Keri Ann Flaccomio
writing & communications portfolio
The Record & Herald News
"Passaic still feeling the impact of 1985 fire"
Sunday, September 5, 2010 - The Record
This piece was an enterprise story that I worked on over the course of a month, while also covering regular news. I used online resources and company archives to conduct initial research on one of New Jersey's most devastating fires, and worked closely with my editor to build a foundation for its 25th anniversary—one that would take longtime locals back to 1985, while also attracting readers with little to no knowledge of the infamous Eighth Street blaze and its impact on the City of Passaic. I had the opportunity to interview former and current public figures and several eyewitnesses. I also visited the Passaic Fire Department and the Eighth Street property as it stood in 2010. Gathering maps, photos and video footage from members of the department, I worked with others on staff to create a story package for print and online media.
"Remembering Jessica Gelok; West Milford foundation plans fundraiser"
Monday, August 23, 2010 - The Record
The final words I wrote as an intern for The Record and Herald News were those in the last line of this story. My assignment was to cover an annual fundraiser benefiting the late Jessica Gelok, who was struck and killed in an auto accident while walking along an unlit stretch of Route 23 in 2008. I was asked to look back into the accident and research what preventative measures local authorities had since taken to prevent further pedestrian incidents. This original angle fell up short, but in talking with Gelok's father and close family friends, I found a much more telling story in their efforts to keep her memory and her work alive, turning their loss into something positive. It was a truly challenging experience learning how to cover a tragedy, but also an extremely rewarding one. After the story was printed, I received thanks from Gelok's friend Rolanda Hossack, featured in the story.
"Lautenberg tour hears cheers for fed aid to schools, Jersey cuisine"
Friday, August 6, 2010 - The Record
When U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg visited North Jersey to promote federal funding for education and celebrate local culture, I was chosen to cover his appearances. To hear Lautenberg speak at a press conference, I traveled back to my alma mater, Paramus High School, where I first began my studies in communications. It made it all the more rewarding to listen to the Senator push for the support of thousands of public school teachers and employees as a priority over politics. While gathering audio material and speaking with Bergen County representatives, I gained experience in remaining professional and objective while reporting in my own community. Following the press conference, I was able to interview Senator Lautenberg one-on-one at the Clifton Farmer's Market, where he interacted with interns and staff from City Green, a nonprofit organization working to bring environmental education to urban youth.
North Jersey Media Group
"Jungle Habitat reopens with precautions in place"
Thursday, July 1, 2010 - Herald News
Following the search for a mother bear involved in a West Milford hiker attack, I interviewed a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection. I reported on the reopening of the Jungle Habitat site, the plan to capture and euthanize the Category 1 bear and its effect on the local community. I later wrote a follow-up story when the bear was apprehended and killed as a result of the incident.
"WPU debuts first leg of science expansion"
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Earning my own byline for the first time as an intern at The Record and Herald News, I covered the Phase One unveiling of William Paterson University's new Science Annex. After reviewing press materials and interviewing WPU's dean of the College of Science and Health, I reported on the new research labs, state-of-the-art equipment and design to promote collaboration between students and faculty members for hands-on mentorship experiences.
"Flaccomio: Keep Bergen blue"
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - The Record
While enrolled in a Writing for Publication course at Ramapo College of New Jersey in 2010, I was required to research news articles to find a topic or cause, write an op-ed piece in response, and then submit it for publication. I chose to write in favor of the Bergen County "blue laws" and to submit my work to The Record. My piece was chosen for publication on the "Other Views" page, and received various letters to the editor in print. With the submission of this writing sample less than two months later, I was accepted into into The Record's 17th Annual Diversity in Journalism Workshop. A few weeks after completing the workshop, I accepted an internship offer working in news as a general assignment reporter for The Record's Passaic edition.
"Cops to target drunken driving with checkpoints, public info campaign"
Thursday, August 12, 2010 - The Record
The problem of drunken driving is in for special attention by police in the last vacation weeks leading up to Labor Day. Law enforcement officers will use high visibility and public education as part of the summer’s 2010 “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” campaign to avert any more road tragedies resulting from drunk driving.
"Ramadan is a month of fasting and self discovery"
Thursday, August 12, 2010 - The Record (with Deena Yellin)
Osman Turan of Franklin Park will shoot hoops, Ammar Charaf of Teaneck hopes to kick a goal or two in a soccer match, and Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin will work 13 hours straight, business as usual. A monthlong fast isn't going to bring any of them down. On the contrary, the three men say Ramadan is uplifting, teaching discipline and perseverance.
"Football player heals as alleged attacker is arraigned"
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 - The Record (with John Petrick)
A 19-year-old former Manchester Regional High School football player is expected to recover in time for his first semester at Lackawanna College after suffering stab wounds during a July 26 fracas in Clifton's Nash Park.
"Space Port in Center City closes"
Saturday, July 31, 2010 - The Record
Space Port, Center City's exclusive members-only entertainment venue, closed its doors Friday in a landlord-tenant dispute. The state-of-the-art venue — a two-level, 32,000-square-foot space — occupies one-tenth of the floor space in Center City Mall. The owners of Space Port say they have packed up and are in the process of relocating nearby.
"Fewer rangers at state parks"
Monday, July 5, 2010 - The Record (with Maggie Astor)
As they greet the summer rush, North Jersey's rugged state parks feature fewer rangers and hit-and-miss cellphone reception. And, as always, park visitors are urged to stay vigilant for bears. State Park Police say they're capable and ready to ensure the safety of swarms of hikers, bikers, picnickers and day-trippers. Budget cutting in Trenton has taken its toll on the 56 state parks and recreation areas, which welcome 17 million to 18 million visitors a year.
"State captures, kills mother bear blamed in West Milford hiker attack"
Friday, July 2, 2010 - The Record
State wildlife staff have captured and euthanized a female bear that had rushed a hiker and his dog in the former Jungle Habitat site late last month. Meanwhile, officials have reopened the area, which had been closed off while the weeklong search for the bear continued. The search also had prompted a week’s postponement of West Milford’s annual gala Thunder in the Highlands fireworks display at the site...
"Seniors to feel budget crunch soon"
Monday, June 28, 2010 - The Record (with Richard Cowen)
It won't take long for senior citizens to begin feeling the effects of deep cuts in the state budget, which is scheduled for adoption today. There will be no free lunch or free rides for seniors or the disabled in the city of Passaic this Friday. The city government plans to shut down for the first of six furlough days to make up for a loss in state aid, interrupting services for the elderly and the disabled at the start of the long holiday weekend.
"New Jersey budget woes threaten urban enterprise program"
Friday, June 18, 2010 - The Record (with Richard Cowen)
The Latin beats pumping out of Maria Figueroa's corner store on Monroe Street in Passaic should be sweet music to city officials. "In August I will be in business here for 25 years," she says proudly, standing in front of a CD rack loaded with Latino artists. Most of the time, she says, "I've been here 10 hours a day, seven days a week." One reason that Grand Video and Music has survived all these years is Figueroa's willingness to work those long hours. Another is that her business is in the city's Urban Enterprise Zone — which allows her to charge customers half the state's 7 percent sales tax. But New Jersey's fiscal crisis is threatening to take those dollars from Passaic, North Bergen and the other 30 enterprise zones located around the state, including in Paterson. Governor Christie wants to take an estimated $91 million in sales tax revenue generated by UEZs to plug a hole in the fiscal year 2011 budget, effectively gutting local programs.
"Pay more attention to pomp"
Wednesday, June 9, 2010 - The Record
As a participant in The Record's 17th Annual Diversity in Journalism Workshop, I was asked—along with my peers—to write an editorial on a relevant topic. Then approaching my senior year at Ramapo College, I chose to write about the school's 2010 graduation ceremony. Although a graduation committee worked hard to plan the commencement, some students decided to leave or move around campus throughout the program. My editorial was one of three chosen for publication in The Record; it also led to an internship with North Jersey Media Group. Soon after the article became available online and in print, I received a letter from the Office of the President at Ramapo thanking me for voicing an interest, and inviting me to join the 2011 Commencement Committee. The group worked to address concerns from the prior year's ceremony, resulting in targeted changes to the program and a significantly higher attendance at the conclusion of the 2011 address. If I had the chance to edit this story now, I would focus more on the tremendous efforts of those who plan the commencement exercises and look to include additional student and staff perspectives.