I am coming to grips with the fact that I no longer work with former Managing Editor Al Campbell. Al and I have labored together for over 40 years, and especially closely these last dozen years, since our former editor, Joe Zelnik, departed.
I have taken immense pleasure in working with Al. Former Cape May County Administrator Steve O’Conner once told me that I had the best job in Cape May County; I'd never thought of it, but I must say, it is challenging and rewarding.
Given the chance to work with Al - with his passion to serve the community - has added to my appreciation of my good fortune.
As an ex-Navy man, Al had seen the worldly side of life. While he had those experiences to draw from in confronting the world as it is, he used it to deepen his faith in God.
He told me he'd seen enough of life to have concluded that the Lord’s promises are true, and when you do things His way, things do turn out in the end.
Al dedicated himself to being the best newspaperman and photographer he could be. Despite myriad difficulties and the inevitable troubles life throws at people, Al could always be counted on to remain steady, reliable, applied and upbeat.
People ask, "What’s wrong with newspapers? Why are so many in decline? Why is the Herald thriving when others don’t?"
That is not a difficult question to answer. As Walter Lippmann once said, “A good community newspaper is a community in conversation with itself.” Who better to lead the conversations than a man who grew up in that community, as Al did.
As the Herald managing editor, Al knew the county and its people. In a changing world, some things don’t vary; basic human needs don’t vary. One such human need is constructive interaction with his neighbors, however that interaction takes place – in person, via newsprint or a screen.
A component of that communication for those in charge of the newspaper is not to forget its role. Al never overlooked his place in directing the conversation, that is, letting everyone’s voice be heard, and every point of view be respectfully honored. Don’t allow labels; have criticism be directed at the merit of an idea, not at the person holding the idea. In this way, Al conducted his work with respect for the people he served and the principals he believed in.
Al is the salt of the earth, and we at the Herald are grateful to have had him as our managing editor for over a decade. Well done, good and faithful servant of the Cape May County community.