BERKELEY – The only way to truly eulogize a reporter is to write an article about them.
Patricia A. Miller was the name behind a lot of articles that you might have read from the last few decades. If it was about the slog of trying to recover from Superstorm Sandy, there’s a good chance it had her byline. Two other favorite topics were lifting up people who needed help and tearing down corrupt politicians.
She passed away recently, and when the news broke, it was followed by a wave of condolences from people with long roots in the communities she covered.
She and I would talk about how negative people could be on social media. I think it would surprise her to see the warm things people said about her.
Her niece reached out to share a little bit about her: “Pat Miller had a kind heart and an enormous love of animals. She loved writing and being part of her community. She is survived by her brother John Miller and wife Darlene, and niece Erin Miller.”
We at Micromedia didn’t get the chance to work with her long. She started her career at the Asbury Park Press in 1984. In addition to her beat, she wrote a weekly column “Ocean Diary.” She spent seven years at Greater Media Newspapers and served as managing editor of the Edison/Metuchen Sentinel, the Woodbridge Sentinel and the Brick Township Bulletin. She spent eight years as a Patch editor.
It was during this time that we used to cover Berkeley together, and that’s how we got to know each other. She kept trying to steal me away, but I had a good thing going with Micromedia. When she got lost in a Patch reshuffling, I scooped her up.
I knew she was dependable, honest, and cared about the community. We get into this business because of compassion, and Pat’s heart was as big as they come.
She was drawn to underdogs. If someone was fighting insurmountable odds, she was their cheerleader. She celebrated volunteers.
And speaking of underdogs, she had a soft spot for pets. I took inspiration from this, and it’s why I post pets up for adoption in our papers from time to time.
Pat knew what to write, and she knew what not to write (that’s an important skill they don’t teach you in journalism school).
She won a number of awards during her time as a journalist, including the New Jersey Press Association, the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists and the North Jersey Press Club.
Her fairness earned her respect from elected officials. If a politician didn’t like her, that politician was probably up to no good. Upon hearing of her passing, former Senator Andrew Ciesla even commented “Sorry to learn of her passing. Pat covered a lot of my public life and always did a very nice job. May God bless her soul.”
Her tight connections to the community showed in her writing. For her, reporting was personal. And that’s why I set out to write about the one topic she never wrote about – herself.
Thank you, Pat, for all your help and all your heart.