As publisher of the nonprofit news outlet Follow South Jersey, Hopeloft, a program of United Advocacy Group, is leading this initiative to engage student journalists and their peers in the development and management of the vaccine communications repository, Vaccine United. In partnership with universities and community-based organizations throughout the state, the New Jersey Department of Health and its COVID Community Corps and the Moving New Jersey Forward Learning Collaborative, Hopeloft is recruiting, training and deploying student journalists, students in other disciplines and local young adults as interns who are collecting, verifying and organizing evidence-based and culturally appropriate communications materials and information about services and resources regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. With a focus on the most vulnerable communities, Hopeloft will also use an embedded journalism model to place students at community-based providers around the state to gather information and data. The interns will be supervised by a dedicated Follow South Jersey team comprising an editor, multimedia producer and project manager. In addition, Hopeloft will convene an expert work group to be the interns’ thought partners in designing the online repository platform, developing the process for verifying information submitted, and leveraging social media and public relations strategies to raise awareness of the Vaccine Communications Repository as a tool for addressing vaccine hesitancy.
These efforts build on Bridgeton Local News, a previous phase of collaborative work that focused on strengthening local journalism to build an informed and civically engaged Bridgeton. By the end of this project, the student interns will have developed a resource to help communities work more efficiently and effectively in providing trusted information about the vaccine. Over the long term, this employment experience could lead these student journalists to pursue careers that advance health and equity by meeting critical information needs in their own communities.
Read and watch a selection of news coverage developed by the student journalists through this project:
South Jersey Counties Awarded Over $5.8M in Grants to Fund Community Improvements in Small Cities
Follow South Jersey/ Zimmer, J. (2022, April 25).
South Jersey Infectious Disease Expert Breaks Down Latest COVID Variant
Follow South Jersey/ Altchek, A. (2022, April 22).
Understanding, Compassion, and a Passion for Service Inspires Volunteerism
Follow South Jersey/ Mills, G. (2022, April 22).
Adolescents, Early Teens Experience Anxiety as Schools Transition to No Masks
Follow South Jersey/ Altchek, A. (2022, April 21).
CUMAC’s Choice Marketplace Addresses Food Insecurity While Giving Back Power
Follow South Jersey/ Mills, G. (2022, April 19).
New Jersey’s New Norm: No More Plastic
Follow South Jersey/ Zimmer, J. (2022, April 14).
CUMAC is Undergoing Big Changes
Follow South Jersey/ Mills, G. (2022, April 12).
Food Bank of South Jersey Takes Steps to Raise Vaccine Initiatives about the Food Bank of South Jersey, a Moving NJ Forward partner
Follow South Jersey/ Altchek, A. (2022, April 11).
South Jersey Counties Awarded Eight Grants to Enhance Tree Stewardship
Follow South Jersey/ Zimmer, J. (2022, April 7).
Local Experts Shed Light on National Tuberculosis Stats
Follow South Jersey/ Altchek, A. (2022, April 6).
Volunteer Coordinator’s Work is CUMAC’s Anti-Hunger Mission
Follow South Jersey/ Mills, G. (2022, April 5).
Follow the latest news coverage regarding this work:
Hopeloft Launches Locally Focused Vaccine Information Hub
Follow South Jersey/ Staff (2021, December 23).