Let me emphasize at the outset that I fully support Governor Chris Christie's proposal to end the $11 million subsidy of NJN and transfer its operations, licenses and equipment to a non-governmental entity, such as an independent, not-for-profit corporation. The state of New Jersey should not be in the business of owning and operating a television or radio station. Furthermore, the state can no longer afford it.
It must be a top New Jersey priority, however, to save NJN, preferably through private philanthropic efforts. The demise of NJN would result in irreparable harm to media coverage of New Jersey government and politics — a veritable journalistic tragedy.
If NJN were to cease to exist, there would still be ample newspaper and Internet New Jersey news reportage. Yet there must be significant and meaningful television news coverage of New Jersey politics and government for Garden State citizens to be fully and properly informed. This will not exist if NJN is allowed to die.
To be sure, both News 12 New Jersey and WWOR-TV Channel 9 provide high quality programs on New Jersey politics. I have been most fortunate to be a guest on numerous occasions on New Jersey Power and Politics. The hosts of this show, Jim McQueeny and the now departed Laura Jones are outstanding journalists who have done a superb job of focussing in depth on key issues and personalities affecting New Jersey quality of life. Similarly, Brenda Blackmon has hosted many fine discussions on the show, New Jersey Now on WWOR-TV Channel 9.