TRENTON – Officials from New Jersey Television (NJTV) were seeking $200,000 from the state to help it in creating a small video studio set up in the Statehouse.
While they didn’t vote on that allocation, the Joint Capitol Management Commission did approve an item that would dedicate that space to be used for a future studio.
The studio would be located in the visitor’s center on the second floor in a section that was formerly occupied by the gift shop. Shows like “Reporters Roundtable” and “On the Record” would take place and would serve as an accessible site to interview lawmakers on other occasions.
Officials said other media outlets like Politicker, NJ Spotlight and News 12 can book the facility and pay market-rate rents for usage. NJTV, however, would not pay any rent, and the state would continue to own the space.
The network would pay $258,000 for camera, video and other equipment it would need to set up.
NJTV would be responsible for studio lights, but daily cleaning would be left to Statehouse maintenance workers.
Michael Aron, NJTV’s chief political correspondent, described the Statehouse studio plan as “a win-win,” saying it will “facilitate dialogue” and help the network become the go-to source for the Statehouse news.
“I think it’s terrific,” he said.
Aron said there are definite advantages to working in the Statehouse, as press row does, but where he hadn’t worked in his 30 years with the former New Jersey Network.
“It’s wonderful to feel the camaraderie of the press corps,” he said.
Rich Bagger of the state Commission said the division of proceeds from other outlets who rent the studio would be outlined in a memorandum of understanding.
John Servidio, general manager of NJTV, said after the vote, he wasn’t disappointed the commission didn’t vote to allocate the funds, adding that it’s only a matter of time.
“I think the benefits are pretty well stated,” he said. “It now a question of process.”