Personal Column

Nicholas Polanin
Associate Professor
Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension
Somerset County

~~Despite the onset of the digital age, residents and Extension clientele continue to rely on daily newspapers, even as many audiences continue their transition to online sources.  To reach readers of both printed and online news articles, The Gardener State weekly column was launched in June of 2008 and continues to this day.  Published in the Thursday ‘Home and Garden’ section of the Gannett papers The Home News and Tribune and The Courier News, these articles broaden Extension’s educational and outreach efforts well beyond central New Jersey.  While printed daily distribution totals approximately 300,000 households, this column is also placed online at the Gannett website,, available for viewing during the publication month.  Topics are seasonal in nature and emphasize local events, organizations, research, and activities related to horticulture, gardening, and the environment – not just another weekly “how-to” gardening column.  Beginning in 2009, fifty-two (52) articles are published annually.  Selected topics include landscape photography workshops and juried shows; community farmer’s markets; National Trails Day; Master Gardener classes and Garden Helplines; county 4-H Fairs, and choose and cut or PYO operations.  The author has sole responsibility for the weekly topic, title, related photographs, and meeting weekly deadlines.  Press releases are also incorporated into the column.  The column is digitally produced in MSWord and submitted via email, along with JPG images of at least 1 MG in size formatted for publication with Microsoft Office Picture Manager Software.  Article highlights in numbered format are included for online formatting by Gannett.