Senior journalism project focuses on New Jersey communities

Photo courtesy of Edna Negron

Every year Ramapo’s “Senior Project: Journalism” course is given the task of creating a website to showcase their journalistic abilities in the ever-changing media landscape. This year’s class launched their project titled “Anew-Jersey” on Monday Nov. 25.

“Anew-Jersey is a platform dedicated to highlighting injustice and initiating change in our local communities,” is the mission statement on their website. The topics included immigration, veterans rights, climate change, homelessness and gender discrimination among other pressing topics. 

Senior Amanda Karp spoke about their work on the project and said the first challenge was deciding what their website would focus on. 

“We had to decide if we wanted to focus on a community, or delve into issues that affect New Jersey,” she said. “We asked ourselves, ‘What are the issues that are really affecting people?’”

The group chose to also focus on youth activism within the communities they were writing about.

“For one of my articles I wrote about a Montclair teen who organized his schools walkout,” she said. The walkout was Montclair high school’s way of participating in the global climate strike.

Karp discovered this event went beyond climate action, and the students second priority was challenging Essex County Correctional Facility’s deal with ICE.

“It’s going into the community, finding out who’s working and trying to make changes,” she said. “Also highlighting what good people are doing.”

Though this was a class assignment, the students dove into their topics fully. Stories came from as far as the Bronx and Hackensack, and these students truly were practicing on the ground reporting.

One of the benefits of doing the reporting in this way was the the students got to learn as they worked to inform. 

“We all kind of came from the perspective of not knowing as much as we would like to,” Karp said. “Going in with having that perspective and having my own questions that I needed to answer, I figured that other people would want to know what the answers to these questions are, too.”

Karp said that their reporting was largely driven by a search for knowledge, which allows website visitors to share a perspective of the writer. Anew-jersey hopes to be a starting point for students to learn about relevant issues in the New Jersey communities they are part of.