I just want to give a shout-out and congratulations to NJ Spotlight, which just secured funding for something I think is going to be a cool tool.
If you do a daily news roundup like we do here at Blue Jersey, you end up reading just about everything, and certain opinions form. Who’s good, who just transcribes the establishment line, who does in-depth work. And since their 2010 launch, we’ve come to admire the work of NJ Spotlight’s team, and particularly their focus on three areas almost nobody is paying enough attention to; healthcare (via reporter Andrew Kitchenman, who we’ve just lost to Alaska Public Media – follow him on Twitter), on poverty (via Hank Kalet) and on the important numbers, figures and digits that define our lives in New Jersey (under two of its Founders, John Mooney and Lee Keough). But it’s not just those folks; NJ Spotlight reads like a tight operation, with a not-large staff, competing it seems to me, less for breaking headlines and more for readers who want depth and analysis along with the facts of the day. NJ Spotlight builds on all this with explainers that walk readers through how government works, with webinars, and with roundtable discussion events.
NJ Spotlight – Winners of the Knight News Challenge on Data – So we cheered Spotlight when we heard this week they’re one of 17 winners of the Knight News Challenge on Data. This was Knight’s challenge: How might we make data work for individuals and communities? NJ Spotlight answered by developing this:
Legislation Tracker: Beyond the Bills by NJ Spotlight (Project leads: Colleen O’Dea and Lee Keough; @njspotlight, @colleenodea, @leekeough | Trenton, N.J.): Bringing more accountability and transparency to state lawmaking by creating a tracking tool for all major bills passed in New Jersey that would provide information on whether the law was enforced and milestones were met.