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    Peterson's Breaking News of Trenton: The power of independent news

    With 46,014 Facebook followers, Peterson’s Breaking News of Trenton has become a major online independent news source in Mercer County, New Jersey. While the founder, Thomas Peterson, 26, has no background in journalism, his passion for sharing breaking news has made him a trusted source for the community that he serves.

    From an early age, Peterson was interested in news coverage. He would rush home before 8 p.m. every night to watch local news reports. His interest in police work as well as his background in being a police explorer for the city of Trenton continued to fuel his passion of seeking out breaking news.

    Thomas Peterson, Founder of Peterson's Breaking News.
    Thomas Peterson, Founder of Peterson’s Breaking News.

    In 2013, Peterson officially created the Facebook page, Breaking News Headlines, which turned into Peterson’s Breaking News of Trenton.

    “When I would go to search up…anything to do with Trenton, nothing really popped up,” Peterson said. “I was like, wow, I can actually do this myself.”

    Peterson said that there is “a big lack of news coverage that happens” in regard to the city of Trenton. In many instances, his page reports on stories that local news stations won’t pick up.

    When Peterson first started working on the page, his only mode of transportation was a bike which limited what stories he was able to get to and cover. After saving up enough money to purchase a car, the page was able to expand its reporting to different areas of Mercer County.

    Peterson works two security jobs on top of running the page. 

    Currently, Peterson and Crystal Feliciano, a Trenton Central High School teacher and community advocate, are the only people who contribute to the page’s content, making it hard to report on multiple stories at once.

    Crystal Feliciano, Community Outreach Reporter.

    Feliciano, the page’s community outreach reporter, was inspired to work with Peterson after seeing his enthusiasm for reporting at a journalism boot camp.

    “I was just amazed and in awe of him…being so young doing that…when you want to talk about somebody passionate and dedicated to the craft, he is all of those things,” she said.

    Feliciano hosts weekly sit down talks with the mayor of Trenton, holds virtual interviews to highlight local students, and covers community events. Anything that benefits the community at large, Feliciano covers it.

    “Now, we have 36 murders in the city of Trenton…people need to see a bright spot,” Feliciano said. “Let’s talk about these great community events that are taking place. Let’s talk about these people who are giving back… it also helps people in the community who may need a bite to eat, something to wear, access to a Zoom meeting where they can talk about benefits that they need.”

    Feliciano and Peterson’s commitment to amplifying local voices has created a dynamic where residents and other local news outlets see them as trusted sources.

    Shamiya Livingston, a Mercer County resident, has been following Peterson’s Breaking News for roughly five years. Without the page, she wouldn’t “know half of what’s going on” in her own town.

    Peterson out in the field filming for a story.

    Peterson and his team are quick,” Livingston said. “They are like the old lady looking out of the window at what’s going on in the neighborhood and before the information hits the media, five other girlfriends already know.”

    In the future, Peterson hopes that his staff and the page expands enough to where he is able to create a news company that covers stories all over Mercer County and includes a news broadcast.

    “The beautiful part about Peterson is he is on the scene and he is Trenton…he is a positive product of what this community represents and what our youth could be,” Feliciano said.

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    • M

      MayNov 25, 2020 at 5:43 pm

      Peterson’s Breaking News is incredibly informative. I often wish there was less breaking news of the crime and such as we have fingers crossed for this city to get better but for the time being, this gentleman does a fantastic reporting job. I am so very surprised at how young he is and how he is able to get to all of these events almost as soon as they happen.