New TAPinto East Orange/Orange Publishers Working to Make Sure Everyone’s Voice is Heard

Dr Brian Agnew and Lauren Agnew approach New Jersey Journalistic practices with a community lens.

Dr. Brian Agnew and Lauren Agnew showcase Divine 9 impact

Dr Brian Agnew and Lauren Agnew, a dynamic New Jersey couple highlight the importance of their roots in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Brian Agnew and Lauren Agnew embrace inclusive journalism practices in New Jersey

I think it’s important to understand the lived experiences of the populations we’re speaking about because it also shapes how the story is read, how it’s understood and how it’s appreciated…”

— Dr. Brian D. Agnew

EAST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY, USA, August 14, 2023/ — Brian and Lauren Agnew have a different perspective on the same event in August 2010.

Both were — and still are — competitive volleyball players, taking part in different leagues at the time. One of Lauren’s best friends went to graduate school with Brian and she got invited to play in a pickup league at Rutgers University’s Werblin Recreation Center. That’s the first time the two met.

“I remember it because she tried to hit me,” Brian Agnew said.

“I didn’t try to hit him,” Lauren Agnew said.

“She was good,” he said.

“I spiked on him and hit him on his shoulder, because I thought he was kind of cute, I didn’t want to hit him in the face,” she added. “From then on, he preferred to be on my team, as opposed to being an opponent.”

They’ve remained on the same team, both personally and professionally.

The couple, who married in 2015, are the new owner/publishers of TAPinto East Orange/Orange. They took over the local news and digital marketing platform in April 2023.

“Brian and Lauren Agnew have taken TAPinto East Orange/Orange to the next level in a very short period of time,” TAPinto Founder and CEO Michael Shapiro said. “Their dedication to providing East Orange and Orange residents with objective, high-quality original local news reporting and their passion for working to help local businesses is inspiring. We are thrilled to have Brian and Lauren join our TAPinto family.”

She is a native of Essex County and attended East Orange and Montclair Public Schools. He is from Brooklyn and attended high school in Bay Ridge. They live in Essex County.

Both say owning and operating a TAPinto local news site, in an area they care so much about, is important to them and the community.

“One of the most important foundational components of this is making sure everyone’s voice is heard,” Brian Agnew said. “Leading one of the largest news outlets in New Jersey is our opportunity to ensure that this happens for communities where voices have traditionally been marginalized.”

“When you have a platform to be able to elevate people and organizations and give a voice to the voiceless, I think it’s important to use it to change the narrative of what the world knows,” Lauren Agnew said.

“I think it’s important to understand the lived experiences of the populations we’re speaking about because it also shapes how the story is read, how it’s understood and how it’s appreciated and valued in the community,” Brian Agnew said.

Both publishers talk about every story that’s written on TAPinto East Orange/Orange, to make sure what’s being reported on is valuable to the community.

“Whether it’s one of our reporters, Lauren or me writing it, we have editorial meetings to discuss concepts and story ideas so that it really does take a full shape,” Brian Agnew said. “If something is missing, it’s okay for us to say ‘hey did you think of this idea’ to make sure that the whole story is told, not just for the flashy headline.”

“A lot of focus in the urban areas is on the negative, the not-so-positive aspects,” Lauren Agnew said. “Once you get to know people from those areas, you know there are phenomenal stories about students, organizations and small business owners with tremendous stories.”

Both bring journalism, public relations, marketing and business experience to TAPinto East Orange/Orange. Both wrote for their college newspapers — Lauren at William Paterson University and Brian at Utica College (now Utica University). Brian has an MBA from Syracuse and both have degrees from Rutgers; Lauren an MPA and Brian a Ph.D.

In addition, they spend time giving back to the community they care so much about, mentoring future leaders and journalists.

Lauren Agnew is the scholarship and education chairperson for the Montclair Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Brian Agnew is the scholarship chairperson for Alpha Alpha Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

“I think we’re serving as an inspiration for young girls and boys that we work with — and some that we didn’t even know who are looking at us — that they too could own a news site and that’s in addition to what we’re actually doing is inspiring the next generation of journalists and communications professionals,” Lauren Agnew said.

“Mentorship matters,” Brian Agnew said. “Lauren and I share this passion for mentoring the next generation. We engage youth to make sure they have what they need to be successful.”

A part of that, he said, is the kind of stories that are told in the community.

“One of the things I’ve been saying about our acquisition of TAPinto East Orange/Orange is we no longer have to allow anyone else to tell our story,” he said. “Too often, our stories are told missing a lot of pieces.”

Both Brian and Lauren Agnew say they’re proud and eager to own and operate TAPinto East Orange/Orange.

“The site itself has its own level of excitement,” Lauren Agnew said. “The opportunity to work on something together, that’s another level of excitement, just like playing on the same team together for volleyball,” Lauren Agnew said.

Adam Darsky
TAPinto Insider
[email protected]

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