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Delaware Today Magazine’s Past Editors Reflect on Their Tenures

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Maria Hess • Current Editor-In-Chief

The editorial team I am privileged to lead has offered consistently beautiful and substantive work. But it’s been my honor to serve as chair of the 50th anniversary committee, which is comprised of talented marketing, public relations, sales and editorial specialists. This group performed miracles—hosting the mother of all anniversary parties, partnering with the Delaware Historical Society for an exhibit this September, and combing through hundreds of archival magazines. Then there’s Mitch Hill, who produced the anniversary video and upcoming documentary. Gordon DelGiorno offered us space to videotape interviews at Film Brothers Productions in the great LOMA district of Wilmington. But I must say, this landmark issue is illustrative of the gifted people who make up DT’s editorial team. Words can’t express how proud I am of them.
I have one regret: That the great Sally Rinard—the original Gabby—won’t share this milestone. Sally lost her battle with cancer in 2008, but her talent still inspires.

Mark Nardone • (Editor from 2005-2011)

I was fortunate enough to serve as editor when Joe Biden was nominated for vice president, then elected. Deploying the edit team to do some fast reporting about the nomination felt like the best of my newspaper days, and creating a special issue was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to commemorate one of the state’s proudest moments. Watching the vice president-elect sneak a slice of pizza during the photo shoot while his Secret Service agents weren’t looking was priceless.

 

 

Marsha Mah • (1998-2005)

One of the most popular features during my tenure was the annual swimsuit guide, which had to be shot in chilly March for the June issue. In 2004 we were invited to shoot both the swimsuit feature and the June bridal issue as the guests of Delaware resident Michele Rollins, who owned Ritz-Carlton Golf and Spa Resort in Jamaica at the time. Photographer Luigi Ciuffetelli, creative director Kelly Carter, three models and I were up before dawn to plow through the intense shooting schedule, but we played hard at night, thanks to our gracious hostess. The only snag was a Jamaican customs agent, who was convinced we were bringing in boxes of bridal gowns, swimsuits and accessories to set up shop in Jamaica.

Ted Spiker • (1994-1998)

So many great times with the staff, like planning Best Of issues and parties, eating chiles rellenos from El Toro, watching Mark Nardone and Andy Lippstone win writing awards from CRMA, hanging with defense lawyer Joe Hurley (for a story!), and challenging ourselves to create a compelling magazine that engaged readers every month.

 

 

 

Lise Monty • (1986-1994)

Stories that stick in my mind: Overview on serial killer Steven Pennell, dubbed the Route 40 killer, and Rita Farrell’s insightful feature on the 1988 presidential campaigns of Pete du Pont and Joe Biden, whom she trailed in New Hampshire. Also, “fantasy jobs” feature with great photos of Charles and Inge Parks as hot tango dancers and Mike Castle as a Colorado riverboat pilot. Imagine. Our pride in winning national awards for general excellence lingers.

 

 

 

Mary Louise Ponsell • (1966 to 1971)

Delaware Today was the only print media alternative in 1966 to The Wilmington Morning News and The Evening Journal. As editor and co-publisher, I sought stories of significance that would not appear elsewhere. Two of my favorites: a lengthy, substantive interview with the newly elected Gov. Russell W. Peterson; and a penetrating analysis of the life and work of artist Andrew Wyeth, illustrated on the cover by the only painting of his whose rights were not controlled by the Wyeth family.

 

 

 

(Al Pione, James E. Panyard, Leonard Quinn, Cari DiSantis, Peter Mucha and John Taylor also were editors.)

 

Team Notes

From left: Louise Bolin, Drew Ostroski, Kelly Carter, Jared Castaldi, Katie McCabe and Mark Nardone. Photograph by Jared CastaldiKelly  I still can’t believe this publication has been around for five decades. I may be dating myself, but this will be my third anniversary issue at the magazine. This is definitely the best one I’ve worked on so far.

Jared  This month was all over the place. I got to photograph such a diverse group of people for the 50 most influential people piece. Plus, it was nice to get out and trek through the woods for the fly fishing shoot. Lee Powers took me to some out-of-the-way spots on White Clay Creek. Couldn’t ask for better scenery.

Louise  It’s our big anniversary issue. Anniversaries mean a lot, whether you’re celebrating 50 years with a business or 40 years of wedding bliss. My fiancé and I have been together for 11 years and we will be celebrating our 12-year anniversary on our wedding day! Can’t wait. XOXO

Drew  I recently made my first trip to Fry Communications—the company that prints many of Today Media’s publications—in Mechanicsburg, Pa. I appreciated meeting all the nice folks there, as well as the tour and the awesome dinner.

Katie  Though a life-long Delawarean, I only recently attended my first show at the Arden Gild Hall. I will definitely go back; you can’t beat the more intimate venues. New York Doll David Johansen performed in an acoustic duo. He’s still funky, if a little less chic, with the same great smile (and voice).

Mark  It was great to catch up with old New Castle pal Mark Martell of the Delaware Audubon Society over lunch. If you think the organization exists simply for the benefit of birders, you may be interested to know that it is, with the Sierra Club, Delaware Riverkeeper and other groups, working on some of the most pressing environmental issues of the day.
 


 

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