• Gabriel Donio

Celebrating excellence helps fill paper with good news


Gazette Mascot Fenway with the December 22, 2021 Print Edition of The Gazette. (THG/Kristin Guglietti)

Obviously, the times are tough. Let’s start there. It’d be foolish not to start there.


Still, there is good news, and a lot of it can be found on the pages of The Gazette.


We’ve always made covering excellence a priority. People who are achieving, both in Hammonton and all across the world, have been covered by our newspaper.


Last week, we had fashion model Victoria Massey on our front page. She’s a 2018 Hammonton High School graduate who recently was featured in the Polo Ralph Lauren fall campaign. She’s walking on runways in Paris and Milan.



A few weeks ago we covered the passing of legendary Hammonton High School Football Coach Joe Cacia, whose Blue Devil teams won four straight CAL championships from 1968 to 1971. We also covered the death of longtime coach and former owner of Camp Tuscaloosa and READ Preschool, Vincent DeLaurentis.


We highlight these people because they are examples of people who are following or followed their dreams. They are examples for all of us—particularly the young people reading the newspaper.


Just think: Some young person may read the article about a Hammontonian making their mark in the world and think “I’m from Hammonton too. Maybe I can make my dream happen, just like they did.”


That’s why it’s so important to keep those examples of people achieving coming each week in The Gazette. They are inspiring to others.


We also featured the four Governor’s Educators of the Year on last week’s front page. Christian Febles, Megan Goblirsch, Cindy McBride and Judy Rybacki were featured on the front page, above the fold. They deserve to be celebrated.


The Rev. David Rivera’s photo is featured on the front page this week, as part of our coverage of his Installation Mass as the new pastor of St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish. Again, this is a moment of achievement for a prominent local figure. We’re happy to feature it prominently.


When Tony “Tiger” Rodio was named CEO of Caesars Entertainment, we put him on the front page. Now he’s the CEO of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation.


Some of our favorite stories are “good news” stories. “Notable Locals” has been running in the Our Town section for decades. We highlight the graduations, job appointments, awards and achievements of Hammontonians and people connected to the town.


The Our Town section is also home to the honor rolls from our schools. We’re happy to be the exclusive newspaper of the honor rolls. It’s especially important to encourage young students.


Hammonton is fortunate to have civic organizations like the Hammonton Lions Club, which presents its annual Citizen of the Year Award to a worthy Hammontonian (this year’s recipient was Dr. Johanna Johnson) as well as the Greater Hammonton Chamber of Commerce, which gives the “Nice Going” award and “Business of the Year” Award annually as well.


Recipients of these awards are often featured on the front page of The Gazette. We devote an entire special supplement to the Chamber Awards and Installation Dinner filled with photos and a lengthy article about the evening.


In recent years, many local authors have written books, and their works have been written about in The Gazette. From retired Judge Nelson Johnson to Michael Rizzotte to dozens of other authors during the 25 years of The Gazette, it’s been our pleasure to present their works to our readers. They’ve been joined by musicians like Ace Enders, as well as many other artists.


We covered the entire year of Lindsey Giannini’s reign as Miss New Jersey, right up to the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City.


Joe Gatto recently signed a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training with the Philadelphia Phillies.


It’s been fun to share the stories of people from Hammonton who have done well and had standout achievements.


We like to start when they are students—that’s why we print the entire valedictorian and salutatorian speeches for both local high schools. It’s no small achievement to be the valedictorian or salutatorian at any school. And when Eduardo Tolentino and Jenny Valdez were named the first Latino Homecoming King and Queen at Hammonton High School, we covered the story, in English and Spanish.


Good news is a major part of our coverage. We celebrate excellence at The Gazette because we know Hammonton is a town of achievers and believers. We believe in Hammonton, and that’s why we never run out of stories about the greatness of the town and the people who live in it. It’s not like any other place.


Gabriel J. Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.