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Atlantic Cape One of Four NJ Community Colleges Selected for Inaugural Community Journalism Cohort Certificate Program

06/29/2023 | Media Contact: David Zuba, Public Relations Manager and Copywriter | (609) 343-4933
Atlantic Cape's Mays Landing campus

MAYS LANDING — Atlantic Cape Community College was one of four New Jersey community colleges to receive an award of $40,000 to help train faculty members and fund a tuition-free, non-credit certificate programs in community journalism from The New Jersey Council for the Humanities and Journalism + Design (NJCH/J+D), it was announced on June 28.

New Jersey Council for the Humanities logoAtlantic Cape, along with other recipients Mercer County Community College, Middlesex College and Sussex County Community College, will develop these certificate programs through training and support from the NJCH/J+D and other local news experts. Each college will seek to procure partnerships with their respective local media and community organizations to provide pathways for program participants to become involved with local news production.

“Atlantic Cape is looking forward to bringing this unique training opportunity to our Atlantic and Cape May County communities. Providing them with the training they need to become more active participants and informed civic leaders in their communities,” said Sherwood Taylor, Senior Director, Workforce Development.

The certificate programs, which will be launched by each college in Spring 2024, seek to establish and promote New Jersey community colleges as a trusted source for local news and information, especially in communities that are “news deserts” due to a lack of reliable news outlets.

“As institutions that broaden educational access and serve diverse populations, New Jersey’s community colleges are well-positioned to fuel greater engagement with local news and information,” said Valerie Popp, PhD, director of strategic initiatives at the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. “The selected colleges have proposed community journalism programs that tap into their existing strengths in areas, such as media and communications pedagogy, student publications, civic education and more. We are especially excited to bring together colleges that represent different communities across the state, from rural Sussex County to the Atlantic coast.”

Beginning in July, representatives from the four colleges will take part in intensive workshops that will explore how to create, facilitate, and sustain certificate programs that incorporate local voices and community needs. The community colleges will also have the opportunity to build sustainable connections with local media partners and nonprofit organizations in their areas through a Spring 2024 community journalism/community college convening, as well as through seed grants for the colleges’ community partners, supported by NJCH/ J+D.

"Each of these colleges bring rich expertise and ideas for growing community journalism programs that will help catalyze greater participation in local news production and distribution," said Cole Goins, managing director of the Journalism + Design lab. "We're eager to learn from and build with the program teams at each institution to nurture thriving news and information networks in their communities."

The program’s training activities will be led by Andrew Rodriguez Calderón, a computational journalist with The Marshall Project and adjunct professor in Journalism + Design, along with other journalists and media experts from Journalism + Design and around New Jersey. This project is funded by a grant from the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium, an independent, publicly-funded nonprofit organization that supports quality local journalism, promising media startups and other efforts meant to better inform people.

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About Atlantic Cape Community College

Atlantic Cape is a comprehensive two-year community college serving the residents of Atlantic and Cape May counties. The college offers over 40 career, transfer and workforce development programs to more than 8,000 students annually at three campuses in New Jersey: Atlantic City, Cape May Court House and Mays Landing.