ELIZABETH — Reporters, editors and other alumni of the Elizabeth Daily Journal joined for dinner Saturday at Tapas of Spain, a restaurant near the Bayway Circle for a reunion commemorating the 20th anniversary of the newspaper’s demise.
The New Jersey Journal was established on Feb. 16, 1779 by Sheppard Kollock, who Alexander Hamilton recommended to Gen. Harry Knox after George Washington commanded that something be done to counter the influence of publications in the area that supported the British during the American Revolution.
When he was appointed postmaster for Elizabeth in 1818, Kollock sold the newspaper and it changed hands several times until 1863, when it was taken over by a former teacher, Frederick W. Foote.
Foote renamed it the Elizabeth Daily Journal in 1871 but it did not actually become a daily newspaper until 1890.
Rising from a job as copy boy, Augustus S. Crane became publisher of the Elizabeth Daily Journal from 1905 and it was owned by his family until 1959, when it was acquired by Ralph Ingersoll’s Mid-Atlantic Newspapers, Inc. chain.
Hagadone Newspapers of Idaho bought the newspaper in 1975 and invested $2 million modernizing the facilities and constructing a new printing plant adjacent to the Elizabeth Daily Journal building erected in 1924, at the site of Governor Voorhee’s home on North Broad Street at Chestnut Street.
A strike that began April 18, 1979 in response to staff cuts and job reclassifications lasted only until November, but it triggered a decline in advertising and circulation from which it never fully recovered.
It was sold in 1986 to the North Jersey Newspaper Company — a partnership between Garden State Newspapers/MediaNews, founded by William Dean Singleton and Richard Scudder in 1983, and the Goodson Newspaper Group, formed by television game show producers Mark Goodson and Bill Todman — which struggled until a December 1991 deal to sell to Rudder Publishing Company of Florida, ultimately fell through.
Organized by John Koppisch, a senior editor with Forbes magazine, and his wife, Maureen Sullivan, the event was attended by Richard Vezza, publisher of The Star-Ledger; former Bergen Community College executive Angela Harrington and her husband John; Kean University Professor Frank Argote-Freyre; and Joe Strupp, an investigative reporter and senior editor at Media Matters for America.
Also attending were Valerie Reitman, Debra LaQuaglia, Jay McDaniel, Hugh Morley, Wayne Parry, Bruno Tedeschi, Heidi Mae Bratt, Carl Cavallaro, Jim Dao, James J.Devine, Ana Gonzalez as well as Jane and Larry Gould.
Joe Bakes, Michael Barbella. Ron Berenson, Kinga Borondy, William Almy, Denise DiStephan, Kathleen Hopkins, Bill Kennedy, Kathy McDermott, Steve Milewski, Nancy Shields, Maryann Spoto, Chuck Amasio, Joe Tintle, and Victor Zak were also among those at the event.
James J. Devine and Nancy Shields (Photo credit: Joe Strupp)
Victor Zak, Ana Gonzalez, and Debra LaQuaglia (Photo credit: Joe Strupp)
Bruno Tedeschi, Maryann Spoto and Hugh Morley (Photo credit: Joe Strupp)
Bill Kennedy inspires a laugh from Steve Milewski as former staff gathered to pay homage to the defunct publication (Photo credit: Joe Strupp)
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