a critical failure by the school district to support its most vulnerable students. Therese’s reporting sparked a broader conversation and legislative action to address the problem.

George Donnelly, MyVeronaNJ

Donnelly’s meticulously researched feature on slavery’s role in Verona’s early history, completed as a high school student, sheds light on a painful and often overlooked aspect of local history. George’s article promotes a deeper understanding and reckoning with the legacy of slavery.

Krystal Knapp, Planet Princeton

Knapp’s coverage of the abrupt closing of a nursing home provided crucial information and support for the families and vulnerable residents affected by this distressing event. Krystal’s commitment to following the story and holding authorities accountable exemplifies the vital role of local news in times of crisis.

Christopher Mele, Michael Mele, and Meg McGuire, Delaware Currents

Their extensive investigation into the proliferation of warehouses and their environmental impact revealed the scale and consequences of an under-reported issue with major implications for the region’s environment and quality of life. Their comprehensive, data-driven analysis equips the community to better understand and address this challenge.

Eunyoung Lee, Minhye Kang, Hoonsik Woo, Jongwon Park, and Junhan Park, The Korea Daily

Their four-part series on the death of a baby in 2022 and the subsequent arrest of the mother went above and beyond to uncover failures by local police officials and prosecutors. They provided an in-depth look at how cultural barriers led to the mother’s arrest and incarceration.

Matt Skoufalos, NJ Pen

Skoufalos’s deep dive on the complex waste disposal and emissions issues around a trash incinerator demonstrates the value of local journalism in informing and empowering communities. By presenting the various stakeholders and considerations involved, Matt’s reporting enables readers to better understand and engage with this critical challenge.

We want to express our heartfelt congratulations to all the winners and thank every journalist who submitted their work. Your dedication to producing high-quality, impactful local journalism is an inspiration to us all.

Once again, congratulations to the winners, and thank you to all the journalists across New Jersey who work tirelessly to keep their communities informed and engaged.

Joe Amditis is the assistant director of products and events at the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. 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 support an informed society in New Jersey and beyond. The Center is supported with funding from Montclair State University, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium, the Independence Public Media Foundation, Rita Allen Foundation, Inasmuch Foundation and John S. and James L. Knight 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.