This week, the Bloomfield Information Project was awarded $35,000 by the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium to pilot a program to recruit, train, and pay residents to report local news that responds to community information needs.

The Civic Information Consortium is a first-of-its-kind state fund created to address the growing problem of news deserts, misinformation and support more informed communities in New Jersey. The Bloomfield Information Project is one of the consortium’s 14 inaugural grantees.

Support from the consortium will allow the Bloomfield Information Project to expand its award-winning local news service by piloting a resident-reporter corps to address underserved community members’ local news and information needs.

“The pandemic has underscored the vital role that a vibrant local news infrastructure plays in keeping people safe and healthy and able to look out for the economic welfare of their families and communities,” said Mike Rispoli, consortium board member. “Bold initiatives like [the Bloomfield Information Project] will help keep communities informed, spark civic engagement, and counteract the dangerous and deadly spread of disinformation and bigotry.”

“The grants committee had a tough time picking grant recipients from the 74 applications we received,” said consortium board member Therise Edwards. “This is a testament to the creative and civic-minded spirit of groups across New Jersey…We are excited to see the positive impact these programs will have for New Jersey residents.”

The Bloomfield Information Project, an initiative of the Community Info Coop, was launched in 2020 to develop a new, community-driven model for local news and information in Bloomfield and Essex County. In 2021, it won the Center for Cooperative Media’s Innovate Local award for its workflow that addresses information inequity and powers the organization’s info hub and Daily Bulletin newsletter.