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New Brunswick Today: Local Newspaper Makes Its Own Headlines

In recent years, New Brunswick Today has helped attract widespread attention to the Hub City, inspiring dozens of articles in other newspapers and magazines, as well as television and radio segments and online media coverage about or inspired by our work.

Here's just some of that media coverage:

New Brunswick Today on National Television

In March 2017, New Brunswick Today was featured on TBS' Full Frontal with Samantha Bee in a segment that was widely hailed as funny and smart:

This segment inspired several articles about the collaboration:

Poynter: "Samantha Bee’s solution for making money on local news? Lottery tickets"
Philly.com: "Samantha Bee lends a hand to New Jersey newspaper with ‘gamified’ subscriptions"
BlueJersey.com: "Samantha Bee Adopts a Local Newspaper: New Brunswick Today"
Splitsider.com: "Samantha Bee Is Saving Local Journalism One Small-Town Newspaper at a Time"
AVClub.com: "Samantha Bee tries to save local journalism, one newspaper at a time"
PhillyVoice: "Samantha Bee helps New Jersey paper in segment on supporting watchdog journalism"

New Jersey Monthly

"Dig He Must: New Brunswick’s Charlie Kratovil Always Has the Scoop" (April 2017)

Kratovil operates in the muckraking tradition of the early 20th century, digging for evidence of political cronyism, bureaucratic incompetence, public health dangers and development run amok. He also operates in the much newer early 21st century mode of hyperlocal journalism—that is, he has created his own news organization that has to find an audience and pay its own way. New Brunswick Today, now five years old, started online like most other hyperlocals. It introduced a bilingual print newspaper in 2013 and the Internet show last fall...

Kratovil excels at the art of the follow-up. The suicide of the New Brunswick Water Utility’s director in 2007 happened long before Kratovil opened shop. At the time, the New York Times reported that the utility director had just learned that federal prosecutors had subpoenaed his personal and official records. Kratovil held onto the story like a dog with a bone. The saga culminated in 2015 with a former water-treatment-plant officer, Edward O’Rourke, pleading guilty to covering up water-quality problems. Although Kratovil didn’t discover the water-quality breaches, he did reveal the state DEP investigation that had. “My role was limited to being a pain in the ass and frequently asking about the case,” Kratovil says.

Street Fight Magazine

"Jersey’s New Brunswick Today Punches Its Way to a New Model for Local News" (1/5/17)

NB Today competes with Gannett’s Home News Tribune, whose print daily and MyCentralJersey.com site cover surrounding Middlesex County, and NJ.com, the Advance Publications (Newhouse)-owned digital combine that covers most of New Jersey.

“We punch above our weight,” says Monahan. “But we know New Brunswick and Middlesex County better than anyone.”

With its college student stringers, who are paid $20 for most of their articles, NB Today is able to cover many governmental meetings that other, short-staffed publications often ignore.

Fifteen-year-old Carlos Ramirez is one of the stringers who cover those meetings, which can produce major action affecting many residents.

Columbia Journalism Review

"Investigative local reporting has a future—but it won’t look like the past" (12/18/15) 

Their reporting on surveillance software and online learning at Rutgers was picked up by the New York Times, their investigation of Rutgers University police included an important open records request and lawsuit, and they broke a major story about the city’s water utility.

MediaShift

"How a New Jersey Hyper-Local was Digital First, Print Second and Bilingual Third" (9/28/15)

Kratovil, an old school watchdog reporter who’s not afraid to take on the local police and government, says there’s a lot of interest in what New Brunswick Today is doing, both in terms of their news coverage and their willingness to be innovative.

They’ve lead the charge on what they say is a government coverup of water quality violations at the New Brunswick Water Utility. The town’s mayor, Jim Cahill, would not comment on New Brunswick Today and its coverage.

WNYC Public Radio

"'New Brunswick Today' Investigates" (11/22/13)

Local News Lab

"Regional ad network seeks to help hyperlocal publishers hunt bigger game" (9/13/16)

"A Bold Step Toward Community Driven Journalism" (6/30/15)

"What Works For Crowdfunding Local News" (4/12/15)

"Support Watchdog Reporting in New Brunswick" (1/21/15)

"In New Jersey, with $2 million from Knight, the Local News Lab launches to seek revenue models" (6/16/14)

NJ News Commons

"New Jersey Media: #5Questions with Charlie Kratovil of New Brunswick Today" (9/26/16)

"Arrest Then Thanks: The Strange Relationship Between Charlie Kratovil and the NBPD" (10/23/14)

"Local News Delves Into Christie Crises" (2/6/14)

"Digging Deep in New Brunswick" (1/6/14)

Free Press

"Bringing Journalists and Residents Face to Face in New Brunswick" (11/12/15)

"Inequality in Local News Raises Alarms for Democracy" (8/7/15)

New Brunswick Patch

"New Brunswick Today Expands Online Reporting into Print" (11/25/13)

Non-Profit Community Blogs

Knight Foundation: "New Study Highlights Unequal Access to Local News and Information in New Jersey" (8/6/15)

Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation: "How to Rebuild the Business of Local News" (4/30/15)

Other Stories That Started With New Brunswick Today

Water Contamination, Corruption and Cover-ups

NJToday.net: "Journalists object to New Brunswick Today search warrant" (1/19/17)
NJ.com: "Yellow water in New Brunswick? You don't need to boil it, city says" (12/29/16)
NJ1015.com: "Water is yellow, but New Brunswick officials say it’s still safe to drink " (12/29/16)
Patch.com: "Video Shows Yellow Tap Water in New Brunswick" (12/29/16)
WaterOnline.com: "New Jersey Water Utility Under Investigation By Police" (12/29/16)
Chasing News: "Charlie in a box?" (12/22/16)
Home News Tribune: "New Brunswick says it had right to take meter from newspaper" (12/22/16)
TapInto.net: "Residents Voice Concerns Over Water-Meter-Gate" (12/22/16)
NJ.com: "Police, local newspaper at odds over seized city property" (12/22/16)
BuzzFeed News: "Police Seized "Evidence" From A Newspaper After It Reported On Alleged City Corruption" (12/21/16)
POLITICO: "New Brunswick police serve search warrant on journalist they've targeted before" (12/21/16)
TapInto.net: "An Update on Water-Meter-Gate: The City Responds" (12/21/16)
NBCNewYork.com: "NJ Newspaper Cries Foul After Police Seize Stolen Water Meter" (12/21/16)
Home News Tribune: "New Brunswick police seize water meter from newspaper office" (12/21/16)
Patch.com: "New Brunswick Police Seize Water Meter Given to Newspaper" (12/21/16)
TapInto.net: "New Brunswick Police Seize Water Meter from City Newspaper" (12/21/16)
Chasing News: "Is it safe to drink?" (5/12/16)
Chasing News: "Flint, NJ" (3/22/16)
NJ 101.5 FM: Interview with Charlie Kratovil (3/21/16)
Chasing News: "In Hot Water" (12/21/15)
Raritan River Review: "City of New Brunswick Issues a Report on Unsafe Drinking Water" (4/22/15)
Daily Targum: "Local residents bring water quality concerns to city council" (12/5/13)
PolitickerNJ.com: "Winners and Losers: Week of Nov. 11th" (11/15/13)

ProctorTrack Software Debacle at Rutgers

Ars Technica: "Anti-cheating startup collected student data in the spring, deleted it this month" (9/15/15)
Gawker.com: "Students Wonder When Creepy-As Hell App That Watches Them During Exams Plans on Deleting Their Data" (9/14/15)
New York Times: "Online Test-Takers Feel Anti-Cheating Software’s Uneasy Glare" (4/4/15)
Fusion: "College students are already trying to hack new anti-cheating ‘spyware’" (3/18/15)
Daily Targum: "U. online facial recognition system presents major privacy risk" (2/12/15)

Ethics Complaints Against Public Officials

TapInto.net: "Apparent Conflict Brings Performing Arts Center Project Back to Planning Board" (5/3/17)
TapInto.net: "New Brunswick’s Ethics Board Probes 3 Complaints" (3/23/17)
Home News Tribune: "New Brunswick fills seats on ethics board, defers complaint" (3/22/17)
TapInto.net: "New Brunswick Fills Vacant Ethics Board Seats" (3/16/17)
Home News Tribune: "Middlesex County Ethics Board dismisses complaint against attorney" (3/16/17)
TapInto.net: "Middlesex Ethics Board Dismisses Complaint Filed Against Its Attorney" (3/15/17)
NJ.com: "Reporter defies subpoena ordering him to keep recording of public meetings private" (3/5/15)
JimRomenesko.com: "Morning report for March 5, 2015" (3/5/15)
Muckgers.com: "Ethics Complaint Targets Rutgers Employee Also Working For City" (9/24/14)

Lawsuit Reveals Secret NBPD-RUPD Police Maps

Daily Targum: "Students, faculty question off-campus safety" (5/5/14)
The Rutgers Review: "CRIME ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!" (April/May 2014)
Daily Targum: "City of New Brunswick releases police jurisdiction maps" (3/18/14)
NJ.com: "Rutgers and New Brunswick sued over 'confidential' maps showing police jurisdictions" (2/16/14)
Daily Targum: "Rutgers and New Brunswick face lawsuit for not disclosing police jurisdiction" (2/25/14)
Daily Targum: "RUPD to review traffic enforcement laws with NBPD" (12/23/13)

Other Rutgers University Scandals, Schemes, and Cover-ups

Chasing News: "Long Live The Tailgate" (9/22/16)
ESPN: "Rutgers AD sorry for beer incident, but tailgate party shelved afterward" (9/21/16)
Washington Post: "Rutgers AD is very sorry that he was filmed drinking a beer at a student tailgate" (9/21/16)
NJ101.5.com: "As Rutgers tailgate gets rowdy, AD Hobbs chugs beer on stage" (9/21/16)
Asbury Park Press: "Rutgers AD Hobbs apologizes for tailgate incident" (9/20/17)
NJ.com: "Why does a video show Rutgers AD Pat Hobbs drinking beer at student tailgate? He explains ..." (9/20/16)
Chasing News: "Choking 101?" (7/21/16)
Chasing News: "Rutgers Upheaval" (12/1/15)
Home News Tribune: "7 arrested in gang mugging of student, but Rutgers doesn't issue crime alert" (9/15/15)
Chasing News: "VIDEO: Off-duty Rutgers EMS worker hits over 100 mph" (6/18/15)
Home News Tribune: "Video: Rutgers EMT drives BMW at breakneck speed, prompting investigation" (6/18/15)
Muckgers: "Rutgers finally releases its Hurricane Sandy task force report" (11/26/13)

New Brunswick Housing Authority Shenanigans

The Wei: "New Brunswick Today won’t cave to Housing Authority Board’s pressure to stop reporting on wrongdoings" (3/3/16)

New Brunswick Board of Education Scandals

Chasing News: "The Fight of His Life" (3/16/16)
News12 New Jersey: "New Brunswick school board election questioned" (4/9/13)