The hardest part about writing this column is that I can’t send it to Kevin Whitmer for an edit. For the past 23 years, whether I was firing off a simple rant after a Giants loss or crafting a 5,000-word feature on a COVID-19 survivor, he has been the first stop when I needed, well, anything.
“You’ll produce hundreds of pieces of content a year, but the average reader will judge you on just five of them: The four that are the most impactful to everyone, and the one that’s about them,” he would say. “Make sure those are your best.”
And 18-year-old me began the adventure of a lifetime, an odyssey that has lasted 36 incredible years, most of them right here in New Jersey. Very early in that journey I met my wife in a newsroom. I also had the chance to work with and be taught by the best journalists in the country. We shaped the first draft of history on the stories of my generation — OJ, 9/11, Sandy, Covid — and put our hands on work that has won every award that matters in our industry.
Whitmer served as the top editor at The Star-Ledger and NJ.com from 2009-2021 before founding Whitmer Consulting with his wife, Regina. Whitmer’s career in daily journalism spanned 36 years — 30 of them in New Jersey. Most recently, he served as Advance Local’s lead editor in New Jersey, responsible for all content on NJ.com. When he retired from daily journalism at the end of 2021, NJ.com was averaging 21 million unique visitors a month, easily making it one of the largest local news and information sites in the country.