Tuesday, June 29, 2010

N.J. papers launch new blog, 'bureau' in cafe

In a new online venture sure to be watched across the company, Gannett's N.J. newspapers are collaborating on a blog reporting area community news. Some of Freehold InJersey's content will be published in print versions of local newspapers.

An introductory post doesn't identity those papers, but it seems likely they will include Gannett's six papers in Central New Jersey: the Asbury Park Press, Courier News at Bridgewater, Courier-Post at Cherry Hill, Home News Tribune at East Brunswick, Daily Record at Parsippany, and The Daily Journal at Vineland.

The new venture's twist: Freehold InJersey has established a tiny satellite bureau in a coffee shop, Zebu Forno, on Main Street in Freehold Borough.

"At a computer workstation surrounded by diners and patrons,'' editors say in a post, "the staff of Freehold InJersey will conduct interviews, work on stories, and produce multimedia content for this groundbreaking website. Passers-by can stop to ask the latest news, share a tip, or learn how to post their own stories to the open-source news site."

The site is published with off-the-shelf Buddy Press software.


  1. You have no idea how many readers call our Cherry Hill newsroom and ask for the latest news in Freehold. What a joke - if true.

  2. This experiment is going to last until some inebriated customer seeking a shot of caffeine to waken up, drops his coffee on the newsroom computer, and it implodes. I actually think some live place is much better than the newsrooms that have been turned into vacant expanses of cubicles by the cutbacks. But why not expand the idea, and have a newsroom in the local department store, supermarket or corner drinking establishment. I don't see much opportunity for interaction with the great unwashed in this concept, because the unstated rules of coffee shop etiquette is don't bother people working on their laptops.

  3. Good for the NJ sites to try something new to Gannett sites.

  4. The injersey blogs have been up for over a year. This is the NJ papers response to AOL's Patch.com entering several of their markets.

  5. Oh, my God, this is the stupidest idea yet. What happens when a reporter needs to talk with a source over the phone about something semi-confidential? There's no way this is going to work unless they don't expect any hard news to come out of this.

    "At a computer workstation surrounded by diners and patrons ..."

    Translation: We're too damn cheap to open up a real bureau office where our people can have a little bit of privacy to work.

    And what happens when you have to hit the john and leave your notepad by your computer and you come back and it's been swiped?

    Fucking stupid as hell.

  6. What about the old fashioned idea of news reporters working their beats OUTSIDE OF THE OFFICE everyday. That way, the reporters would be contact with folks, both officials and residents, everyday.
    It seems to me that many reporters I've seen in Westchester never leave their cubicles. In fact, they seem put off if they have to leave their isolated office park.
    Selling the building and getting the whole staff into a downtown location could the best thing to happen to Westchester in decades!

  7. Hey, I have an idea. Why not move this operation to City Hall or police headquarters and work out of the press room there. Might pick up some stories in those locations. What do you think?

  8. if there was ever a blind leading the blind idea it's inJersey

  9. Patch is going to destroy this silly blog crap in New Jersey.

  10. Furloughed fury7/01/2010 11:12 AM

    Dear 8:35: The reason you see more reporters in their cubes and not on the street is because of all the additional in-office work we have to do...like typing up and filing ROP(run of the paper) briefs and announcements, more than we used to have to do. And the unfortunate part is we are also tied to the telephone waiting for call backs on the multiple articles we are working on at one time. I'd love to be "out on the street" but it's not as easy to get out there with reduced staffing and higher work load. Please take that into consideration before implying we are lazy.

  11. It is laziness, though. You can offer up any number of excuses, but they all can be shot down. Ever heard of cell phones?

  12. 11:45 -

    You must not work in Wilmington. Editors there think that if they can't see you at your desk, you're not working.

    Not every reporter is issued a cell phone. And I'll be damned if I use my personal cell phone to profit this cheapskate company! Also, it's difficult to write a good web update via text message. And we all know that three-paragraph blurbs are the future of journalism.

    We also have to spend more and more time doing ridiculous, redundant paperwork - filling out weekly planners, putting stories on the new clunky-as-hell ContentOne Dashboard budget and constantly updating needy editors who want to dash into the conference room and update the senior editors so they can get a blessing from on high.

    (We're a trial site for Dashboard. My condolences to everyone who's going to get it soon. It's a POS. Tara, we hate you.)

  13. Ah cell phones! Westchester pulled back all of the company cell phones - pagers, too - several years ago as a cost-saving measure. What bullshit! Make your operation less efficient, while still allowing VPs to fill their gas tanks gratis at the company pump! Typical Westchester leadership at its best.

    Everyone knows reporters are busy. So's everyone else. That's no excuse for not getting out on your beat for a few hours every day.

  14. The Courier News at Bridgewater should be renamed The Courier News at Somerville. The Courier News hasn't been operating out of the Bridgewater location since early '09.


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