Looking forward to covering the next chapters of the city
The Hammonton Gazette celebrates its 25th anniversary. (Courtesy picture)
Wow. That pretty much sums up how I feel about this week’s edit. When I started typing this column, it was 4:26 p.m. on June 27 and The Gazette worked feverishly on this astonishing 136-page edition.
Crew. This is the culture we have worked to develop over the past 25 years.
Each member relies on the other to complete the edit. And each member of the team has a valuable role to play within the organization.
Now don’t ask me what sport we play, that’s a question best asked Gabe Donio or Dan Russoman.
Although some weeks it feels like a blood sport.
The Bible (let’s go with the New American Standard Bible) tells us, “A prophet is dishonored only in his hometown and in his own house. (Matthew 13:57).
And boy is that true some weeks. Why didn’t anyone tell us in 1997? Ask a friend.
Another way of looking at it comes from a Sicilian expression which loosely means everyone knows the truth but no one wants to hear it.
We have printed the truth for 25 years. It made us popular in some areas (for about a week) and unpopular in others (for a lifetime). You do not believe me ? Ask around.
Ultimately we have to print what’s going on and it’s not always sunshine and rainbows.
When I started this job (as a summer job) in 1997, I knew nothing about Hammonton.
But I fell head over heels in love with the community. I could see the potential of our downtown which had many vacancies. Every person I met was a real character. Each day was a new chapter in the romance of Hammonton’s history. As an avid reader, I was eager to learn more and move on to the next chapter.
I have learned so many lessons in my 25 years as editor of this journal. My compassion for my neighbor grew. Life isn’t as black and white as I thought it was when I was 20.
Some things are always the same. “No” is a complete sentence and not the starting point of a negotiation. Integrity matters. The quality of your relationships matters more than the quantity.
Everyone has a story. You can be as rich as Midas or as poor as Annie at the orphanage, there’s always a story to tell.
I want this newspaper to tell all the stories of the people of Hammonton.
Although I love this city unconditionally, it does not blind me to some of its flaws. Just like my husband, Gabe, is not blind to my little personality flaws after almost 17 years of marriage.
The crime is happening here. Is it at the level of New York or Philadelphia? No, not often, fortunately.
Are people obsessed with political power? Yes. It’s the same everywhere.
People live, die, and do great and small things in this time. Tragedy also strikes our community. We are not safe despite the bubble that often seems to cover our commune. Every year I know more people and I feel every loss of someone I know deeply.
When I moved here I wanted to improve Hammonton. I didn’t want to change the core values inherent in the city, which are family, community, and faith (choose one faith, any faith). If you really love someone, you don’t want to completely redo them.
I never understood people who get married and then want to rearrange their partner? Bringing out the best and helping them improve in areas they feel are lacking is a much more natural way to be in my opinion.
In Hammonton, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The current ruling party, both at local and departmental level, firmly maintains its majority at each level. I hope it’s not so tight that they strangle their lifeline. The school district may be embarking on a major construction project, so stay tuned.
James Bertino and James Curcio are always elected (although different). I have seen their children grow over the years. Some are older than me when we started this journal.
John Runfolo always leads the way at the Blueberry Festival. Cruisin’ MainStreet continues to make me want to own a vintage Mustang. Evelyn Penza still serves up the wisdom behind the stoves at Red Barn Cafe.
I want to take a moment and thank all of our readers. It is for you that we print and will continue to print this newspaper every week. Thank you for holding our feet to the fire.
To our advertisers, I have the deepest gratitude for your continued support. Some of you have been with us for almost the entire trip so far. We will continue to work to bring you business.
If you’re not a fan of this journal, thank you for reading this far. I like you too.
Thanks to Gabe, Dan, MarySusan, Kristin, Sean, Joseph, Jessica, Betsey, Jenn and everyone who makes work fun.
My heart is very full this week. I can’t wait to see what the next 25 years will bring other than a stronger prescription for my glasses.
Gina Rullo is the editor-in-chief of The Hammonton Gazette. In 2022, she was named “Editor Extraordinaire” by Editor and magazine publisher and in 2021 won two awards for investigative journalism.