InsiderNJ is proud to announce that veteran reporter Christine Sloan won a third place New Jersey Press Association (NJPA) award for business and government writing. An Emmy Award-winning journalist, Ms. Sloan won for her business and government writing portfolio, which included her work on the plight of New Jersey restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic:
“More than a year ago, my Instagram page was filled with colorful pictures of dishes created by talented New Jersey chefs. The appetizing and eye-catching photos only provided a small glimpse into the lives of these hardworking men and women, who toil daily in hot kitchens, from morning to night, often only getting a few hours of shuteye before having to go back in again to face the glowing flames of their stoves.
“I hosted and produced a New Jersey food show for close to three years, traveling the Turnpike with an incredible television crew, featuring the diverse restaurants that dot the Garden State. What I learned through interviews and the people we met along the way is the majority of chefs in New Jersey also own the restaurants they work in. Many are mom-and-pop spots, including those iconic Jersey Diners, some passed down from generations. Others, fine dining or trendy restaurants, where chefs and owners work tirelessly to make a name for themselves.
“Every restaurateur and chef has a backstory, filled with struggles, triumphs and everything in between. The pandemic is testing the very fabric of this close-knit industry, where back and front-of-the-house employees become part of a restaurateur’s family, and customers, the lifeline to their financial existence.”
Ms. Sloan’s winning reporting also included her story on the local Hillsborough campaign last year and a racially insensitive flier:
The Double-sided Republican campaign flier sent out to independent Hillsborough voters Tuesday shows Democratic Township Committee Candidate Donnetta Johnson, who is black, and her running mate, David Brook, hanging by puppet strings, along with captions that read, “endorsed by Bernie Sanders’ ‘Our Revolution,’ “ “Anti-police,” and “Pro More Housing Development.”
“It’s a dog whistle against people of color,” said Johnson, a 34-year resident of Hillsborough and the owner of a music and arts school. “I am stunned and horrified, the blatant race-baiting, complete falsehoods, and misrepresented quotes are shocking. They’re stoking this national rhetoric and there are some people who’ll read this the wrong way and do irresponsible things.”
Johnson says she found out about the Republican flier from concerned neighbors. The flier includes a photo of a black woman at a rally, holding an anti-police sign, with a blurred face insinuating that it’s her protesting against police.
InsiderNJ also won a second-place award in the editorial writing category, on subjects that included the state legislature’s marijuana legalization saga:
It’s a fair bet that in New Jersey, when Democrats in power start talking about “diversity,” they’re simultaneously sticking it to minorities. In this case, marijuana legalization provided the forum in which to do damage as those same individuals used as part of a pre-Election Day human barricade in the name of social justice found themselves summarily scrapped post Election Day as that apparently unnecessary ingredient in legislative leadership’s pro-business bonanza.
“We suspected everything that happened – that the bill would get pushed through without any social equity,” said the Reverend Pastor Charles Boyer, pastor at Bethel AME Church in Woodbury and executive director of Salvation and Social Justice.
On Nov. 3rd, the public voted overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing marijuana: 2,737,682 (67.08%) to 1,343,610 (32.92%).
“Once they had a mandate to legalize, they would do it without dollars coming back to hard-hit communities,” Boyer said.
“Then we raised hell about it,” he added.
Let these numbers sink in, New Jersey.
As we face a pandemic, our state lab has the capacity to test 40 specimens daily in a state of 9 million people.
The state has two test kits provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Each kit contains 250 swabs.
That’s 500 swabs for 9 million people.
There is no point lingering on the Trump Administration, whose incompetence has left us vulnerable to this deadly disease. But we do have an obligation to demand accountability from our executive state government, as they attempt to manage the hazards of trying to combat this scourge without adequate federal resources.
“We’re not prepared as a nation or a state to do mass testing,” state Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said today.
She said we will soon have those kits.
We need them yesterday.