Showing posts with label New Jersey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Jersey. Show all posts

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Italian American News Anchor & Television Host; Alicia Vitarelli Shares An Exclusive Interview.

Alicia Vitarelli - New Journalist 

The Italian American Girl site is dedicated to showcasing and sharing news and notable profiles on influential Italian Americans around the world and in the community. This week we have an exclusive interview with New Jersey's most talked about and admired Italian American news anchor from News 12 New Jersey. She's also the host of an informative-magazine style and culinary show called, "Buck Wild" and "A Roma Aroma."

To learn more about Alicia Vitarelli we sat down to get the scoop on this Italian American Girl.

Q: As an Italian American Girl what is your cultural Italian upbringing, who in your family comes from Italy?
A: I was born and raised in New York City in an Italian household. While my mother is not Italian, my father's family has very strong roots a has kept the culture alive and well in our home. His mother, Marie (Vitale) Vitarelli, will be 97 years old in July. She still makes sauce on Sundays and says it's the olive oil that is her secret "fountain of youth." Her family came from Calabria, where they owned a bakery. My grandfather, Umberto Vitarelli, came from Craco, in the Basilica region. As the next generation of Italian Americans, we were schooled by Roman Catholic nuns and priests, celebrated all of the Italian and Catholic holidays, and traveled to Italy often (I have been there about 10 times).

Q: You’re the host of a very successful show called, “Buck Wild” and you also anchor for News 12 NJ, do you feel you have any pressure as an Italian American to represent the Garden State in a positive light?

A: I don't feel the pressure, rather the responsibility. I think both young Italian Americans AND young people from New Jersey have to work extra hard to combat some very negative stereotypes that persist and are fueled by reality TV shows. I take my role in this regard very seriously, knowing how important it is to spread a positive message and fuel a good image of both my culture and state.

Q: What part of your Italian upbringing do you identify with most? Why?

A: That's simple. Family. I am sure you get this answer often and that is because the family unit and time spent together are two of the most powerful building blocks of Italian culture. Sunday dinners are not merely meals, but bonding experiences, and keeping that tradition alive has bridged the cultural divide between older and younger Italian Americans. I also identify with the work ethic of our immigrant ancestors who traveled here to find "The American Dream," working hard, complaining little. I attribute my work ethic to that and also believe that very little can hold us back if we have a dream. They overcame many obstacles and led by example and I intend to keep that spirit alive!

Q: Have you ever been to Italy and do you have any family there you know of that you would possibly connect with in the future?

A: I have been to Italy many times, from coast to coast, soaking in the arts, culture and history, and admiring the way the locals live, eat and experience their incredible country. I am in the process of connecting with relatives on Facebook (seriously!) and also learning the language.

Q: How has participating in Italian American events this past year affected your passion for your culture?
A: I have been honored three times as the Italian American Woman of the Year by various groups in New Jersey, and I could not be more proud to not only represent my culture and showcase it to the state, but to connect with New Jerseyans who are doing the same. I am amazed at how strong the community is here. As a native New Yorker, I was raised amongst very proud Italian Americans, and I am humbled to have been so warmly and generously embraced by the New Jersey community. I see their accomplishments everywhere, and being able to share that with my viewers is an incredible honor as well. There are so many wonderful groups here doing fantastic work, and I am thrilled to be working with them.

Q: Being that we’re both Italian Americans living in New Jersey we’re subjected to many stereotypes and including the more recent debates stemming from the MTV show “Jersey Shore;” Do these stereotypes create or offend you or do you think they’re based more on a tri-state cultural theme?

A: Good question. I have always said that stereotypes don't create themselves. Watching shows like "Jersey Shore," I can say that there are young people among us in the tri-state area who do live, speak and act that way. It is unforvision of our culture based on a small pocket of people seeking 15 minutes of fame, regardless of the ramifications on our reputation as a whole. What is more unfortunate is that there is more negative publicity than positive examples of young Italian Americans who are doing wonderful things to make our culture proud. I feel we have to work extra hard to push the good examples to the forefront!

Q: How good of an Italian cook are you and what types of Italian dishes do you prefer to make? Or suggest?

A: I am a work-in-progress cook! I have been married for three years and have truly made it my mission to master Italian cuisine! I grew up with an Italian grandmother who wouldn't let you within feet of her stove, so while I grew up eating the dishes every day and watching them be prepared, it wasn't until later in life that I tackled it on my own. Some of my favorite dishes to make include homemade ravioli and various pastas (orchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage is a good one, and I LOVE pesto!) I am constantly learning and evolving in the kitchen and I have a great hands-on coach in NJ 101.5 radio host Dennis Malloy (who IS 100% Italian). Together we host a weekend cooking show on News 12 New Jersey called "A Roma Aroma."

Q: Do you feel your upbringing has supported your success as a television personality? Will we be seeing you on national news for the future?

A: I absolutely feel my upbringing contributed to my success, especially when it came to paving my own path. I was the first person in my family to get a college degree (and a Masters Degree) and leave the "nest." I have studied and worked both abroad and here in various states, and that feeling of being a pioneer is something I felt was in my blood. I have an incredibly strong work ethic, and rarely rest. I absolutely hope to take my career to the national level, and also have a family someday. I have a wonderful husband Matthew (who also comes from a strong, amazing Italian American family). He supports me and my endeavors and I could not be more proud of him as well.

Q: Which Italian Americans do you look up to in mainstream media?
A: In my business I honor and respect all of the broadcasters who kept their Italian surnames, as I did. I was told many times that it would hold me back, that it is not understood or embraced in some parts of our own country. To me, it is a badge of honor and I wear it proudly. I admire others who do the same. Positive examples are so important to our culture and I am happy to be a part of that.

Q: As a media personality do you think positive television programming focusing on the achievements of Italian Americans is lacking and how can we as Italian Americans work to improve our image in mainstream media?
A: I do believe it is lacking and hope to see more Italian Americans showcased and celebrated for doing great things. I tell young people to consider this: the most powerful and irreparable thing in life is a reputation. Once it's marred, it is very hard to repair that damage. Consider the impact your actions have not only on YOUR life, but on your culture.

** I should add Alicia Vitarelli has since moved onto to a Philadelphia station 6 ABC. **

Thank You to Alicia Vitarelli For A Fantastic Interview! Grazie Alicia!

For the latest on Alicia go here:

This story orginally posted April 1, 2010 

Monday, April 2, 2018

My Latest Film/ Education Project - Generation Change Screening at Rider University

Ciao Amici, as many of you know I heavily involved in the arts and especially media and film.   I've partnered with Seven13Films and Rider University to present a special screening of the documentary Generation Change.  Our event is coming up on April 19th at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J.  Learn more below: 

Seven13 Films and Rider University Present Youth Symposium with Trenton Mayoral Candidates Thursday, April 19, 6:30 p.m.  

Alicia Nieves of CBS 3’s Eyewitness News to Moderate Youth Symposium at Rider University After Special Screening of Documentary ‘Generation Change’

LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ, – April 2, 2018 – Seven13 Films and Rider University will present a youth symposium with Trenton Mayoral candidates and moderated by Alicia Nieves of CBS 3’s Eyewitness News. Mayoral candidates in attendance will be Darren Green, Reed Gusciora, Annette Horton-Lartigue, Paul Perez and Walker Worthy Jr. The public event will take place on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. at Rider University. Attendees must register in advance through

The symposium will feature today’s youth, who will ask the panel of mayoral candidate’s question on how they would improve the social challenges of Trenton. The youths selected to ask the questions will be from local schools and youth organizations. Each candidate will have limited time to answer each question.

Prior to the youth symposium, seven13 Films will be screening an episode of their docuseries Generation Change and the Rider University students will be screening their featurette Generation Change: It Starts with Us.

“It is amazing to see the film we have created has brought together the world of politics and education all one in place. “says Lee Kolinsky, co-owner of seven13 Films. “With CBS-3 and Alicia Nieves participating in the event, it’s the right step for great things to come.”

Directed and produced by Joseph A. Halsey and written and produced by Kolinsky, the docuseries Generation Change was created with a mission to increase social awareness about issues affecting our local youth. The film features Good Morning America’s Adrienne Bankert and youths from the organization PEI Kids.

 “We created this episode of Generation Change to find out what Trenton youths would do in their community if they were mayor,” says Joseph A. Halsey, co-owner of seven13 Films. “Now, these kids will get a chance to ask the mayoral candidates what they would change if they were elected.” Halsey adds, “Our film was designed to inspire a conversation and promote positive change in the community.”

The event is being planned and produced by Rider University students in “COM341 Publicity Methods,” a course currently being taught by Adjunct Professor Kathy Magrino. Since January, Magrino’s class has been working closely with seven13 Films and media consultant Margaret Fontana of Margaret Fontana Media.
“Producing and promoting this event has provided a great ‘real-world’ learning experience for everyone involved,” Magrino says. “My students and I are very excited to be working with Joe and Margaret and the entire seven13 Films crew. We are so grateful to them for this opportunity and for all of their time and guidance!”

For more information about the event or to register to attend, go to the Eventbrite registration page online: Or contact Kathy Magrino at

About Generation Change
Generation Change is a docuseries that interviews adjudicated and at-risk Trenton city youth focusing on how they would solve current problems in their community such as building positive relationships with law enforcement and local government. The film features Good Morning America’s Adrienne Bankert and the Official Anthem of Generation Change features singer/actor Badia Farha with recording artist Dominic Jones.  Generation Change anthem produced by Joseph A. Halsey and John Swanhart.

About seven13 Films
Seven13 films is dedicated to providing social messages that spark conversation through the art of filmmaking. With several years of experience in television and film, seven13 films offers comprehensive media strategies designed to drive education, awareness, community outreach and engagement on important public issues.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Guest Speaking at Rider University on Digital Media and the Italian American Girl Site

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Italian American Girl Goes To Rider University - All about Media & Writing

It's been almost 4 years since I launched the Italian American Girl site and since then amazing things have come from this labor of love.  I've been asked to participate in national commercials, been invited to celebrity events, asked to guest write for other amazing influential websites and most importantly guest speak at my Alma mater, Rider University.  Of all the events, this is one of my most favorite things to do.  To share what I know about something I love so much, which is producing, writing, social media and mainstream media.  Not to mention, I love my college and any opportunity to go back and actually teach, a serious dream come true.  I connected with Professor Kathy Magrino (a fellow Italian American Girl ) on social media one day when she posted an interactive question on Twitter for her class at Rider; it caught my attention and I wrote her back saying 'whatever I learned at Rider, has been applied to my real life career in so many ways..tell your students to pay will all matter once you get  a job in the work force...."  She immediately responded back and so we began an interactive engaged conversation on Twitter where then Kathy invited me to come speak about the Italian American Girl site and my experiences with my career.   The main focus of my talking points are to discuss the real elements that go into producing this site.  Writing is extremely important and you really have to be in the mood to write from experience and make it compelling enough so your readers don't get turned off.   What I think the students were most surprised about is that SPELLING AND GRAMMAR count.  When I went to college ( oh God I sound old) we were just getting savvy with Spell Check, now if you publish something with a mistake, it's really your own fault.. of which I have made plenty of those, but reading your work out loud will always help and re-reading is also important.
At Rider University
The biggest take away to writing is actually writing about what interests you, your passion.  My site, Italian American Girl is my passion, my goals are combined in the production of the entire site - video, writing, photos, social media these are the elements that help create the success of my site. 

Sometimes when you are caught up in your career, the daily grind, and deadlines you sometimes forget the joys of what make you tick and for me it's the success of this site- the media elements.  Being a guest speaker with such bright students who have such huge dreams recharges me and inspires me to want to do more with my own site and including my career. 

An amazing experience, and I always look forward to sharing my knowledge with such wonderful students and a great professor! Thank you Rider University!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

JOURNEY OF HOPE –THE FILM Featuring Local Italian American Set To Premiere At Garden State Film Festival in New Jersey

This year's Garden State Film Festival 2011 will feature the film 'JOURNEY OF HOPE- The Film' produced by award winning Italian American Marino Amoruso, the same producer of 'PRIDE & PASSION: THE ITALIANS IN AMERICA, a very successful film which premiered on PBS.

'Journey of Hope - The Film' features local New Jersey business owner and Italian American Joe Leone Introna who travels to L'Aquila, Italy to volunteer and help the people, who suffered great hardship after a devastating and powerful earthquake wiped out the entire town. Joe along with friends and volunteers traveled to the devastated town where they offered the victims clothes, shoes, comfort, bedding and much more.

The film captures Joe as he connects with the people of L'Aquila and gives a raw look inside the loss and devastation the citizens endured. What makes this film very special for Italian Americans is the fact that Joe is Italian American but his family comes from the Bari region, not L'Aquila, but his nature to help his Italian ancestors extended to the mere fact that he wanted to just help. It says a lot about a person's character. This film is powerful.

With today's headlines in Japan and the absolute devastation that most of can not comprehend, this particular film gives you an idea how powerful one person can be when the goal is to help those in need. Joe and his team continue to work on raising on funds for the relief effort in L'Aquila.

For more information on Joe Leone Introna, Marino Amoruso and to donate visit:

I call on all Italian Americans to come to the premiere and show your support:

Journey Of Hope L'Aquila Earthquake Relief Fund

Date: Thursday March 31st

Time: 7:30PM

Place: Paramount Theatre



Sunday, November 14, 2010

Why It's Hot To Be Italian American Right Now..

Is it just me or is every other word on TV, Internet or paper talking about being Italian American? The Internet is blowing up with new Facebook pages of people wanting to create some type of Italian American presence.

I think to be Italian American is a life time thing, its your life, its your identity.. its not something you jump on the bandwagon for because you see a show that makes you think this is Italian. Is this why it's hot to be Italian American right now?

To each his own, I suppose... but I am getting increasingly disgusted with the amount of garbage out here in cyberspace and in the media. Who is being genuine? NO-ONE!!! It's all about the payout, who attends the most events, sign on for reality shows and then those who opposed the negativity are now in alliance with those who stand for negative stereotyping.

I don't want to harp on this but the real Italian Americans are not being heard and the phony people are standing up at the front of the press line.

What are your thoughts?
If you're interested in discussing live: Visit the Italian American Girl group on Facebook:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Italian Americans, Mainstream Media, TV, and Italian American Groups / Organizations

Great debates happening on Facebook yesterday and today regarding the recent discussions on new reality shows and the negative depictions on Italian Americans. My stance is this, I believe many people have the right to be what they want, act the way the want and do what they want. Now, I'm not saying I condone or love that the free world now thinks all Italian Americans are the same..they're not--and that's OK. But that is the real "REALITY." If you have half a brain then you know this fact.

A really good point brought up by one of the Facebook-ers was-- where were the Italian American organizations when positive material, shows, content were being produced...? Not one press release blast went out or any 5 minute segment was covered on any local station. The same amount of energy that goes into the 15 minutes of fame for crying/complaining and saying people are racists should go into promoting the positive work we're all creating for the Italian American community.

I question the motives of others for getting on the press bandwagon and riding it all the way to the top by saying you're protecting the image of the Italian Americans, to me it sounds like you're condemning people for being who they really are.

If anyone, I mean anyone meaning myself, you can't get any more Italian American than me.. I am a first generation Italian American, my father came here on a ship over 50 years ago. My mother followed soon after. He struggled, he had nothing, he worked his ass off, he too was stereotyped.

Not once did my parents look for fame, fortune or any 15 minutes of a news segment, they're true revenge on the finger pointers was getting their family to be successful. The success of our family is what truly makes our story. So, forget about all the press, the TV, the un-reality of being Italian American, cause really if you haven't lived it or experienced shouldn't be adding your two cents. Sorry. I direct this to those who think they're protecting the Italian American image.

I say, take the same resources, money, staff whatever else is available and use it to promote --not talk about the same negative BS on and on.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Italian American Rocker & Frontman, Rocco Fury Resurrects The Meaning of 'Real Rock Band.'

If you love rock, especially 80's vintage rock, then this is a must read review by one of my very good friends; who happens to be one of the best writers, reviewers and overall rock music aficionados I know.

Read his latest review of front man Rocco Fury's resurrected metal band, "American Angel." Last, but not least, what makes it especially fantastic is the Italian American factor.

Move over Rolling Stone, here's :

No Grunge, No Alternative, No Rap-Rock . . . Just Vintage '80s Metal!

Click Here for the Review

Thanks TT!

BTW- I am currently listening to their music as we speak, I'm digging it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

New Jersey Soon To Increase Exports With Italy.

Due to an executive order passed a year ago by Governor Jon Corzine, trade was increased within the state, which led to successful ties in exporting between New Jersey and Italy. Due to the increased trade,the N.J./Italy Trade Council was formed. The council is currently working to create an online directory and information hub for businesses to increase their trade and export to Italy. Trade council members are hoping for further success in export trading with Italy. The results could provide culturally funded programs, which would be available to the Italian American community. Well, this sounds good, I look forward to seeing the increased relationship and results. Reminds me of that old commercial from when Gov. Thomas Kean was in office, he would always say, "NJ & You Perfect Together." Now, we can add, NJ, Italy & You..Perfect Together.

For more on this story:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Masters of Reception": TLC's New Show About An Italian American Family Owned Wedding & Catering Business From New Jersey.

It appears TLC has become fond of picking up shows that include Italian American family run businesses from New Jersey. This time around, producers Kelly Ripa (who is from NJ) and Mark Consuelos (who is part Italian) have teamed up with the Frungillo Family from NJ, who run multiple catering/banquet halls and produce some of the most lavish and over the top weddings you've ever seen.

Robert and Jerry Frungillo have been in the wedding business over 30 years and have served everyone from Frank Sinatra to the Pope. The show promises to focus on the family quality and how the business is based on the foundation of their values and work ethic.

According to Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, "We are so excited to be teaming up with TLC and feel that this show is a natural fit with their programming," says Ripa and Consuelos. "We are fascinated by how the Frungillos put these weddings together, and all the while make it seem so effortless. We truly believe TLC's audience will fall in love with this family. We certainly have."

The Series premiere is Tuesday, August 18 @ 10/9c.

For more on the show go to:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Jersey Bocce Invitational- Supporting Our Troops & Teaming With Up With The Boys & Girls Club.

The New Jersey Bocce Invitational is on again for this year slated for June 20, 2009 in our very own New Jersey. The Bocce Invitational was created by our Italian American community and the purpose of the event is to support Operation Shoebox New Jersey which, provides much needed care packages to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Along with this amazing organization the Bocce organizers have also teamed up with the Boys & Girls Club of New Jersey, where they offer programs in the areas of education, the environment, health, the arts, careers, alcohol/drug and pregnancy prevention, gang prevention, leadership development and athletics.

The Bocce Invitational encourages your attendance in this amazing event that will also feature celebrity guests and singers such as Joe Piscopo, Giada Valenti, & Marisa Petroro. Its for a great cause.

Visit their official site for event details.