Attendees at the Collaborative Journalism Summit enjoy a view of the New York City skyline from the School of Communication and Media building at Montclair State University. Photo by Tom Franklin.

Summit brings journalists together to talk collaboration

By Jared Kofsky

From political potlucks in New Jersey’s residential neighborhoods to newsrooms throughout France teaming up to cover an election, the last several years have seen a major increase in collaborative reporting efforts of all sorts.

“Different kinds of collaborations are happening between media organizations and between journalists and community members all over the country and the more that we can learn from each other the better,” explained Stefanie Murray, director of the Center for Cooperative Media.

VIDEO: “The State of Collaboration 2018,” produced by the Center for Cooperative Media.

The desire to learn more about these sorts of partnerships brought nearly 150 reporters, editors, students, and leaders to Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media on May 10–11 for the second annual Collaborative Journalism Summit. The event, which was presented with the assistance of organizations such as the Democracy Fund, the Knight Foundation, and the Rita Allen Foundation, featured nearly two dozen presentations, workshops, and lightning talks.

A variety of collaborative journalism campaigns were discussed by presenters over the course of two days. Not only were local projects like the recent Voting Block project in New Jersey and The Reentry Project last year in Philadelphia highlighted during the summit, but nationwide campaigns from the United States, France, and Mexico such as Electionland, CrossCheck, and #Verificado2018 were analyzed in order to give attendees a global perspective.

“These kinds of projects are helping to increase and build public trust in the media,” said Renaissance Journalism Executive Director and San Francisco State University professor Jon Funabiki.

At the beginning of the summit’s second day, participants were welcomed by Murray and Teresa Gorman from the Democracy Fund and were given an opportunity to discuss successful collaborations that they participated in with their neighbors in the audience.

“The Democracy Fund is a foundation that believes that local news is essential to a healthy democracy,” Gorman told the crowd. ”We’re thrilled to sponsor the Collaborative Journalism Summit in the second year with organizations that we collaborate with often.”

The summit was held within the School of Communication and Media’s new state of the art building overlooking the New York and Jersey City skylines. Tours of the facility were provided to attendees by Montclair State University students.

“I’m really thankful that we had so many innovators in collaborative journalism come to Montclair for this event,” said Murray.

Jared Kofsky covers New Jersey government, economic development, real estate, transportation, and more for Jersey Digs.

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