Editorial from JTOWN Magazine editor Phil Stilton
Government doesn’t get to decide what is a newspaper and what isn’t, but when the government declares a publication by ordinance to be a newspaper, it should accept its own definition of the law as fact.
This came into question in December when two Jackson Township Councilmen, Ken Bressi and Barry Calogero launched a politically motivated attack against a newspaper in Jackson after receiving unfavorable election coverage, which was based completely on factual information.
“Advertising in a document that doesn’t meet the legal advertising criteria to be a newspaper for the township. How are we reaching our residents if it’s not qualified,” Bressi said.
Not only was Ken Bressi’s statement about JTOWN incorrect, it was nothing short of slanderous and libelous. It was with intent to harm not only JTOWN Magazine’s reputation, but it’s business.
Bressi was upset over a story published in our magazine related to his former position in the transportation department and decided to launch this attack in retaliation for facts published in JTOWN Magazine that were widely reported in such papers that do meet his legal advertising criteria.
On record with Jackson Township are several of JTOWN Magazine’s postal delivery forms, a federal document prepared by the United States Postal Service which not only more than sufficiently satisfies the township’s own definition of a “newspaper”, certifies that every home in the 08527 zip code is receiving our publication on a monthly basis.
While township code suggests a newspaper is published minimum four times per year, JTOWN Magazine (part of the Shore News Network) is not only published 12 times a year, it operates daily online, with a certified reader base with over 100,000 subscribers online, including 12,000 online in Jackson, making it the most widely accessible publication both online and in print in Jackson with the highest per-issue circulation.
These attacks on JTOWN Magazine by the Council of Jackson will not be tolerated. This is the fourth time in one year this council has attacked our publication because the news did not favor their political position and they continually infringe upon our first ammendment right of Freedom of the Press. Disagree if you may with the content, but do not misrepresent the facts in an attempt to damage the reputation of a very reputable publication in your town.
For almost 10 years now, JTOWN Magazine has served Jackson Township and the community faithfully, promoting good government services, charities, youth sports, education and everything in between in Jackson.
The council’s assault on our magazine and reader base in 2016 is nothing short of a feeble attempt of government bullying, but we, nor our readers will stand for it in 2017.
From the Jackson Township Code Book (read online)
Article I:Newspapers and Handbills
[Adopted 6-12-1973 by Ord. No. 26-73 (Ch. 74, Art. II, of the 1972 Code)]
§ 262-1 Definitions.
For the purpose of this article, the terms used herein are defined as follows:
Any newspaper of general circulation, as defined by general law, any newspaper duly entered with the Post Office Department of the United States in accordance with federal statute or regulation and any newspaper filed and recorded with any recorded officer as provided by law; and, in addition thereto, shall mean and include any periodical or magazine regularly published with not fewer than four issues per year and sold or circulated to the public.