Are you a freelancer or independent journalist in New Jersey? Join our network

The NJ News Commons is expanding to include freelancers and independent journalists in the Garden State

Since it was launched in 2012, the NJ News Commons — the flagship project of the Center for Cooperative Media — has served as an important connection point for local and independent media in New Jersey.

We currently count 250 news and media organizations as members in the NJ News Commons. That includes hyperlocal digital publishers, public media, newspapers, television outlets, radio stations and multimedia news organizations.

But as we’ve been working recently on other ways that we can positively impact the news ecosystem in New Jersey through the NJ News Commons, we’ve realized we are missing a large and critical mass of communicators: freelance and independent journalists.

In part because North Jersey is a “bedroom community” for people who work in New York City media, and in part because of the continuing downsizing and layoffs we see in corporate-owned media, our state is full of freelancers. We live in an area that’s rich with experienced and creative communicators.

So we’re inviting them to join the NJ News Commons network.

Ultimately, we’re hoping that expanding our network to include freelancers and independent journalists will help us better partner those people with opportunities to report on local news and events.

We believe strongly in the concept of “partnerships not parachutes,” — that national, statewide and regional news organizations especially can improve their reporting by partnering with local community members and local journalists when covering something of local interest. (That’s a big part of the thinking behind our local/national news partnerships project, which you can read more about here.)

As the number of news organizations operating in our state has dwindled, it’s harder in many communities to find working journalists. This is where we think the NJ News Commons network of freelancers can come into play.

We also think this will help some of our hyperlocal partners find freelancers, too.

That being said, there are a handful of organizations nationwide that maintain databases for freelancers that are publicly-searchable, although finding independent journalists by geographic area narrows the results quite a bit on each.

Some of those resources include:

And it’s important to note that in New Jersey, we have a great relationship with the New Jersey chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and we encourage local journalists to consider joining that group, too.

Here’s how you can join the NJ News Commons

So, are you a freelancer or independent journalist based in New Jersey? Let us know. Click here to join our network.

(And if you’ve read this far and you’re with a New Jersey news organization that’s NOT a member yet of the NJ News Commons, click here to join as an institutional member)

Joining the NJ News Commons is free. Since we’re a program based at a public university, we’re not a formal membership organization.

Like institutional members of the NJ News Commons, individual members agree to communicate and collaborate with one another. Joining our network gets you to access to our communication channels and access to fellow members, as well as first dibs on upcoming training programs and events. We also offer business coaching, connections to technology vendors and other support services, and occasional funding opportunities. In addition, the Center often coordinates collaborative reporting projects in New Jersey (which could benefit from the help of local independent journalists!).

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

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 and Democracy Fund. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism, and in doing so serve New Jersey residents. For more information, visit CenterforCooperativeMedia.org.

An initiative of the School of Communication at Montclair State University

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Joe Amditis

Joe Amditis

Joe is the associate director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University and the host of the WTF Just Happened Today? podcast.

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