Westchester's Wunderkinds: Andrew Vitelli, Editor-in-Chief of The White Plains Examiner

While he was at the University of Maryland studying journalism, Andrew Vitelli, a native of Hastings who today lives in White Plains, knew he wanted to be a sports reporter, but he never would have dreamed he’d one day be responsible for helping launch two local newspapers.

Graduating in 2008—a time when most newspapers were laying off staffs—Vitelli was, not surprisingly, unable to find work in a newsroom. Instead, he got a series of odd jobs—a doorman, UBS temp, and a pre-school substitute teacher—before  sending his resumé in 2009 to Adam Stone, publisher and founder of The Examiner.

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“I said, ‘I’ll do anything,’” Vitelli recalls. After writing some articles for Stone, Vitelli was hired to help launch what would become The Putnam Examiner. “Andrew possessed not only the technical skills needed for the job,” Stone says, “but the work ethic required to help shepherd a new publication into existence.” Quickly promoted from lead reporter to the new managing editor, Vitelli took on the responsibilities of helping with design, more writing and reporting, and helping to secure distribution spots for which he drove around Putnam scouting out high-traffic places and asking businesses if they’d let The Putnam Examiner drop off papers. Two months later, Vitelli assumed the role of editor-in-chief, responsible for assigning and editing stories, approving layouts, and making sure the company had a paper to deliver every week. “I felt more comfortable going to a basketball game or a track meet and writing than figuring out how to get stories out of town hall meetings when I started,” admits Vitelli.

Two years later, in 2011, when Examiner Media decided to publish another weekly paper, this time in White Plains, Stone turned to Vitelli again. “Andrew displayed key characteristics most any publisher would value in an editor: integrity, intelligence, and reliability,” Stone says.

In two years, Vitelli helped launch two successful local weeklies, each with a distribution of 6,000 copies per week, with an estimated combined readership of 14,000. And, if two weeklies weren’t enough, Vitelli also helped Examiner Media launch Examiner News Talk, a weekly public affairs show on PCTV in Pleasantville, which Vitelli, rotating with other editors from Examiner’s four weekly papers, hosts once a month. “To say Andrew was instrumental in launching The Putnam Examiner and later The White Plains Examiner and then helping them succeed would be beyond an understatement,” Stone declares. “He was unquestionably the central figure in the launch of both papers.”

 —SS

Photo by Pay Casey

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