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Weinberg, Diegnan Bill to Establish University-Based Consortium on Media Innovation Signed Into Law

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Patrick Diegnan that would establish a state university-based consortium to advance research in the field of media and technology was signed into law by the Governor.

“The state’s traditional newspaper market has been upended by changes in technology,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “We need to establish a university-based consortium that promotes innovation in the media and trains a new generation of journalists to work in a changing environment. A functioning, representative democracy is dependent on a vital free press. This program is key to ensuring we have that in New Jersey in years to come.”

“The creation of the Internet sent a major fissure through how traditional media operates,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “This law will help to create a consortium of universities which will act as incubators for innovation in the media. We need 21st century journalists who can thrive in this new evolving industry. These journalists will need to know every aspect of their industry, beyond just reporting. This program is important not just the future of journalism in New Jersey, but to the health of our democracy in this great state.”

The new law will establish the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium whose purpose would be to advance research and innovation in the field of media and technology. It will require the consortium to be established as a non-profit corporation. Its membership will consist of the following universities:

  • The College of New Jersey
  • Montclair State University
  • The New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Rowan University
  • Rutgers University

The board will consist of 13 members appointed by the governor, the Senate President, the Assembly Speaker, the president of the five member universities, and by a majority vote of the other appointed board members.

The consortium will be a collaborative effort among the universities and be required to report annually to the governor and the Legislature on the activities of the consortium. The report is to include a list of all grant applicants, the grant amounts approved, the amount of matching funds provided to the grant applicants and a status report on the activities of the approved grant applicant.

The goal of this bill is to create a statewide approach to facilitate and harness new and innovative approaches in media technologies at the state’s institutions of higher education through the creation of a vehicle to capture and capitalize on these efforts.

The new law takes effect immediately.