Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Media: Changes come to Plainfield and NJ

Masthead of the new Plainfield Latino site ... reaching for the stars.

For news junkies, it's time to note that changes are coming -- both to Plainfield and to the New Jersey news scene.

In Plainfield, the Plainfield Latino blog, which only got under way a couple of months ago has adopted an ambitious new format (see its new iteration here).

The new site has four sections: news, editorials, letters and events and much more resembles a newspaper than the humble workaday blogs that Bernice, Olddoc and I produce.

In addition, the core group of several writers produce every item in both Spanish and English versions. For the moment, Plainfield Latino seems to be more reactive to events around it than advocating for a well-thought out and consistent set of issues.

That may change, however, as the group settles in and targets issues in such a way that the City Council feels it must take their point(s) of view seriously into account.

On the New Jersey front, there are some interesting changes brewing, too.

In case you haven't noticed, the Star-Ledger has become a tabloidy shadow of its former self. Gone are in-depth coverage of local, county or state news -- supplanted by endless accounts of shootings, stabbings, DUIs and other crime. The Bergen Record (see its online version here) now does a much better job, though its focus is mostly North Jersey. Still, its statehouse coverage is often earlier and more incisive than the Ledger's.

The Courier isn't even a serious contender in the news business anymore. With only a couple of (excellent) reporters covering its extensive service area, it too tends toward tabloid-itis (think how the Immaculata teacher rant has been flogged). State news is woeful and national stories are cribbed from USAToday.

The other day I was appalled to pick up a Courier print edition (I only read it online now, by paid subscription) and see how tiny and thin it has become. The last print circulation figures I am aware of were somewhere in the neighborhood of 13,000 copies daily -- down from the mid-40's a dozen years or so ago.

In the past few years, as the media business has changed and folks began to get much of their news online, two sources emerged to cover New Jersey politics and policy.

PolitickerNJ (see here) is now the go-to site for political news junkies and NJ Spotlight (see here, whose editor is an old friend and fellow Plainfield resident) covers New Jersey news from a public policy perspective.

Now, the national political news powerhouse Politico (see here) has announced it is expanding into state coverage and will be starting up a New Jersey news site.

This past fall, Politico acquired Capital New York (see here) and has broadened and invigorated its coverage of New York politics -- both the state and the city.

In a news brief (here), we learned that the new efforts will all carry the Politico brand. Though no date has been mentioned, look for Politico New Jersey to hit the boards soon. It will be interesting to see how that affects the coverage of both political and policy news.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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