Weeks before what would have been Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday, I found myself sitting in Leo’s Grandevous having lunch with the legendary Pete Hamill. After discussing Why Sinatra Matters, the topic of conversation shifted to local journalism.
“All these people here in Hoboken, they all have stories,” said Hamill. “And you should be the one to write them.”
So I did. Because when a guy like Pete Hamill tells you to write, you’d better write.
In a career spanning 20+ years, writing for the Jersey Journal, Hudson Reporter, Hoboken.com, Hoboken-bar.net and others, I’ve been covering life in Hoboken & Hudson County. When I met with Joe Mindak, Kevin Cale, and Sang Lee in 2009 to discuss this project of theirs called hMAG, things really shifted gears. What started out as a dazzling glossy print publication has evolved over the years, trying to keep pace with a city and a media landscape that have both seen frenetic change. When I took over as Publisher in 2014, I saw a need for more anchored local news online—so we worked toward delivering balanced, conscientious breaking/daily news and political coverage, while still striving maintain share of mind for arts and lifestyle pieces.
From fires to floods, plays to politics, and every SantaCon in between, we’ve been there. We’ve endeavored to keep readers engaged, informed, and entertained. We’ve been cited by NPR, NYT, BBC and more. We’ve welcomed new businesses, and seen old favorites move on. We’ve toasted our friends and neighbors, and done the best we can to celebrate them when they’ve gone.
Next to the encouragement from the late, great Pete Hamill, I’d say the best compliment we’d get would be seeing opposing sides in a political story both share our coverage—it meant so much to be recognized for delivering a fair and straightforward perspective on whatever issue we were covering.
That’s not to say we didn’t get it wrong a few times, but we took steps to rectify our mistakes and learn from them. We’d also make the effort to interact with our audience—for better or for worse. Not everyone cared for our approach, but I’d like to think we gave what we got… because that’s the Hoboken way.
Personally, I’m honored to have had a voice in this community for so long, and truly grateful for the trust you’ve placed in our publication. As I move along to write another chapter in my life, I will miss working with you… most of you, anyway.
Of course there are so many to thank—family, friends and colleagues who have supported me throughout this career. I also want to thank Steve Lenox and TAPinto, who have been tremendous partners throughout the past 18 months. Readers will continue to see TAPinto content delivered via hMAG’s social media channels for the foreseeable future.
We live in extraordinary times, with unrelenting pressures squeezing what seems to be every aspect of our lives. While we stand wide-eyed and fearful of the state of the world, we often miss the struggles taking place right on our doorsteps. It is essential that every resident maintain an active interest in the issues of our communities—which is why it is vital that local journalism remain healthy and effective. Support the institutions that are trying so desperately to support you.
#EatLocal, #DrinkLocal, #ShopLocal, #LiveLocal, #LoveLocal, #BeLocal.
And always remember, Fridays Are For Frank.
Christopher M. Halleron
is was the Publisher/Editor of hMAG.
As a columnist and journalist, he covered various aspects of life here in the ‘greater Hoboken area’ and beyond for the past two decades.
His opinions are his own.