Story compiled by
Mary Ann Cooper
Montclair State University (MSU) has been making great strides to further develop their School of Communication and Media to reflect the exploding media industrial complex that it has become. Its Center for Cooperative Media is just one example of the way this university is embracing a high tech future. Another example is the hands-on community outreach done by the School of Communication and Media to inspire and encourage young budding journalists from minority neighborhoods to pursue careers in communications.
Earlier this year, Stefanie Murray was named director of the Center for Cooperative Media at MSU. She now is in charge of the Center that brings together over 150 news outlets throughout New Jersey in what is the nation’s only formally organized statewide network of media entities. The Center is based within Montclair State’s School of Communication and Media.
An award-winning journalist and editor, Murray was the recipient of an Associated Press News Writing Award in 2008 (public service) and in 2010 (breaking news) during her time as a reporter in Michigan. Most recently, Murray was the vice president/news and executive editor of The Tennessean and TN Media.
Murray, who has a Master of Science degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science degree in broadcasting and journalism from Central Michigan University, is a welcome addition to MSU. “She brings to the Center for Cooperative Media significant experience in the areas of local news reporting, information gathering, digital transformation, organizational development and business strategy,” said Merrill Brown, director of the School of Communication and Media. “Over the course of the past three years, the Center has played a key leadership role in growing the New Jersey news and information ecosystems. We’re confident that Stefanie will now lead the Center in new and exciting directions as we continue to focus on how we and our partners can best serve the people of New Jersey, and we further explore how this innovative model might be successfully applied to other media markets.”
In addition to its various ongoing training, research and innovation initiatives, the Center for Cooperative Media is focused on statewide collaborative enterprise journalism projects. It recently partnered with various New Jersey news outlets to create “Dirty Little Secrets,” a reporting project highlighting the lingering impacts of New Jersey’s toxic legacy. The Center is currently developing “In the Shadow of Liberty,” a collaborative project dedicated to in-depth reporting on issues surrounding immigration.
A great example of journalism projects from MSU’s School of Communication and Media occurred this past summer when the school held its first Journalism Boot Camp to give New Jersey minority middle and high school students a chance to become a journalist for three days. The students were not only able to get some real-life experiences to practice their interviewing schools, they also got a taste of college life as residents of the MSU dormitories while completing the program.
The Montclair State University Summer Journalism Workshop for High School Students is a new program by the School of Communication and Media (SCM) and provides an all-expense-paid journalism and college preparation program for high school students. Students have the chance to engage in various forms of communication media and learn reporting skills across multiple platforms. This program targets high-performing North Jersey high school journalists and is designed to prepare students for college and potential fields of study within journalism and communications.
Students receive hands-on training and exposure to technology, cameras and other storytelling tools of the trade as they actively participate in filmmaking, broadcasting and multi-platform journalism. They learn from SCM faculty and invited working professionals about scripting, casting, photographing and editing, and ultimately presenting their projects. By encouraging high-performing students from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in journalism, this program fosters deeper relationships and expanded civic engagement with neighboring towns, including Newark, Paterson, the Oranges and Montclair.
One of the camp’s highlights was the chance for students to write about a historical first: the Professional Baseball team the New Jersey Jackals versus the Cuban National Baseball Team at Yogi Berra Stadium. This marks the first time a Cuban professional team has played on American soil since the Havana Sugar Kings in 1960. The Cuban National Team, which has won three Olympic gold medals and 25 World Baseball Championships, is the same team that played the Tampa Bay Rays in an exhibition last March following President Obama’s historic trip to Havana. The team’s visit to MSU was one of only three stops it made in the United States.
Reporting on the Cuban National Team’s visit fits into a growing concentration that MSU’s School of Communication and Media has been developing over the past few years. The school will be opening a new, state-of-the-art building, outfitted with 4K Sony technology in January of 2017. •