The Needham Observer is a free, independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) news service founded and operated by a volunteer group of journalists and engaged community members.
Our mission is to provide timely information, interesting features and a variety of perspectives that represent the breadth of our community. Our vision is to reflect Needham back to itself in a way that fosters and expands connections across all segments of town. We are committed to diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging in what we cover, and in how and with whom we work.
Peter O’Neil, Executive Editor
A former reporter for the Westfield Evening News and the Malden Evening News before working in communications positions for UMass and the Department of Environmental Management and as senior researcher with an institutional investment firm. Peter is a 30-year resident and past chair of the Needham SEPAC.
Frederica Lalonde, Managing Editor
A former writer/editor for several specialized magazines and newspapers before focusing on her role as mother to five sons in the Needham schools, Fred is a 19-year resident and active volunteer for school and town organizations.
Jeanne Hopkins, Executive Director
A former radio reporter, public information director for UMass/Amherst and VP of Communications & Government Relations for public media producer (W)GBH, Jeanne is 30-year resident and former member of the Charles River Y Board of Advisors.
Georgina Arrieta-Ruetenik, Photographer
Bob Clark, Copy Editor
Nick King, Editorial Advisor
Keith LaFace, Director of Technology
David Vergara, Art Director
Bob Baker is a retired educator and curriculum writer
Daniel Barbarisi is a senior editor at The Athletic and a non-fiction author
Linda Polach is an award-winning broadcast producer and content creator
Board of Directors
The Needham Observer is a 501(c)(3) organization guided by a Board of Directors comprised of Needham residents:
Robert A. Bertsche is a media and First Amendment lawyer with the Boston office of Klaris Law PLLC. A former newspaper and magazine editor, he is general counsel to the New England Newspaper and Press Association. He has lived in Needham with his wife Lynn (and two sons who have flown the coop) since 1991.
Rinaz Mala Mohamed is a Syrian immigrant who has made her home in Needham since 2017. She is a senior underwriter with Transamerica. Passionate about fostering diversity she is a member of the immigration justice task force, served as lead planner of the first Needham Multicultural Festival and volunteers with the International Institute of New England.
Mark Maremont is a longtime Needham resident and a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist. He currently serves as a Senior Editor at The Wall Street Journal, where he writes about business, finance and politics. He and his wife Emily have three daughters who are proud graduates of Needham High.
James L. McQuivey, Ph.D is an advisor to national media and technology organizations as VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester. He and his wife Megan, a teacher at Mitchell Elementary school, moved to Needham in 1998 and have lived in the same home ever since, delighted that they landed in such a wonderful, vibrant community.
Karen Price is vice president of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts and former president of the LWV of Needham. She served six years on the Needham School Committee and is a 26-year Town Meeting Member. Prior to retirement she was Director of Scientific Administration for the International Breast Cancer Study Group.
Colleen Schaller is chair of the board of the Council on Aging and is a former member of the Select Board and School committee. She is past president and current board member of the Needham History Center & Museum and a member of the Exchange Club. She has been a Needham resident since 1963.
Ethics and Practices Policies
The Needham Observer subscribes to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News:
The Needham Observer retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and all sources of revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions. Our news decisions are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.
The Needham Observer may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains complete editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.
Corrections and Clarifications
The Needham Observer strives for accuracy, but in the event of a factual error or incomplete context, the Needham Observer will correct or clarify a story and note that such a correction or clarification has been added to the original article.
Donor and Financial Policy
The Needham Observer is committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions.
We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals, organizations and foundations to help with our general operations and news coverage. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates as a public trust, we do not pay certain taxes. We may receive funds from standard government programs offered to nonprofits or similar businesses.
Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors or any revenue source. We do not give supporters the rights to assign, review or edit content.
We make public all revenue sources and donors who give $5,000 or more per year. As a news nonprofit, we do not accept charitable donations from government entities, political parties or candidates seeking public office. We will not accept donations from sources who, deemed by our board of directors, present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.
We will accept anonymous donations for general support only if it is clear that sufficient safeguards have been put into place that the expenditure of that donation is made independently by our organization and in compliance with INN’s Membership Standards.
Conflict of Interest
Any potential conflict of interest by a Director, staff member or freelance contributor must be immediately disclosed to the Board of Directors, who shall promptly determine the appropriate course of action. Conflicts of interest include any financial relationship between the subject of any news article or editorial and a member of the Board of Directors or staff.
The Observer may not engage in activities that benefit or are perceived to benefit the private interest of a member of the Board of Directors or employee. Each Director and staff member must give undivided allegiance when making decisions affecting the organization and are not permitted to act in a way that is inconsistent with the purposes of the organization and its nonprofit status.
The Board of Directors will be responsible for determining whether any activities are in violation of its policies and what actions must be taken to remedy any discrepancies or violations.
The Needham Observer is grateful for the generosity of founding benefactor David E. Long.