Daily Hampshire Gazette to hold reunion June 30

  • Current and former members of the staff at the Daily Hampshire Gazette from the 1970s to today will come together for a reunion on June 30. This picture is from the 1990s. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

  • Gazette newsroom Wednesday morning April 4th 2018. —CAROL LOLLIS

  • Gazette newsroom Wednesday morning April 4th 2018. —CAROL LOLLIS

For the Gazette
Published: 4/4/2018 11:20:18 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Current and former members of the staff at the Daily Hampshire Gazette from the 1970s to today will come together to reconnect, share stories and celebrate the impact the newspaper has had on their lives and careers during a reunion June 30.

There will be an early afternoon reception at the Gazette building at 115 Conz St., followed by a barbecue dinner and festivities at Nonotuck Park in Easthampton starting at  4 p.m.

Anyone interested in attending may register and pay for tickets by visiting https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3325460. Gazette alumni  also are encouraged to join the alumni Facebook page, which will provide additional information about the event.

Though the reunion is being planned by current and former newsroom staffers, anyone who works or worked in any department at the Gazette is invited.

“We really want this to be open to everyone and very inclusive,” said Debbie Bradley Ruder, a former Gazette reporter and a leading reunion organizer.

Ruder, Colleen Fitzpatrick, also a former Gazette reporter, and Stanley Moulton first began discussing the possibility of a reunion nearly five years ago. The idea was rekindled last year when Ruder wrote a remembrance of musician John Clark that Moulton edited for the Gazette’s Viewpoints section.

The three, along with the Gazette’s interim editor Debra Scherban, retired editor and publisher Jim Foudy and retired editor Edward Shanahan, have been organizing the reunion for about eight months.

Moulton, the opinion editor, and Scherban have worked at the Gazette in a variety of reporting and editing positions for more than 40 years.

“It’s going to be a great event,” Scherban said. “The teamwork here has been so strong year after year. That in combination with the great city Northampton is seems to leave a really positive impact on people who pass through. It will be so much fun to reconnect with people.”

Relying on their collective memories, the organizers reached out to former colleagues through social media and word-of-mouth. “The response has been extremely enthusiastic,” Moulton said. “Everyone I’ve talked to seems genuinely excited about it.

“I think it’s rare to have a workplace hold a reunion, but this place has really been important to many people who’ve worked here,” Moulton added. “Over the years, I’ve seen hundreds of young reporters come through this newsroom and I know that the Gazette has meant a lot to many of them who have gone on to have great careers, both in and out of journalism.”

Two of those reporters were Ruder and Fitzpatrick, whose careers at the Gazette overlapped in the early 1980s.

Fitzpatrick’s first full-time job as a reporter was with the Gazette, where she covered courts and local government. She went on to have a 20-year career in journalism covering local, state, national and international news that brought her to places like Washington D.C., and Poland during the Cold War.

“It all started at the Gazette for me,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s where I was first grounded in the fundamentals of good journalism, and it served me really well for my entire career.”

After working as a reporter on the city desk at the Gazette, Ruder went into the field of communications, landing a job as Smith College’s news director before working for Harvard University and later, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

“My experience at the Gazette was really a transformative one for me and my career,” Ruder said. “I learned so much and met a lot of great mentors.”

Ruder and Fitzpatrick also emphasized how much their time at the Gazette meant to them personally. The two have maintained a friendship over the years, and both said they made many meaningful relationships during their time as reporters at the Gazette.

“My experience was meaningful but also fun,” Ruder said. “It not only launched my career but also provided me with some lifelong friendships.”

Fitzpatrick echoed a similar sentiment, recalling how Gazette reporters used to play softball and go on annual trips  together.

“I just can’t wait to reconnect with some of the people I haven’t seen in years, share stories and meet new generations of staff,” she said.

The reunion committee has secured reserved blocks of rooms with discounted rates at several local hotels for those who plan to travel to the reunion. Additional information about rates and reservations can be found on the alumni Facebook page and at the organizations’s website, https://dailyhampshiregaz.wixsite.com/reunion.

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