Wednesday nights are crunch times for Danielle DeAngelis, a recent Ramapo graduate now working as an associate editor at the Sun Newspapers in South Jersey. It’s been this way since she became an editor at The Ramapo News in 2019, where print is Thursday too.
DeAngelis began her career with the Ramapo News as a staff writer, then joined on as sports editor before being promoted to editor-in-chief for the 2020-2021 school year. She had the unique experience of running the publication during a fully virtual year, which presented challenges other editors had never encountered before.
“Being editor-in-chief during the pandemic wasn't an ideal experience, but it helped me improve my online news writing skills as well as learn more about search engine optimization and remote collaboration,” DeAngelis said. “There was barely any personal interaction with the staff. But to combat this, I brainstormed online friendly ideas to enhance engagement on the website and improve staff communication.”
Some of the inventive solutions DeAngelis came up with included live, virtual reporting of the 2020 election and launching a TikTok account for the newspaper. These creative reporting skills apply in her current position, where she does hyperlocal coverage for multiple towns.
“I write five articles a week for work, which is parallel to the amount of work I did weekly at The Ramapo News,” DeAngelis said. “And creating daily posts for their website and social media accounts were skills I learned during my college career, so it was an easy transition.”
While many people come into college unsure of their path, DeAngelis has always known she wanted to be a writer, and a journalism class in high school showed her that it was the path she wanted to pursue. She says Ramapo’s focus on online publication was something that drew her to the program.
Her role now is largely work-from-home, which mirrors her experience as EIC. DeAngelis says she has her sights set on a different kind of role in the future, though.
“While working in a smaller newsroom and for smaller towns is nice because you have personal connection with some of the residents and municipalities,” DeAngelis said. “My goal is working for a larger corporation, specifically a magazine so I can contribute my creative writing skills in the editorial style.”
DeAngelis acquired years of experience even before graduating last year and saw that time as important to her growth as a writer.
“It was a great experience working in an active newsroom environment, and I was there during the most newsworthy time in my life: the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the 2020 election were all crucial topics to each section,” she said.
Having been EIC while balancing a full class schedule and other involvements, DeAngelis sees her time on the team as one of the most important parts of her education.
“To be honest, there were times that I put news first, classwork second,” she said. “Being in my professional life now, I have no regrets as the news taught me the most.”