The Citizens Campaign: Project Summary

Citizens Campaign is a grassroots nonprofit dedicated to repairing our democracy by training citizens in no-blame politics and evidence-based problem solving to get results without waiting for the political establishment.

In October 2010, it launched a hyperlocal news site, The Paterson Press, which provides coverage of Paterson, the third-largest municipality in New Jersey. Their success has been phenomenal. With a goal of reaching 25,000 readers in the first year, they reached 90,000. They tripled that to 245,000 in the second year, and currently average 84,000-100,000 monthly readers, not to mention 14 awards for excellence in reporting.

However, that level of success does not always translate into operating funds. Thanks to a partnership with North Jersey Media, they share general online advertising and the purchase of their content for North Jersey Media’s print editions, while maintaining their own branding. Along with some foundation support, however, there is still a sustainability gap.

This project, a Community Day, will provide a day-long series of events targeting the multitude of diverse populations in Paterson. It will include a 5K walk/run, business sponsorship through booth rental, and several restaurants, all showcasing what Paterson means to the community, connecting the Paterson Press to residents, and hopefully raising at least $25,000, with the goal being a yearly event.

What knowledge will be gained from this experiment?

With the support of the INNovation Fund, The Citizens Campaign wants to explore new avenues that may lead to ensuring the hyperlocal’s sustainability. It also want to raise awareness around the nonprofit nature of Paterson Press. Its project aims to connect Patersonians with Paterson Press as a community resource that goes beyond providing the hard news of the city.