WNET Acquires NJ Spotlight, Fosters Closer Partnership with NJTV

Aaron Fischer | March 5, 2019 | More Issues
With acquisition, New Jersey residents gain multiplatform journalism powerhouse to deliver insightful, comprehensive coverage of myriad issues facing the state

NJ Spotlight was acquired Monday by WNET, the largest PBS affiliate in the nation and the parent company of NJTV and Thirteen. NJ Spotlight will become the online partner of NJTV, working in tandem both online and on-air.

The goal of the acquisition is to create a combined public-media platform for New Jersey with the resources of a journalism powerhouse that crosses digital, broadcast video, and other media.

NJ Spotlight will be a separate entity of WNET, similar to NJTV, WLIW (the Long Island PBS affiliate), and Thirteen. It will continue to deliver its hallmark in-depth coverage of New Jersey policy and politics, as well retain its brand and all its current employees.

“This acquisition is an important step into the digital future for public broadcasting and provides New Jersey with a comprehensive, multiplatform local news source,” said Neal Shapiro, president and CEO of WNET. “The resulting collaboration between two award-winning and respected news teams sets a strong precedent for the future of regional news coverage.”

The new organization’s mission is to provide NJ Spotlight with the capabilities of NJTV, such as video and breadth of coverage, while offering NJ Spotlight’s expert analysis, on-air support, and full-featured web platform. Together, the partnership will be able to tell stories — whether they’re watchdog investigations or in-depth features — in a new and creative way.

Additionally, the combined entity will enable both brands to “build new and innovative products,” noted John Mooney, founding editor of NJ Spotlight.

“These two successful and respected news entities are joining forces to create a far greater whole, a natural fit that brings together NJTV News’ breadth and NJ Spotlight’s depth,” said John Servidio, NJTV’s general manager and WNET’s vice president of Subsidiary Stations, who will also serve as general manager for the NJ Spotlight team. “The result: furthering both entities’ public-service missions.”

“I’m excited by the possibilities for the product that will come from combining the state’s top broadcast journalists with the state’s top digital journalists,” said NJTV News Executive Producer Phil Alongi, who also serves as NJTV’s director of Program Development. “This adds vigor to our local coverage, and we can’t wait to get to work.”