The New Jersey Sustainability Reporting Hub project is a statewide media collaborative and fellowship program that aims to focus attention on restoring our ecosystems through robust multimedia reporting by journalism fellows from around the state.
Newsroom editors agree to publish 12 text stories, or 6 audio or video stories, over a 6-month fellowship period. Stories are published first by the participating newsrooms, and then shared with NJSR Hub under the Creative Commons license. Reporting stipends of $4,000 are paid directly to newsrooms.
The NJSR Hub project highlights newsworthy activity and initiatives taking place throughout New Jersey, in municipalities and schools, and on campuses. Society’s pivot to environmental sustainability will require deep structural changes, and we believe daily news, institutions, and individuals have critical roles to play in expediting that transition.
The New Jersey Sustainability Reporting Hub is now accepting applications for its second cohort of sustainability reporting fellows, which will begin in February 2020.
Newsrooms & Fellows
Participating newsrooms retain editorial independence and are not obliged to publish reporting from other newsrooms involved in the project. Newsrooms participating in the pilot phase through January 2020 are:
- Cape May County Herald
- Green Philly (online)
- New Jersey Hills Media (15 north-central Jersey weeklies)
- The Nubian News (Trenton bi-weekly)
- The Press of Atlantic City
- The Record (NorthJersey.com)
- VillageGreenNJ.com (Maplewood-South Orange, online)
- WBGO Newark Public Radio
Reporting Fellows through January 2020
- 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.
- Brianna Baker – Green Philly – Not only does NJ share a river ecosystem with Philadelphia, we share a news ecosystem too. As a reporter for Green Philly, Brianna brings to the cohort a combined background in journalism and environmental studies, with demonstrated experience in successful collaborative journalism projects.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Rory Pasquariello – New Jersey Hills – Writing recently for The Hudson Reporter, Rory has reported extensively on local issues in some of the most environmentally challenged towns in New Jersey. Hudson County is no stranger to issues of stormwater management, green and grey infrastructure, carbon emissions and power generation. Through this fellowship, Rory is hoping to inform through story – on what NJ people are doing together to foster a safer, healthier, and sustainable ecosystem.
- 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.
Current 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; Hillary Richard, then NJSR Hub Project Manager, and Donna Liu, Media Manager for CivicStory.
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, 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
Founders & Affiliates
The New Jersey Sustainability Reporting Hub 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 pilot phase budget is $70,000, and projected revenue percentages are below.
- 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 Director: Kevin Englert, ProjectDirector@CivicStory.org
- NJSR Hub Engagement Editor: Amanda McConnon, NJSRHub@gmail.com