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Thursday, June 21, 2018

N.J. bill hopes to revive local journalism, community information, civic engagement

HONEY, THEY SHRUNK THE NEWSPAPER: The weekly Hackensack Chronicle, part of the USA Today Network, once had its own staff. Now, it is smaller and just re-prints news stories written by reporters at The Record of Woodland Park, one of the eight New Jersey dailies owned by Gannett. 


HACKENSACK, N.J. -- The Civic Info Bill would create a public fund to "invest millions of dollars in ... projects designed to strengthen local news coverage" in New Jersey, according to FreePress.net.

That certainly would resonate with long-suffering readers of The Record, the Woodland Park daily that has drastically reduced local news since Gannett took over in July 2016.

The bill is backed by 14 state lawmakers -- including the Democratic leaders of both legislative houses  -- and thousands of New Jersey residents who have participated in public forums.

If passed and signed into law by Governor Murphy, the bill would create the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium, a nonprofit "that would provide funding to support quality journalism in New Jersey, promote promising media startups and other efforts meant to better inform communities," according to Free Press.

All funds would be donated.

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