Matters Magazine
Featuring local people, places and things that matter since 1990
Since 1990, MATTERS MAGAZINE has shared the best news of living in Maplewood and South Orange. It has stood the test of time for more than 25 years, as a great concept, with originators that never age (!), remarkable advertisers, and loyal, long-time readers. We spotlight local personalities, history and nostalgia, leisure activities, how-to primers and news-oriented features. The outlook is positive and constructive, the editorial content and photography entertaining and informative, and the advertising is well-targeted to a sophisticated, well-read consumer.

Direct mailed seven times a year to all the households in Maplewood and South Orange, additional copies are distributed to town halls, libraries, real estate offices, professional and other businesses in Maplewood, South Orange, and Essex County communities. Additionally all our issues are published and archived online. Check our ADVERTISE section for our most recent rate card and dates of each issue.

MATTERS MAGAZINE has earned an outstanding reputation for "celebrating good news" – just one of the many positive aspects of living and working in the area. Our articles are conceived months in advance. We are always looking for interesting feature story ideas, and selected press releases that could be followed up by our editors and writers. Go to our CONTRIBUTORS section for information about submitting ideas or to explore being added to our list of freelancers.

Meet the Minds over MATTERS

Ellen Donker

Rene Conlon

Joanne DiPasquale

Leslie Gilman

Joy Markel

Tia Swanson

Nick Humez

Adrienne MacWhannell

Karen Duncan

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, non-profits 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.

Favorite word: “serendipitous”

Favorite destination: Sanibel Island

Favorite accessory: shoes

Favorite writer: Dallas Willard
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 around the seasonal editions. Rene's ties to the business community and civic pride run deep and she enjoys covering the communities she knows and loves.

Favorite drink: Beer

Dislikes the phrase: “I can’t”

Favorite writer: Jerry Izenberg

Favorite vacation: Sea Isle City

Favorite sports team: Yankees
Associate Editor

After she earned a degree in merchandising, Joanne’s early career moved into the world of fashion marketing with Mademoiselle Magazine and then in the public relations department of the Danskin Company. When she and her husband, Nick, moved to Maplewood in 1997, she initially immersed herself in volunteering, mostly at her two daughters’ schools, where she is still actively involved. Since 2002 her organizational expertise has guided the running of the Matters Magazine office operations. Joanne admits her love of order and (gasp!) her enjoyment in doing laundry. It explains why the Matters office runs so efficiently – and looks it.

Favorite word: “Brilliant” (spoken in an English accent)

Guilty extravagance: Buying shoes in my very difficult-to-find size

Most admired historical figures: the Suffragettes

Favorite writer: Jane Austen

Best vacation: Italy
Advertising Representative

Leslie started with Matters Magazine in 2002 when her son was a toddler. If not found watching opera and ballet at Lincoln Center or Broadway, SOPAC or NJPAC, or ogling local celebrities at the Maplewood Theater, she can be spotted shopping or having her nails done in Maplewood or South Orange village. 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 1984, and their favorite production is their teen-aged son, who starred in the 2012 Wes Anderson film Moonrise Kingdom.

Favorite word: “penultimate”

Most useful possession: iPhone

Favorite writer: Charles Dickens

Most overused word: “classic”

Favorite Ballet: Giselle
Graphic Designer

Born just over the border in Warwick, NY, Joy once aspired to be a fashion designer; she’s picked oranges and raised turkeys in Israel and been an orthodontic assistant, a Hebrew teacher, a computer programmer and a trade show organizer for IBM. When she was in high school, she worked at the Warwick Advertiser doing ad paste-up using cold type and a wax roller; now she does similar work using Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. For many decades Joy successfully resisted the siren call of the Garden State, but in 1997 she finally succumbed to Essex County’s wiles, moving to Maplewood with her husband, Jeff, and their youngest son. Her two other children and their families reside in New York.

Favorite drink: Dirty martini with lots of extra olives

Favorite font: Chalet

High school course she’d like to take again: Spanish

Favorite adjective: “moronic”
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.

Favorite drink: champagne

Guilty extravagance: eBay

Most overused word: “great”

Favorite book: Pride and Prejudice

Favorite contemporary author: Marilynne Robinson
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.
Most useful possession: rosary pliers

Favorite writer: Sir John Harington

Best vacation: the family’s summer house in Maine

Favorite opera: Boris Godunov

Most admired historical figure: Scipio Africanus

Misses most about Maplewood: Net Nomads
Advertising Consultant
Founder and Creative Contributor

Karen founded Matters Magazine (originally called Maplewood Matters) in 1990. Conceptualized as a "good news" forum for local businesses, events and residents, the monthly editions enjoy a loyal readership continuing her original vision of reporting positive, interesting stories. Born in Ridgewood, NJ, Karen grew up in Pittsburgh. After graduating from Ashland University in Ohio she returned to her East Coast roots working for many years in fashion advertising in New York City before founding the magazine. After 37 years in Maplewood and South Orange, Karen and her husband Doug retired to Savannah, Georgia in 2017.

Most useful possession: iPhone

Favorite sports team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Most admired historical figure: Dolley Madison

Guilty extravagance: Fresh flowers

Favorite vacation: Amsterdam


Published by Visual Impact Advertising, Inc.
P.O. Box 198
Maplewood, NJ 07040
(973) 763-4900

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