Assemblyman Moriarty’s Bill to Invest In Local Journalism Heads to The Governor’s Desk

The Assembly and Senate voted to pass Assemblyman Moriarty’s bill to establish the Civic Information Consortium, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting local journalism.

Local news in New Jersey has dwindled due to closing newsrooms, reporter layoffs, and media consolidation. Today, many South Jerseyans rely on Philadelphia media companies for their news leading to a large deficit in coverage of local issues. This lack of coverage leaves residents in the dark on decisions and events happening in their town.

Assemblyman Moriarty believes that if people do not know what is happening in their communities they won’t be able to be help shape it. To address this, bill A-3628 establishes a consortium designed to bolster public-interest journalism, civic information, and media innovation. In turn, this will inspire more individuals to become active participants in improving their communities.

The following member universities would lead the consortium: The College of New Jersey, Montclair State University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University and Rutgers University. Together, with a board of directors, they will make and review grant proposals intended to improve access to public information through innovative means.

The bill will require the board to deliver annual reports to the Governor and the Legislature. The board will also make the reports available to the public. Additionally, the board will hold three public hearings annually, one in the northern, central and southern regions of the state.  At these hearings, the public will be informed about the consortium’s use of public funds and encouraged to offer their input on the consortium.

Now that the bill has passed both houses it is heading to the Governor’s desk for his consideration. The Governor has already agreed to grant an initial five million dollars to the Civic Information Consortium in the FY2019 Budget. The bill will take effect immediately upon approval.

Assemblyman Moriarty’s career in journalism and later his role as Mayor of Washington Township gave him a front-row seat to the effect that good local journalism can have on a community. If this bill becomes law, it will help to expand access to important public information in new and innovative ways and in doing so it will create stronger communities.