UPDATE: Read the New Jersey Sustainability Reporting Project Report on Pilot Phase here on collaboration efforts to generate sustainability news in New Jersey.
The New Jersey Sustainability Reporting Project is a statewide media collaborative and fellowship program that focuses on restoring our healthy ecosystems through multimedia reporting by journalism fellows working with diverse newsrooms around the state.
News editors agree to publish text, audio, and/or video stories over a 6-month fellowship period. Stories are published first by the participating newsrooms, and then shared on www.SRHub.org under the Creative Commons license.
The NJSR Project highlights newsworthy sustainability activity and initiatives taking place throughout New Jersey at home, in municipalities and virtually. Society’s pivot to environmental sustainability requires deep structural changes, and the COVID-19 crisis presents an opportunity to accelerate that transition, to the benefit of all people.
Newsrooms & Fellows
Participating newsrooms retain editorial independence and are not obliged to publish reporting from other newsrooms involved in the project. Newsrooms participating in Phase 2 of the project (March to August 2020) are:
- Cape May County Herald
- Next City
- The Hammonton Gazette
- The Press of Atlantic City
- TAPinto Camden
- WBGO Newark Public Radio
Newsrooms that participated in the pilot phase through January 2020 include:
- Green Philly (online)
- The Nubian News (Trenton bi-weekly)
- The Record (NorthJersey.com)
- VillageGreenNJ.com (Maplewood-South Orange, online)
Reporting Fellows in NJSR Project Phase 2:
- Stephanie Avila – WBGO
- Brianna Baker – Next City – As a reporter for Next City, Brianna brings to the cohort a combined background in journalism and environmental studies, with demonstrated experience in successful collaborative journalism projects. (Brianna reported on sustainability for Green Philly in Phase 1.)
- Bill Barlow – Cape May County Herald – As a reporter in Cape May County, Bill has experienced first-hand the issues of sustainability on his beat. Over the years he has covered topics ranging from energy policy to endangered species and sea-level rise, and hopes that his reporting for the Hub can help residents see improvement with the right decisions made. (Bill also reported on sustainability as a Fellow in Phase 1.)
- Joseph Berenato – The Hammonton Gazette
- Vernon Ogrodnek – The Press of Atlantic City – Vernon’s work has encompassed video, photography, and multi-format digital content. He has managed teams as Photo Editor, Multi-Media Editor, producer of daily news videos and packages, and creator/producer of a weekly news-magazine program. A Penn State University graduate, Vern looks forward to creating visual stories of change and transition in southern New Jersey. (Vern also reported on sustainability as a Fellow in Phase 1.)
- Steven Rodas – TAPinto Camden
Reporting Fellows through January 2020 included:
- Ambreen Ali – VillageGreenNJ.com – Since receiving her Masters degree in New Media Journalism from Northwestern University, Ambreen Ali has covered Congress and the White House for CQ Roll Call, served as editor of media and technology news at SmartBrief, and written for the Washington Post, PBS, Seattle Magazine, and Edible Jersey. Ambreen is covering sustainability as a freelance reporter for VillageGreenNJ.com, a news site serving South Orange and Maplewood.
- Molly Fichter – WBGO – A Communications major from Monmouth University, with a concentration in radio and television, Molly has focused her talents on podcast production. She is primarily interested in covering public policy issues related to health, education and sustainability.
- Kelly Ramos – The Nubian News – Through video productions, scriptwriting, and documentaries, Kelly has not shied away from telling difficult stories about homelessness, street culture, gangs, and urban violence, some of which have been featured on the History Channel, Spike TV and the Bio channel. Through the NJSR Fellowship, Kelly hopes to expand his coverage to pollution and waste reduction; urban agriculture and composting; water conservations, and realigning living habits with health and healing the environment.
- Alexis Shanes – NorthJersey.com – Alexis covers environment and investigations for The Record and NorthJersey.com, part of the USA TODAY Network. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications, where she focused on health, environment and science coverage.
NJSR Reporting Fellows were selected by a committee including Dr. Maurice Hall (Chair), Dean of Arts and Communications at The College of New Jersey; Daniel Day, VP of Operations, Princeton University’s Office of Communications; Stefanie Murray, Director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University; Kevin Englert, Former NJSR Project Director and Susan Haig, CivicStory Founder.
An Advisory Board provides guidance and oversight for the NJSR Hub project. Members include:
- Co-chair: Daniel Day, VP Operations, Princeton University Office of Communications
- Co-chair: Kevin Englert, Former NJSR Hub Project Director; Marketing Analyst for Condé Nast
- Jon Gertner, author and journalist
- Susan Haig, CivicStory Founder & Creative Director
- Dr. Maurice Hall, Dean of the School of the Arts & Communication, The College of New Jersey
- Daniela Shebitz, PhD, College of Natural, Applied and Health Sciences, School of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences, Kean University
- Kimberly Tran, Princeton University student (’23); CivicStory Growth & Development Intern
Founders & Affiliates
The New Jersey Sustainability Reporting Project began with a meeting of 16 representatives of environmental, educational, and nonprofit news in January 2019. Four founding partners later pledged seed funding and involvement in weekly planning calls:
- CivicStory, project lead and fiduciary
- Center for Cooperative Media (CCM) at Montclair State University
- New Jersey Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability (NJHEPS)
- Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education (ANJEE)
Nine nonprofit organizations committed to provide in-kind support, such as fellow orientation training, advisement, and dissemination support:
- Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC)
- Camden County Municipal Utility Authority
- Ironbound Community Corporation
- New Jersey Audubon
- New Jersey Future
- PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies at Montclair State University
- Sustainable Jersey
- Sustainable Princeton
- US Green Building Council, NJ Chapter
The NJSR Hub project is partially funded by a diverse group of donors, ranging from foundation sponsorship of $10,000 to small individual donations. The Phase 2 budget is $60,000, and projected revenue percentages are below.
- Announcement: Applications open for NJSR Hub Sustainability Reporting
- Sample NJSR Newsroom Letter of Understanding
- NJSR Hub Fellowship Orientation Speakers
- News Release – Nov 14 2019
- NJSR Hub Project Summary (1-page)
- News Release – Oct 22 2019
- New Jersey Presidents’ Council Resolution – Oct 21 2019
- NJSR Hub Project Manager: Tom Dallessio, firstname.lastname@example.org