MATTERS MAGAZINE has earned an outstanding reputation for celebrating good news in Maplewood and South Orange. We’ve been doing it since 1990 with smart, thorough, and authentic content that captures the essence of our towns and delivers what residents want to read. Our resources help them navigate how to do life here. And our unexpected glimpses into lives and events reveal the layers that make our towns endlessly interesting.


Direct mailed seven times a year to every household in Maplewood and South Orange, Matters Magazine offers businesses the most cost-effective way to reach our residents. Additional copies are distributed to town halls, libraries, real estate offices, retail, professional and other businesses in the towns, and surrounding communities. Additionally, all our issues are published and archived online. Check our ADVERTISE section for our rate card and publications dates.


We are always looking for interesting feature story ideas and selected press releases that our editors and writers can pursue. Go to our CONTRIBUTORS section to submit ideas or explore being added to our list of freelancer writers, photographers and graphic designers.

Meet the Minds over MATTERS

Ellen Donker

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Publisher and Editor in Chief

Ellen is a lifelong New Jerseyan with the exception of four years when she attended Wheaton College, outside of Chicago. Although she majored in economics, she has spent her professional life in marketing, working at various corporations, nonprofits as well as her own advertising agency. Ellen has lived in Maplewood since 1996 and is married to Rob Depue. They keep busy raising their three children who happen to be triplets. She loves being involved in the communities of Maplewood and South Orange, and spends her time reading and gardening and looking for the next best Matters story.

Rene Conlon


Advertising Consultant

Since 1994 Rene has been part of the Matters family and has worn many hats. With a degree in economics from Rutgers University, her career path has taken her from retail management to continuing education, and ultimately, to Matters Magazine. Her children have literally grown up in the Matters office. Her husband Paul and both children (PJ & Mackenzie) are graduates of Columbia High School. Rene's ties to Maplewood and South Orange run deep. A 30-year Maplewood resident, she served as the Executive Director of the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce for 20 years and also worked closely with several local non-profits. A “compulsive” volunteer, Rene ranks her years coaching softball as the highlight.

Leslie Gilman

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Advertising Representative

Leslie started with Matters Magazine in 2002, often bringing her toddler to meetings or on sales calls. Now, if not found posting cute photos of her pets or doing her college-aged son's laundry on his rare visits home, she's probably watching opera and ballet at Lincoln Center or Broadway, SOPAC or NJPAC, or ogling local celebrities. She can also be spotted around SOMA shopping, dining, chatting or having her nails done. A local resident since the mid 80s, Leslie grew up in Brooklyn, NY (and like the city that never sleeps, neither does she), attended the High School of Performing Arts as a dance major and graduated with a B.A. in Theatre from Brooklyn College, all of which totally prepared her for her job at Matters Magazine. She and her husband, Rick, married in 1983, both agree their favorite production is son, Jared, currently enrolled at NYU-Tisch. 

Rachael Entine


Social Media Manager

Before taking a hiatus to raise her three children, Rachael spent 14 years at advertising agencies in New York City leading account management teams on key agency clients in the fashion/retail and hotel/resort industries. As primary client liaison, she managed strategic direction, brand development, execution and implementation of marketing materials for print, radio and digital efforts. She is currently managing marketing and events for a local boutique, and serves on the PTA as VP/Co-Chair Social Media for her children's school. Rachael lives in Maplewood with her daughter Ryan (11) and twin boys Benjamin and Michael (7).

Nick Humez

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Copy Editor

Shortly after moving to Maplewood in 1998, Nick joined the stable of our local writers. Fresh from seven years of covering the music scene for Maine’s largest daily, the Portland Press Herald, he would write some two dozen Matters while simultaneously teaching two sections of mythology per term at Montclair State (eventually recording and releasing Myth Songs, a CD of the didactic ditties he wrote for and sang to his classes), cold-proofreading and writing indexes for a couple of university presses, and making silver jewelry for wholesale to the trade (an enterprise started while still in college that more than 40 years later still refuses to die). In 2005 Nick relocated to Ohio, writing and publishing two more books with his brother, Alex, and metamorphosing from Matters writer to copy-editor, “chasing the commas” for the magazine ever since.

Tia Swanson


Copy Editor

Tia grew up in the woods of Pennsylvania and came unwillingly to New Jersey after marrying a native. But a few years into the marriage, they fell in love with an old, moldering Victorian in South Orange and she’s never looked back. She and her husband are now on their second fixer-upper; they are caretakers there for four children, a dog, a cat and two goldfish. In a previous life, she got a master’s degree in English literature, lived in England and Japan and worked in Pennsylvania and New Jersey as a reporter, columnist and editor for daily newspapers.