The Star-Ledger

The Star-Ledger is the largest circulated newspaper in the U.S. state of New Jersey and is based in Newark. It is a sister paper to The Jersey Journal of Jersey City, The Times of Trenton and the Staten Island Advance, all of which are owned by Advance Publications.

The Star-Ledger
The May 24, 2012 front page of
The Star-Ledger
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)Advance Publications
PublisherRichard Vezza
EditorKevin Whitmer
LanguageAmerican English
Headquarters1 Gateway Center Suite 1100
Newark, New Jersey 07102[1]
CountryUnited States
Circulation114,000 daily[2](Sept 2015)
359,820 Sunday[3](Sept 2014)
OCLC number10944976
Star-Ledger logo in 2007

In 2007, The Star-Ledger's daily circulation was reportedly more than the next two largest New Jersey newspapers combined, and its Sunday circulation was larger than the next three papers combined.[4] It has suffered great declines in print circulation in recent years, to 180,000 daily in 2013, then to 114,000 "individually paid print circulation," which is the number of copies being bought by subscription or at newsstands, in 2015.[2]

In July 2013, the paper announced that it would sell its headquarters building in Newark.[5] In the same year, Advance Publications announced it was exploring cost-saving changes among its New Jersey properties, but was not considering mergers or changes in publication frequency at any of the newspapers, nor the elimination of home delivery.[6]


The Newark Daily Advertiser, founded in 1832, was Newark's first daily newspaper. It subsequently evolved into the Newark Star-Eagle, owned by what eventually became Block Communications. S. I. Newhouse bought the Star-Eagle from Block in 1939 and merged it with the Newark Ledger to become the Newark Star-Ledger. The paper dropped Newark from its masthead sometime in the 1970s, but is still popularly called the Newark Star-Ledger by many New Jersey residents.[7][8]

During the 1960s The Star-Ledger's chief competitor was the Newark Evening News, once the most popular newspaper in New Jersey. In March 1971, the Star-Ledger surpassed the Evening News in daily circulation, because the Newark News was on strike. The Evening News shut down in 1972.[9]

After the Newark Evening News moved to a high-traffic area (with the potential of trapping its delivery trucks in inner-city traffic) the Star-Ledger opened a satellite plant in Piscataway. The Piscataway location offered quick access to Union, Monmouth, Somerset, and Middlesex counties.[10]

The Star-Ledger was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting in 2005 for its comprehensive and clear-headed coverage of the resignation of New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, after he confessed to adultery with a male lover.[11]

The paper awards the Star-Ledger Trophy each year to the number one high school teams in their respective sport in New Jersey.[12]

21st century: financial troubles

In 2005, George Arwady became the publisher of The Star-Ledger. A graduate of Columbia University, Arwady had previously been the publisher of the Kalamazoo Gazette in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Having worked closely with the Newhouse family for years, Arwady was asked to move to Newark to financially revamp the paper.[13]

Due to financial losses, the paper's parent company Advance Publications announced on July 31, 2008, that it would sell the Star-Ledger unless 200 non-union staff voluntarily left under a buyout offer, and its unionized truck drivers and mailers agreed to concessions.[14] On September 16, publisher George Arwady sent employees an email saying that management felt progress had been made on the buyout and concessions from the mailers, but that management is "far from an agreement with the Drivers' union.".[15] The email continued:[15]

Since it is doubtful that the Drivers will ratify an agreement by October 8, 2008, we will be sending formal notices to all employees this week, as required by both federal and New Jersey law, advising you that the Company will be sold, or, failing that, that it will close operations on January 5, 2009.

On October 24, 2008, the newspaper announced that 168 newsroom employees had offered to take the company's buyout offer, and that the company had accepted 151 of them, which resulted in a 40% reduction in newsroom staff.[16]

On January 16, 2013, the newspaper announced the layoffs of 34 employees including 18 newsroom staff.[17]

The Newark headquarters of the Star-Ledger, home to the state's largest newspaper for nearly 50 years, was sold to a New York developer in July 2014, according to a news article released by the paper.[18]

The Star-Ledger, which Vezza said will continue to be published seven days a week, will retain a presence in Newark in leased office space located within the downtown Gateway Center complex, where the publisher, the newspaper's editorial board, its columnists, its magazine staff and a handful of other jobs will be based. Advance Publications, the owner of the newspaper, launched a new media company — NJ Advance Media — in 2014 to provide content, advertising and marketing services for its online presence at, and many of its New Jersey newspapers out of the offices in Woodbridge.[19] The sales and marketing staffs moved to Woodbridge in June 2014.




Executive editors

In October 2009, managing editor Kevin Whitmer took over as editor.[22] After Whitmer left in September 2015, Richard Vezza assumed the position as editor.[23][24]

Prior to Whitmer, James Willse manned the helm from 1995. He was appointed following the retirement of 32-year veteran editor Mort Pye. Willse was the former editor and publisher of the New York Daily News. Prior to accepting the Ledger's editorship, Willse headed the review of electronic information options for all Newhouse newspapers. He also expanded the Ledger' use of color and encouraged a more aggressive editorial team. The National Press Foundation named Willse its 1999 recipient of the George Beveridge Editor of the Year Award in recognition of Ledger's coverage of racial profiling by the New Jersey State Police.[25]

  • The Star-Ledger was featured prominently various times in the hit television series The Sopranos, an HBO drama series set in New Jersey. Tony Soprano received home delivery of the paper, and several episodes opened with him picking it up at the end of his driveway.
    • The Sopranos creator David Chase credited a Star-Ledger story by journalist Guy Sterling with inspiring the theme for the series’ fifth season.[26]
  • The Star-Ledger serves as the inspiration for a fictional newspaper in an award-winning series of mystery novels by Brad Parks.
  • The newspaper was referenced by comedian George Carlin in the 2004 comedy-drama Jersey Girl, which was written and directed by New Jersey native Kevin Smith.
  • The Star-Ledger was also featured in Robert Kurson's 2004 novel Shadow Divers.
  • The Star-Ledger was featured in the 2021 Showtime series Yellowjackets.

See also


  1. "How to contact The Star-Ledger". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  2. Tofel, Richard (January 20, 2016). "The sky is falling on print newspapers faster than you think". Medium. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  3. "State of the News Media". Pew Research Center.
  4. Member Newspapers - Dailies, New Jersey Press Association; Star-Ledger data from Editor & Publisher April 2007 article.
  5. "Star-Ledger HQ on block". New York Post. July 5, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  6. Sherman, Ted (December 5, 2013). "Owners of Star-Ledger, and sister newspapers studying possible consolidations". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2013-12-07.
  7. Nuzzi, Olivia (April 4, 2014). "Inside the Massacre at the Newark Star-Ledger, The Paper That Makes Chris Christie Squirm". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  8. "About Star-ledger. [volume] (Newark, N.J.) 1964-current". Library of Congress. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  9. Mackin, Tom (August 30, 1981). "THE NEWARK NEWS: IN MEMORIAM". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  10. Sachsman, David B.; Sloat, Warren (2014). The Press and the Suburbs. Transaction Publishers. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-4128-5193-0. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  11. "The 2005 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Breaking News Reporting: Staff of The Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  12. Kratch, James (February 11, 2013). "Wrestling: The history of The Star-Ledger Trophy". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  13. "Larry McDermott, publisher of The Republican, announces retirement; to be replaced by Newark Star-Ledger publisher George Arwady". The Republican. Springfield, Massachusetts. December 15, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  14. Chambers, Steven (August 1, 2008). "The Star-Ledger announces large-scale buyout offer". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  15. Strupp, Joe (September 2008). "'Star-Ledger' Publisher Threatens January 2009 Shutdown". Editor & Publisher. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008.
  16. "Official: 40% of 'Star-Ledger' Newsroom Exiting". Editor & Publisher. October 24, 2008. Archived from the original on October 27, 2008.
  17. "Star-Ledger axing 34 employees". WCBS-TV News. Associated Press. January 16, 2013.
  18. "Newark headquarters of Star-Ledger sold to New York real estate development firm". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  19. Mueller, Mark (March 28, 2014). "Advance Publications forms new unit". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  20. "Advance Publications, Inc.: Private Company Information". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  21. Yu, Roger (June 27, 2013). "Future of some major newspapers about to change". USA Today. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  22. "Star-Ledger Editor Jim Willse announces retirement, names successor". Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  23. "Kevin Whitmner". Linkedin. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  24. "Administration". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  25. "Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award". National Press Foundation. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  26. "Jersey cases inspire new 'Sopranos' season". The Star-Ledger. January 9, 2003. Archived from the original on March 13, 2009. Retrieved 2016-08-10.

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