Water in a news desert: New Jersey is spending $5 million to fund innovation in local news

Compared to its peers, the United States is notoriously stingy when it comes to government dollars supporting media. Norway spends about $135 per capita each year on its public broadcasters; Germany spends $107, the U.K. $86, France $55, and Canada $22. The U.S. spends about $2.25. (That’s about half a Starbucks grande iced caramel macchiato a year.) This week, though, one state — New Jersey — took a small step in the other direction. On Monday, leaders agreed on a new state budget that includes $5 million in funding for innovative projects to improve local news in the state. Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to give his final signoff soon.

Who’s who in local news: A guide to the biggest brains and bank accounts in the fight for local journalism

There really isn’t another word than “local” for what local news does (no, hyperlocal doesn’t count). Local news’ strength and mere presence has been threatened in the roiling journalism industry — but a number of initiatives are stepping up to help fill the void. In the past few years, local journalism — especially the traditional models of TV news and newspapers — has struggled to adapt to the challenges of digital advertising and platforms, as national-level organizations have greater scale to soak up subscription dollars and chase heavy-hitting stories. It’s not a new tale, but as the media landscape (and the Facebook landscape, the political landscape, the news group ownership landscape, etc.) continues to shift and everyone remembers the importance of quality local news to democracy, there are a number of rising initiatives focused on (and with funding for) local news. There’s also a solid group Continue reading "Who’s who in local news: A guide to the biggest brains and bank accounts in the fight for local journalism"

Watch This Paddleboarder’s Insane Close Encounter With a Humpback Whale

While paddle boarding off the Jersey Shore this past weekend, Brian Shea captured footage of his extremely close encounter with a humpback whale. The New Jersey resident told NBC New York that he took his board out on Saturday in the hopes of seeing a humpback in the water after witnessing a couple of the mammals feeding near the beach recently. He stated that the conditions for whale watching were excellent. Bringing his GoPro with him while paddle boarding, Shea noticed the whale swimming roughly twenty feet from his board. All of a sudden, the humpback broke through the surface immediately next to him. “With regards to Saturday’s really close encounter, I was more in awe than afraid as I’ve gotten used to being so close to them and view the entire experience as something I’m so fortunate to see in nature,” he said. His daughter, however, explained that she Continue reading "Watch This Paddleboarder’s Insane Close Encounter With a Humpback Whale"

BREAKING: Phil Murphy Wins New Jersey Governor’s Race

Democrat Phil Murphy has won the New Jersey gubernatorial race, beating Republican Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno. Murphy served as U.S. ambassador to Germany from 2009 to 2013, and he worked for over 20 years at Goldman Sachs. Governor Chris Christie‘s approval rating recently hit 14 percent, and a report from Politico this morning looks at how his low popularity may have factored into this race:
As Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno vied for last-minute votes over the frenzied final days of the New Jersey governor’s race, Chris Christie never showed up on the stump. In fact, the governor has not appeared in public once to support Guadagno, who has been by his side for more than eight years. With Christie’s approval hitting 14 percent among likely voters in a recent poll, it’s not hard to not see why. Once considered by many to be the future of the Republican Continue reading "BREAKING: Phil Murphy Wins New Jersey Governor’s Race"

Chris Christie Had To Edit Opioid Report to 1/3 Size so Trump Would Read It

In a highly-recommended interview out of GQ today, New Jersey governor and former Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie spoke about his efforts to combat the opioid crisis in his home state of New Jersey, and now nationally. As the head of President Donald Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioids Crisis, Christie has been spearheading the effort to tackle the deadly addiction crisis in America. As the piece points out, this is a personal issue for the governor, who lost a close friend from his law-school years to a crippling Percocet addiction. Since his friends death in 2014, Christie has fought more passionately than ever in NJ to address the crisis. A standout detail in the piece comes when it touches on Christie’s work with Trump. Apparently, in an effort to cater to the president’s learning patterns, Christie personally edited a draft of the commission’s opioid report “to Continue reading "Chris Christie Had To Edit Opioid Report to 1/3 Size so Trump Would Read It"