By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
POMONA — A regional nonpartisan think tank issued a report last week calling for stronger support for small and digital media outlets weeks before many ethnic and community newsrooms plan to come together to signal some of the same themes.
South Jersey Forward, a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank and advocacy organization, released its report on filling the local news void in South Jersey titled “The (Sad) State of Local Media in South Jersey and How to Change It.”
South Jersey is viewed as a so-called “news desert,” with traditional daily newspapers dramatically shrinking over the past decade with no television newscast dedicated directly to South Jersey.
Leaders of many ethnic and community news outlets to meet at Stockton University in Atlantic City on Nov. 10, where they will be calling for similar support of their smaller news organizations from the state and local businesses to fill the bulging news coverage gap in South Jersey and around the state.
It is the first time ever that the state’s ethnic and community news organizations have come together to network and build their presence in the state’s news sphere. The event is sponsored by Front Runner New Jersey.com and the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University.
“By working together — citizens, the private sector, and government — we can chart a path forward toward a revitalized local media landscape in South Jersey,” South Jersey Forward founder Mike Suleiman said in a statement introducing the report.
“A stronger local media presence is not only crucial for keeping communities informed but also for fostering transparency, accountability, and a sense of civic engagement,” Suleiman added.
The report made several recommendations, including:
- Amending state law to allow for some public notices to be placed in all-digital news outlets.
- Establishing sales aggregators so that advertising can be bundled among multiple news organizations, helping small outlets become profitable.
- Making it easier for news organizations to transition to nonprofit status.
“This isn’t an area where we’ll accomplish solutions through government,” Suleiman said. “To the contrary, many of our recommendations must be implemented by the news industry and the general public. It’s going to take all of us to fill the local news void in South Jersey.”
This past summer, South Jersey Forward hosted two virtual roundtables with local journalists which formed the basis for this report. Both roundtables can be found here on the South Jersey Forward YouTube channel. Panelists included journalists from TAPinto, New Jersey Globe, 1400 WOND AM, 70and73.com, and Front Runner New Jersey.com.
South Jersey Forward is a nonpartisan and nonprofit think tank and advocacy organization that is committed to exploring bold public policy to solve our problems. Visit us at southjerseyforward.org to look at our past research and roundtables.
The Ethnic and Community News Summit aims to bring together a diverse cohort of journalists, publishers, and reporters from across New Jersey to tackle a critical challenge facing the industry today: revenue and business sustainability.
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