CEO, Publisher, Franchise Owner - Bobbie Peer wears many hats to manage her TAPinto Berkeley Heights, TAPinto New Providence, and TAPinto Mountainside publications. What is TAPinto, you ask? Founded in 2008, TAPinto is a hyperlocal, franchised online news source providing daily news to communities across New York and New Jersey. With content targeted specifically at these local communities, the TAPinto team strives to provide objective, relevant news to its growing readership. Bobbie’s story is the latest in our “When Human Capital Management Meets Inspiration” series.
Bobbie came onboard with TAPinto in 2013 following a successful career working as a corporate insurance broker in New York City. With four kids at home, when re-entering the workforce she felt it was time for a change - which meant a shift from the city to the suburbs, from the corporate world to the reporting world. Journalism may seem like a big jump, but Bobbie’s background in marketing with the Alternative Press and her passion for storytelling spurred her to join the TAPinto family and publish the news the community needs to know.
A day in the life of Bobbie Peer probably looks familiar to anyone who has experienced that phenomenon of work blending with life. Although she is a “stay-at-home” mom, Bobbie can be found working 24/7 to push out the important stories - in her words, “the things I should be reporting on anyway.” Life doesn’t stop, so she never shuts off her work. The job allows for a lot of flexibility though, which Bobbie loves because it allows her to balance all the other aspects of her life. From her son’s concerts to her daughter’s soccer games and everything in between, Bobbie gets to be present for all of her children’s crucial milestone events.
I was curious about how news source businesses are run - and in particular, how an “alternative press” source makes its mark among standard newspapers and more corporate local news competitors. Being in the Human Capital Management (HCM) industry, I’m more familiar with things like payroll, human resources, and compliance - but I do know that no matter what industry you’re in, it’s your employees that make the success of your organization possible. Without the right talent, how could TAPinto have achieved the respected presence they have today? So, I asked Bobbie who makes up her team, what exactly does she do, and what do they do? As it turns out, Bobbie’s team is comprised of corporate editors and freelance writers who create the content that enriches the TAPinto sites every day. Bobbie assigns relevant and timely local topics to her writers, ranging from sporting games to government meetings to community events. They write about it and then her editors edit - but they leave the publishing and sales to Bobbie. Makes sense!
Bobbie is passionate about covering “the story of the time” and really trying to reach people. So it’s not too much of a surprise that her favorite topic to cover - which conveniently fits well into her audience’s interests - is the “human interest-side” of people. She told me about a piece she recently published, continuing the coverage of a story about a local school teacher who was recovering from cancer. While initially, TAPinto had published a piece on the community’s incredibly supportive initiatives to help this teacher, Bobbie recently shared a piece she wrote about the teacher’s journey to feeling like herself again. This really inspired me. I think it’s really important to tell the stories of others, when they may not do it themselves when it is deserved (kind of like what I do here). Seems like Bobbie and I have that in common.
A challenge that Bobbie faces is, as you can imagine, maintaining her integrity in publishing objective news stories. There are two sides to every story - but when people talk to Bobbie, they wholeheartedly believe in what they are saying. As she puts it, “there’s a lot of passion in town.” Bobbie tries to tell both sides of every story as objectively as possible, especially when writing about a more controversial topic, and she always stands by what she reports one hundred percent. In the journalism industry, Bobbie’s steady integrity goes by the name of journalistic objectivity (it only took me a couple of minutes of Google searching to stumble upon this term).
After so many hours of meticulous research and work go into each and every story, the biggest reward for Bobbie is when her readership recognizes her work. For many people in Berkeley Heights and the surrounding towns, TAPinto has become their primary news source. So hearing the phrase, “I love TAPinto!” makes all the work worth it for her. And it’s all about the support. Bobbie is extremely grateful that the whole town is so receptive of what she does - from teachers to coaches to students and their parents, there’s something for everyone to love at TAPinto.
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that Bobbie’s involvement in the community extends beyond her TAPinto work. Bobbie also happens to be an originator of the annual Berkeley Heights Winter Walk, a December event focused on local businesses. Started two years ago by a handful of business owners in Berkeley Heights, the Winter Walk brings together all of the local businesses into downtown Berkeley Heights at the same time as the tree lighting. Businesses contribute to the event as sponsors or by hosting their own attraction that visitors can partake in. This past year, The Connell Company (who happens to be the building host of our office at Connell Corporate Park in Berkeley Heights) along with Embassy Suites and Grain and Cane restaurant were the presenting sponsor of the event. This event is a great way not just for the community to get to know its local businesses, but also for businesses to meet businesses. From its impressive inaugural attendance of 2,000 people in 2015, the Winter Walk has more than doubled in popularity, with over 5,000 attendees this past December 2016! Bobbie describes the event as a real “Norman Rockwell moment.” Like her TAPinto efforts, Bobbie’s work with the Winter Walk helps to fulfill her goals of bringing the community together.
If you’re looking for a reliable, objective and fun news source, then check out your local TAPinto. You won’t be disappointed!
Inspired? Check out the rest of our "When Human Capital Management Meets Inspiration" series here!
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