New Arrangement Expands New Jersey’s Largest Service Entity for Online News Sites in the State

Montclair, New Jersey – The Citizens Campaign’s “NJ Online News Resource Group” announced today that it will join Montclair State University’s NJ News Commons and its 48 digital news partners from New Jersey. This collaboration will create the largest service organization for online news providers that cover New Jersey. Under the new arrangement, the Commons will assume the hyperlocal news responsibilities and initiatives of the Online News Resource Group.  In turn, The Citizens Campaign will focus its resources on building upon its core mission of training New Jersey citizens to become active participants and observers in civic affairs.

Last summer, the Center for Cooperative Media, which resides in the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University, launched the NJ News Commons, through extensive grants from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. NJ News Commons is directed by Debbie Galant, founder and former editor of Baristanet, one of the first hyperlocal news sites in the United States. 

 "We're excited to work together with the Citizens Campaign and thrilled that the members and initiatives of the NJ Online News Resource Group will fold into the NJ News Commons,” stated Galant, Director of the NJ News Commons. “Both groups share a mission to help strengthen the voice of New Jersey and by uniting, we can better serve professional news gatherers and empower citizen journalists across the state."

 “New Jersey News Commons and the NJ Online News Resource Group have the common goal of providing resources and assistance to emerging online news,” stated Bea Daggett, Executive Director of The Citizens Campaign.  "By joining forces, we will be able to do more to assist this increasingly important part of the new media landscape." 

The NJ News Commons works with news organizations around the state to facilitate content sharing, collaboration, training, and sustainability.  Since its inception six months ago, the Commons has unified 48 news sites, ranging from hyperlocals and niche sites to some of the largest news organizations in the state. More recently, the Commons established a series of new initiatives, such as #NJSandy, which provided a live, multi-source news feed during Hurricane Sandy in October, and #NJVote, which recorded voting problems resulting from infrastructure damage and difficulties caused by the major storm.  The Commons has also created an embeddable news feed that allows news sites to easily share content, sends a daily newsletter curating the best news stories around the state and conducts a series of Learning Lunches via Google Hangout on Air.

Two years ago, The Citizens Campaign’s NJ Online News Resource Group was established to assist hyperlocal news sites and citizen journalists better cover local government and politics in New Jersey. The Citizens Campaign will continue its role providing up-to-date information and troubleshooting for both citizens and journalists using the Open Public Records Act and the Open Public Meetings Act.

Montclair State University and NJ News Commons

Montclair State University offers a comprehensive array of undergraduate and graduate programs to a highly diverse population of 18,500 students in an expansive university setting just 14 miles from New York City. For more information, visit

The NJ News Commons, based in the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State, works to strengthen the voice of New Jersey by helping news organizations work cooperatively. For more information, visit

The Citizens Campaign is a New-Jersey based non-profit organization that educates and empowers citizens to make their government work better and cost less. For more information, visit