There is no such thing as knowing too much
Two of the excellent attributes of this 25-year-old newspaper are its archives and the fact that several of the people working at the newspaper today are the same people who were covering events during the entirety of the last quarter-century.
That means we can digitally and physically put our hands on any article from that 25-year-period. It also means that in many cases, people such as me or one of our other staff members or editors were working here when that story was written in 1997, or 2005, or 2016 or last week. It’s true for any year for the last 25 years of covering the town, especially (in the case of the News section in particular) for me and our Editor-in-Chief, Gina Rullo. Sports Editor Dan Russoman has covered athletics in Hammonton for 25 years as well.
For the first 10 years of The Gazette’s existence, most of the government coverage was written by either me or Rullo. In those days, I was the one who went to most meetings. We also had freelance and staff reporters, and in the last decade, they have been the ones who sit in public meetings as the eyes and ears of The Gazette and the taxpayers.
There are many benefits to having this kind of institutional memory.
It directly benefits you as our readers, because if there is a new issue—such as the proposed redevelopment of 11th Street that was discussed during a special meeting of town council on July 6—we can look back at all the articles regarding the subject. Last week as part of our coverage of the July 6 council meeting, we used a portion of an article written by me from our archives that was originally published on October 19, 2005. That article referenced the 11th Street property, which is owned by the town and was being considered as a possible location for a new town hall in 2005.
In the article from 2005, there was pertinent information regarding the town-owned 11th Street property, most notably comments at that time from Pinelands Commission official Charles Horner regarding contamination on the site.
Readers were able to benefit from the additional information provided to them by The Gazette—and only The Gazette. You see, we own our archive. No one else has the access or the right to it. Since both I, as publisher, and Rullo, as editor-in-chief, each have 25 years of covering Hammonton, we are uniquely qualified when it comes to knowing how to use the information to ensure the public is as informed as possible.
You may notice that, a lot of times, the only place you will read about those facts is in The Gazette. Why do you think that is?
No other media outlet of any kind in the area can boast of the experience, the archive, the intelligence, the judgment and the discernment that The Gazette has when it comes to covering Hammonton. We’re proud of our long history of service to Hammonton and Hammontonians. We will use all our resources in the coming weeks and months to make sure the town is aware of what is happening.
If that means digging deep into our archives to put issues into historical context by finding relevant facts and making those facts public, we will do it.
It’s important for everyone we cover in government to know: We have been Hammonton’s local government watchdog since 1997. We started covering local government long before most local elected and appointed officials currently serving have had their titles, both at the town and the school district.
We take our job as investigative journalists and government reporters very seriously. When we go to work, it’s with the mission of informing the public so they can make informed decisions.
It’s our job to investigate what the government is doing, and thankfully, we are fully-equipped and staffed to do that job at a high level, every day, to produce the best newspaper possible, every week.
Why do we work so hard to deliver for you, the readers?
Because at The Gazette, we believe there is no such thing as knowing too much.
Gabriel J. Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.