Monday, June 26, 2017

MY FAREWELL TO MAPLEWOODIAN.COM, BUT NOT GOODBYE

It is with great sadness and pride that I must announce I will no longer being running Maplewoodian.com. Sadness in that it has to end after being such a major part of my life, and I hope some of yours. 

But pride in the work that I have been able to do during the past eight and a half years. I believe our effort to dig up important news and facts about how our township is run, how our schools are operated and how our community works have made a difference. 

Fred Smith, Joe Strupp, Anna Sandler
Fortunately, the site is being acquired by TapIntoSOMA, the great hyperlocal site dedicated to providing original news reporting for South Orange and Maplewood news, owned and operated by South Orange resident Fred Smith and Maplewood journalist Anna Sandler. I urge you to support them. I will also be writing a monthly column for them, under the same Maplewoodian name.

And if I see something I want to report on in between columns, don't be surprised if I use TapInto to do it. 

I started Maplewoodian.com in late 2008, partly in response to the lack of coverage of the resignation of then-Mayor Ken Pettis. But more so as a way to get the news and information out that I believed the town needed to know.

Since then I have prided myself on seeking to find out how our tax dollars are spent, policies made and people elected. I've been lucky to have the support of many local residents, as well as my family, who have supported the work, offered tips and scoops, and defended me against some of the opposition that did not want truth to be out.

I had one general journalistic rule: reveal the truth on things I felt should be known. But also have some fun. I think we accomplished both. 

From tragic events like murders and accidental deaths to tax reassessments, school cuts and incoming development, I believe we did a lot to bring news to residents that might not have been found. And when powers that be sought to keep information from the public -- as the school district did last year with legal service invoices related to the CHS baseball bullying scandal -- I sued for access, and won.

I was also proud to have received two state Society of Professional Journalists awards, the latest on Sunday.

But it has also taken a lot of time and effort that I wish to devote to other journalistic projects and outlets. And perhaps to some Maplewood causes and township events. 

As a 17-year resident of our town I remain its biggest fan and still believe this is one of the greatest places to live. But I also urge everyone not to let any leadership or public entities go unchecked. 

From the Township government to the school district to police and local developers, I urge you to keep asking questions, demanding answers and seeking information. I will as well. 

And as longtime readers know, my first message when it comes to those who run our town, schools and taxes remains the same: Remember, they work for you!

7 comments:

John Harvey said...

Joe, you were the last remaining mostly-objective news source in Maplewood. At a minimum you asked authentic questions, and you expected authentic answers. The Village Green played a similar role but clearly their strategy has gone towards vanilla, rarely asking tough questions. Unfortunately, in towns with many alternative views this objectivity is an asset. Anything you can do with your monthly column to continue this role, or to influence TAP would be invaluable. Safe travels - John

Joe Strupp said...

Thanks John. I am not going away, just relocating to Tapinto and a new twitter and facebook outlet, both dubbed JoeMaplewoodian.

John Harvey said...

Joe, this is your differentiation -

"But I also urge everyone not to let any leadership or public entities go unchecked.

From the Township government to the school district to police and local developers, I urge you to keep asking questions, demanding answers and seeking information. I will as well.

And as longtime readers know, my first message when it comes to those who run our town, schools and taxes remains the same: Remember, they work for you!"

Vic once told me his role is not to represent us, as we elected him to make decisions for us. Sounds subtle, but a significant difference!

Some possible questions for the future:

Is the Downtown Maplewood business economic health better as a result of the new development. Remember, Vic, and the Village Alliance voted to override the requirement for a Business Eco Analysis which was a requirement b4 demolishing a building in the Village.

How is the traffic and safety flow a year from now since the Township Committee waived the parking requirement for the additional retail and apartments?

And, when Forgione sells how much does he/others profit despite having been approved for PILOT?

On a broader view, what is the cost and payments of the accumulated debt as a result of new library funding, Woman's Club and other RE purchases, and a refusal to look at zero-based budgeting?

In the end, Joe they always say you need to follow the money - John

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Sunshine said...

I've loved reading the Maplewoodian! Always Accurate and well written! Thanks!

William Steinbrunn said...

Hi Joe
You don't know how much I miss the Maplewoodian!!! You gave us the best and accurate news before the other news media. You made sure we got it all.
Best regards,
Bill

kaka small said...

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