• Gabriel Donio

Christmas, and the gifts we’ve been given


Fenway hanging out with a gnome in Gina Rullo's office at The Gazette. (THG/Gina Rullo. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

It’s true that I have never sat down, eggnog in hand, and written a Christmas column about the staff of The Gazette and what they mean to this newspaper. That streak ends right now, after 23 years.


During Christmastime, the offices of The Gazette are decorated inside and out, with holly trim, wreaths, a train, a Santa dressed in a baseball uniform, a gnome, trees and 12 colored glass bottles depicting the items in the carol “The 12 Days of Christmas” that used to be given out by a bank downtown if you opened a Christmas Club there.


We enjoy celebrating Christmas at The Gazette. It’s one of our busiest times of year, and the amount of news we cover seems to keep pace with the number of advertisements that fill our newspaper. As always, we’re thankful for the support—especially this year, when the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic downturn combined to make it a tough year for all businesses.


The Gazette’s advertisers and readers remained loyal.


We’re thankful for the gifts we’ve been given.


Among those gifts are a staff that has been as strong and solid as ever—there is no other group of people I would want to stand with as we face adversity. They’re committed to bringing you this newspaper every week—every week—and they meet deadlines and beat goals in a way that always makes me proud.


Gina Rullo is The Gazette’s Editor-in-Chief. In nearly a quarter-century in that position, she has brought intelligence, humor, good judgment, excellent management and writing skills and financial acumen as well as passion to the position. It would have been nice to have had an editor with only a couple of those attributes. Gina brings the entire package with her, combined with a seemingly endless reservoir of energy coupled with an unparalleled moral compass. The Gazette would have never become the newspaper it is today without her as its editor. Getting married made us complete (especially after we brought our dog Fenway home).


Dan Russoman, The Gazette’s Sports Editor, is the only writer (besides me) to have had his byline appear in every edition of The Gazette since 1997. No one knows local high school and youth sports better than Dan. He can give you all the names and stats of the professional sports as well. He’s at his best dealing with local coaches and athletes, who know him by name because he’s a presence at their games. His institutional memory regarding local sports is unparalleled—there is no one else who has covered sports in Hammonton for more consecutive years than Dan. What I like is that he still gets excited about the athletes, coaches and games.


MarySusan Hoffman is our Lead Graphic Designer. In the nearly 14 years she’s worked here, she’s helped develop the signature “look” of The Gazette. Her work ethic is outstanding, her attitude is first rate and anyone who looks at her work, either the ads in the print newspaper, the web ads on the website, or the layout of the pages throughout each edition can see that she is immensely talented at her job. Through it all, she remains the calm center of a newspaper office that can be intense at times. We all appreciate her insights and abilities—and I appreciate how much she cares about what she does at The Gazette.


Joseph F. Berenato is a Gazette Staff Writer, and without him we wouldn’t have half the content that appears in the newspaper each week. Always interested, always questioning, always curious, Joe returned to The Gazette after an 18-year hiatus. His writing style and easygoing attitude make it seem like the difficult work he does each week is easy. I know it isn’t. In addition to being an excellent writer, Joe also brings the wisdom of 42 years of living in Hammonton with him and the experience that has come with it. As a result, he doesn’t just write articles about the town—he infuses those articles with the commitment to detail that only comes from a person who cares deeply, every day.


Kristin Guglietti is the copy editor, staff writer and is in charge of the website of The Gazette. She has successfully taken on projects large and small in the months she has been with us. Each time we’ve asked her to accomplish a task, she has taken it on and completed it. In the coming weeks, a project she has been working on for some time will be launched, and her work on it has exceeded our expectations. Her writing ability shines through in all her articles. Kristin is a valued member of the staff who has brought original ideas to the organization, especially regarding the digital side of The Gazette.


We’re thankful for the gifts we’ve been given.


Back in 1997, I had an idea to start a newspaper. What I’ve learned in the intervening 23 years is that while it feels good to have successes in business, what’s most important to me is the relationships I’ve made during those years. Readers of The Gazette should know the paper you read each week is the product of some of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. The full-time employees—the ones who lead the way—are listed here, and there are more names who contribute each week.


Gina, Dan, MarySusan, Joe and Kristin are the ones who are responsible for making sure The Gazette exists each week. They don’t just do their jobs; they bring the newspaper to life.

Since it’s Christmas, and it’s a good time to be thankful for the gifts we’ve been given, I just wanted to take a moment and express my gratitude to each of them. It continues to be an honor and a pleasure to come to work with them each day.


Gabe Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.