Joe Hart spent the last four years at the Jersey Shore as an online editor/reporter for the Cape May County Herald, a free weekly community newspaper serving your favorite shore points from Ocean City to Cape May Point.
As a reporter, Joe covered the Wildwoods, Sea Isle City and the county seat in Cape May Court House. He wrote stories on everything from courts to sports and everywhere in between. As online editor, Joe managed the Herald's website and social media presence, growing CapeMayCountyHerald.com into the premier news site in the county.
While at the Herald, Joe was selected to participate in the Society of Professional Journalist's Reporters Institute, an annual fellowship held at the prestigious Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Having grown up in Northeast Philly, Joe leapt at the opportunity to serve as editor of Bensalem.Patch.com, where he will be right next door to family and friends. He hopes to bring the Bensalem community a new level of professional, community journalism that they haven't had before now.
Joe attended Cardinal Dougherty High School (gone but not forgotten) and has a B.A. in English from LaSalle University. Go Explorers!
Joe is a big Philadelphia sports fan, especially the Phillies. He can't believe the Phils just signed Cliff Lee again. With four legitimate aces, they're going to be tough to beat.
When he's not watching the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers or Sixers, Joe is either working, reading or spending time with his two boys — Liam, 12, and Aidan, 7.
Joe will be working on stories at his new home in Andalusia and out-and-about throughout Bensalem. If you see him in the library or in a coffee shop (he'll be the big guy banging away on a silver MacBook with a green Patch sticker), make sure you say hello.
At Patch, we promise always to report the facts as objectively as possible and otherwise adhere to the principles of good journalism. However, we also acknowledge that true impartiality is impossible and human beings have beliefs.
So in the spirit of simple honesty, our policy is to encourage our editors to reveal certain key beliefs to the extent they feel comfortable.
This disclosure is not a license for our editors to inject these beliefs into stories or to dictate coverage according to them. In fact, the intent is the opposite: we hope that the knowledge that our beliefs are on the record will force us to be ever mindful to write, report, and edit in a fair, balanced way. And if you, the user, ever think you see evidence that we failed in this mission, we wholeheartedly invite you to let us know.
* How would you describe your political beliefs?
I'm not a true Democrat or a true Republican. I think they both have good and bad beliefs and policies. Here's what I really believe: if two people are running for an important elected office, the smarter of the two should be elected whatever their party.
* How religious would you say you are? Casual, observant, devout, non-religious?
I was raised Roman Catholic and went through Catholic grade school, high school and college. I'm not a regular churchgoer, but when I do go, I always feel better afterwards. In short, I try to be a nice guy and strive to treat other people with respect and charity. I hope God takes that into consideration when the time comes.
Local Hot Button Issues
* What do you think are the two or three most important issues facing the community? Where do you stand on each of these issues?
Since I'm just now replanting myself in the area, I'm sure I'll learn the real hot-button issues soon.
From what I've been reading, Bensalem is in better shape than some other towns regarding municipal finances in the ongoing economic downturn, but it is struggling somewhat. As with other local governments throughout the country, it is always a challenge to balance property taxes with the residents' expectations for services.
There are also issues surrounding the Parx Casino and Racetrack. From individuals gambling while their children sit alone in parked cars to how the township plans to spend its casino revenue, I think there will be a lot of interest in news from Parx.
If you have any news tips or story ideas, please contact me at joe.hart@ patch.com or at (215) 605-5984.