The Rise from Editor of The Campus Slate to Cable TV

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Many people have their own ways of defining journalism. Kevin Horton’s is concise: “We simply hold a mirror up to the community.”
 
During the past 20 years, the 1991 NYIT graduate has worked as a journalist in the New York metro area, in cities across the country, and at news organizations in Russia, Spain, Greece, Sweden and Israel. Unlike many journalists, Mr. Horton’s experiences took him down a different path when he started his own publication “The Gold Coast Gazette”, a weekly newspaper covering the North Shore of Long Island, which he did soon after graduating from New York Institute of Technology in May 1991 with a B.S. in Communication Arts. Mr. Horton had transferred from Nassau Community College, where he studied acting, to NYIT in the late 80‘s.

It was here, when he joined NYIT’s school newspaper, the Campus Slate that his love for journalism began. Under his watch, the paper won a number of awards leading to Horton being presented with the prestigious Presidential Service Award on graduation.
 
“As editor of the Gold Coast Gazette, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many interesting people,” said Mr. Horton, who also mentors over 50 interns and students. Kevin Horton has most recently helped in the production of his children’s elementary school, All Saints Regional, student newspaper and taught a class in Journalism. He is a member of the Long Island Press Association and the New York Press Association. His newest endeavor is to bring his experiences with the many entrepreneurs to the small screen, on his new public access cable TV show “Kevin’s Corner,” which premiered last month.

Recently, The Campus Slate interviewed the former editor-in-chief, two decades after his graduation, and on the occasion of his latest venture. As he looked back 20 years to his graduation from NYIT, Mr. Horton said that, despite many technological changes, twenty years later the world is much the same. In 1991, he points out, America was in a recession much as it is today. In recent years, Mr. Horton has been on a mission to open a new chapter in his life. As for Kevin of 1991, he was doing much the same; getting ready to step out on his own into what must have seemed like a world of uncertainty. Making the decision to start his own publication was a bit risky but for Kevin it was nothing to fear, he had a plan. He still does.

Q: How has NYIT propelled you to be in the position your are in now?
A: I was editor of the school newspaper, the Campus Slate for three years. Freshman year reporter.Sophomore, Junior to Graduation- 3 years, Editor in chief. I was a communication arts major and initially wanted to go into television for camera work. But when I got onto the slate newspaper business sort of got into my blood. My mother had had a monthly newspaper in the 1970’s when was young. Making Kevin’s Corner TV should be a smooth transition since the newspaper has been a great success and I’ve always thought the stories we’ve been telling would also make a great television show.

Q: What was your First position after leaving NYIT?
A: Upon graduation from NYIT in June of 1991 my mother and I started the first issue of the Gold Coast Gazette in September. We’ve been printing every week ever since.

Q: Can you give me a brief description about the Newspaper you created? Same for the TV show?
A: The newspaper is a weekly newspaper covering the North Shore of Long Island. Hometown news by hometown people. We like to tell the stories that people enjoy knowing about each other. Birth announcements, weddings, birthdays, etc. One of the most cherished features are the “gossip columns” something my mother was famous for. In them were not bad gossip, as some might think, it’s the good gossip, like the birth announcements, children’s accomplishments. Years, and years, later people will say, “Oh yea, I remember when I was in the paper, I still have the clipping.” The “gossip” column I have in the Gazette is called Kevin’s Corner. Kevin’s Corner “TV” is an extension of that, highlighting our local people.

Q: How hard was it to get stated?
A: As I attempted to get financial backers, time and time again, I ask if was crazy for wanting to start up a newspaper business or let alone any type any business in a recession. Being told “No” only got me revved up more and gave me the drive and determination to make it happen. Both my mother and I went to potential advertisers and told them our plans and asked for payment up front to cover the first week… Twenty years later, they have been printed every week since and have grown to be the largest weekly on the North Shore of Long Island with over an 8,000 loyal subscription base. The newspaper is hometown news by hometown people.

Q: What are the kinds of thing you cover in the Gold Coast Gazette, and what do you plan to cover in Kevin’s Corner?
A: “We like to tell the stories that people enjoy knowing about each other: birth announcements, weddings, birthdays, etc. One of the most cherished features are the “gossip columns,” something my mother was famous for. In them were not bad gossip, as some might think, it’s the good gossip, like the birth announcements, and children’s accomplishments. Years, and years later people will say to me, “Oh yeah, I remember when I was in the paper, I still have the clipping.” The “gossip” column in the Gazette is called Kevin’s Corner. Kevin’s Corner “TV.” is an extension of that, highlighting our local people.

Q: So now tell us about Kevin’s Corner, when it started and where it’s going:
A: As long as Cablevision does its part the future of Kevin’s Corner TV looks bright. It’s a weekly show, airing every Friday night at 10pm on Channel 115. It premiered on October 7, 2011. Each half hour show is usually two segments of 15 minutes with different guests. Usually there is a theme, for example on November 4 the show featured Authors… Marylyn Martone with Michele – Marilyn Martone is a recently retired associate professor of moral theology at St. John’s University. Michele shows her remarkable recovery after a horrific car accident when she was a teen. The family was told she would never function again. Marilyn talks about her struggle with the accident and her career. In the second segment we feature NYIT’s own John Hanc, a local author, freelance writer for Newsday, The New York Times, etc. and a runner. So we talked about running and writing.

Q: How have professors at NYIT affected you on a professional level?
A: We had a lot of great professors at NYIT. I especially like the fact that they are not just teachers but true professionals in the field. They aren’t just teaching journalism, but have or are experiencing it, so you can trust the information they are giving.

Q: Are you still involved with NYIT and their staff in your current life?
A: I’ve been keeping in touch with John Hanc. I was also recently at a meeting with NYIT President Dr. Edward Guliano. He was the advisor for the Campus Slate when I was editor in chief. I enjoy giving back to NYIT and participating whenever possible. Last commencement, 2011, I had the opportunity to write a piece for the Campus Slate about the world 20 years after graduation.

Q: Name a professor that had the greatest affect on you while attending NYIT and is now reflected in your work today?
A: Many of the professors were great. Bernie Bard, who was retired from the New York Post was the most colorful. He would have us write leads, saying it was the most important part of a story. He would have us write our leads on the board and then critique them. If he liked it he would shout, “[expletive] beautiful lead!” If he really liked your lead he’d plop a dollar down on your desk. One time he threw his entire wallet at a student!

Q: What inspired you to do Kevin’s Corner TV?
A: Thenewspaper has been a great success and I’ve always thought the stories we’ve been telling would also make a great television show.

Q: What classes at NYIT helped you develop Kevin’s Corner TV?
A:The entire Communication arts department is fantastic. I was involved in the radio station early on and did an internship with Cablevision.

Q-Are you still doing your publication and Kevin’s Corner simultaneously ?
A-Yes, with a great crew in both productions it’s working out well.

Q: How are you dealing with day to day stress with Kevin’s Corner?
A: I have a great crew in both productions that allows me to move simultaneously between projects it’s working out well. I’m actually enjoying the filming. It’s an extension of the Gold Coast Gazette. The features on the guests are usually people I know through the paper and feel they would make great extended stories. My good friend Todd Kopetic has been doing the production and editing of the show. My son Kacey (who is 14) has been helping with filming on the set which is a great thrill for both of us. I’m getting more relaxed with interviewing people… I have to admit my first time I did an interview on camera I was very stressed. It was with Richie and ErenConatta, two accomplished musicians. They were very easy going, it wasn’t that. It was the idea of it before it all started. It was filmed at Cove City Sound Studios, their recording studios located in Glen Cove. As I sat behind a large mixing board and Todd was setting up the lights and cameras, I started to sweat thinking, “Oh, my God, what am I doing here? This is crazy!” But thankfully once the cameras started rolling I found Eren and Richie extremely easy to talk to the show just flowed.

Q: How many people do you currently have work for you or with you?
A: We have a production person for the Gold Coast Gazette as well as many freelance reporters, sales people, circulation, legals, etc.

Q: What do you think the future will bring for the publication and Kevin’s Corner TV?
A: The Gold Coast Gazette is so established in the community that I think its life will continue forever. The New York Press Association, of which I’m a member, did a study of all local weekly newspaper and evaluated their future with the advent of the web. They determined that the web is not a threat to local newspapers because people will always seek them out for local news. I’ve also found that even if a bunch of photos are posted of an event by local photographers people will call up the Gazette and ask for extra copies of a paper because we had their child in the paper. The fact that we use ink gives validity to the printing of the photo.
This past week (November 8) we launched a special e-edition of the Gazette which is a great “Green” alternative to the print edition. A link can be found at the Gazette’s web site:

GoldCoastGazette.net

Q: Can you share one of the biggest stories you covered on both your show and newspaper that mean a lot to you on a personal or professional level?
A:There have been so may with the newspaper over the years it’s hard to pinpoint one. The stories that touch people’s lives in a positive way are the ones I’m most proud of. It’s gotten to the point that now adults are saying to me, for example, “Oh, I remember when I was in the Gold Coast Gazette when I was in middle school. I won the spelling bee and you took my photo and put it in the paper. My mother still has the clipping in an album.” Those stories are nice to hear. As far as Kevin’s Corner TV goes, I hope we are sending a positive message and telling people’s stories as well as giving people great information. For example, in the December 2nd show we have Michael Gaeta an educator, writer, publisher in the field of natural healthcare. He tells us how we as individuals can care for ourselves in a more natural and holistic way. We learn how to keep our bodies in a healthier state, therefore trying to avoid the need for intense medications. Michael’s mission is to teach us how to live healthier, and how to then spread that knowledge of health to others. This is one of our more in depth and thought provoking episodes to date. Michael Gaeta is a world renown acupuncturist who founded Acupuncture for Veterans, an organization which provides free and low-cost treatment in New York for US Veterans.

Q: How many viewers do you have on a weekly basis?
A: Cablevision doesn’t really keep track of the viewers but the response has been fantastic. After the shows air o n Cablevision they are immediately posted to a YouTube site titled, “KevinsCornerTV”.

Q: What advice can you give to our readers and aspiring journalists?
A: Journalism has changed with the advent of the internet and sadly everyone with a keyboard and a web site thinks they are a journalist. Remember, a true journalist doesn’t show his or her opinion in a proper news story. In the best news story the reader goes away knowing all the facts to make their own opinion and never knows yours.

Q:Many people have their own ways of defining journalism. What is your way?
A:To quote my mother: “We simply hold a mirror up to the community.”

Q: What is your next course of action?
A: From the television show the production editor of the show, Todd Kopetic and I have started a division called, “Gold Coast Productions.” At Gold Coast Productions, we offer HD Video services to help businesses achieve the most out of advertising. TV, Web, Corporate, Personal, Professional High Definition Video. We are offering: Royality Free Music, Custom Composition,
Profession Voice Over Script, Writing Actors, Spokes Persons, and YouTube Promotion
Digitial Effects On Location Video .To date it’s been a huge success and we’ve produced a number of commercials. Samples can be seen on our YouTube Channel: Gcproductionsvideo the website is: www.gcproductions.net
 

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The Rise from Editor of The Campus Slate to Cable TV