About The Observer

General Manager Robert Pezzolla
General Manager Robert Pezzolla

The Observer newspaper, a 128-year tradition in West Hudson County, celebrates more than a decade of new management. With this milestone, President Mary Tortoreti and General Manager Bob Pezzolla invite the community to keep this family-owned and operated venture flourishing, much the way the public supported the original owners at the turn of the century.

Since June 2002, an abundance of changes have occurred, on the pages of the newspaper, online and behind the scenes in the office.

Our seasoned editorial staff represents more than 100 years of newspaper experience. In addition to regular staff writers, the newspaper, in recent times, has brought several new features to the table.

Additionally, we’ve incorporated state-of-the-art equipment into the production of the newspaper. Computers, a digital printing process, and an aggressive sales staff are working hard to keep this publication as a must-read for all of the community.

Lastly, we want everyone to know that our doors are always open and we are here to serve our readership in Kearny, Harrison, East Newark, North Arlington, Lyndhurst, Belleville, Nutley and Bloomfield.


Meet our editorial staff

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Ron Leir

Ron Leir has been a newspaperman since the late ’60s, starting his career with The Jersey Journal, having served as a summer reporter during college. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working mostly as a general assignment reporter in all areas except sports, including a 3-year stint as an assistant editor for entertainment, features, religion, etc.

He retired from the JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer shortly thereafter.

He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with the Kearny-based W.H.A.T. Co. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, N.Y.


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Kevin Canessa Jr.

Kevin Canessa Jr. is the webmaster of TheObserver.com and is also a correspondent, positions he’s held since 2011. Prior to that, he was the editor of The Observer from 2006 to 2008. He’s also served stints with The Jersey Journal, The Bloomfield Independent Press [managing editor], DiversityInc.com and DiversityInc magazine [managing editor] and with Elauwit Media in South Jersey, where he was managing editor of 15 weekly newspapers.

From 1998 to 2005, Canessa was a teacher in the Archdiocese of Newark. From 1998 to 2002, he was the campus minister, teacher and PA announcer for boys basketball at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City [under legendary coach Bob Hurley Sr.] After St. Anthony’s, he taught until 2005 and was campus minister at Oratory Preparatory School in Summit.

Kevin is a 1992 graduate of St. Peter’s Prep and a 1997 graduate of Salve Regina University, Newport, R.I., where he got his bachelor’s degree in journalism and an associate’s degree in the administration of justice. He’s a huge fan of the New Jersey Devils and the New York Mets — and was, for a time, a producer for The Sid Rosenberg Show [Sid, formerly a sports-talk host at WFAN and sports reporter for Imus in the Morning, is currently at WMEN Miami]. He’s been the webmaster of Rosenberg’s website, www.sidrosenberg.co since 2008 and he also co-hosted a sports and politics show for a year with Rosenberg on the now-defunct Shovio Broadcasting Network.

Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny from 1985 to 2004 and currently resides in Port St. Lucie, Fla. — yes, that Port St. Lucie, the spring home of the New York Mets.


Jim Hague
Jim Hague

Sports Writer Jim Hague has been with The Observer for 13 years now — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”


The Observer is also very fortunate to have on staff award-winning journalist Karen Zautyk.


Coming soon: Profiles on our graphic artist Michelle Rybeck and long-time copywriter Melissa Bastek.