For many reporters who have come and gone over the 67 years, their paths to The Riverdale Press have been fascinating ones.
Yet Zak Kostro’s journey to the paper is one that stands all on its own. Born and raised in Manhattan, Kostro made a name for himself slinging drinks in bars on both coasts. Yet he still found time to earn a master’s degree from Columbia University, write for some popular publications, and is now making The Press a part of that journey as its new politics and crime reporter.
Kostro replaces Anthony Capote, who left the paper this week to focus his attention full-time on earning his Ph.D.
“I knew from the moment I first met Zak that he’s exactly who I was looking for to be a part of this extraordinary team,” said Michael Hinman, editor of The Press. “Anthony is an extraordinary reporter, and this entire community will miss him a lot. But if there’s anyone who can carry the torch when it comes to crime and politics, it’s Zak.”
Kostro spent 10 years as a bartender, first in New York’s Meatpacking district, and later Los Angeles.
“That experience slowly corroded my soul, but also gave me much to write about,” Kostro said. “I started scribbling things in notebooks about what I saw and heard while slinging drinks to the L.A. and New York nightlife sets.”
Before joining The Press, Kostro was part of the editorial staff for Airbnbmag, a Hearst magazine contributing to the second issue of the print-only venture. Before that, he worked as an intern at Esquire, contributing to both Esquire.com and Esquire Classic.
Kostro earned his bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Columbia, and his master’s in journalism. He graduated with honors, earning the inaugural narrative nonfiction writing fellowship.
Kostro wrote about the heroin problem on Staten Island, and even shared the story of a one-time crack dealer from Kingsbridge who changed his life to become a chef in The Daily Beast.
The greater Riverdale area’s history is rife with politics, and some of Albany’s and even Washington’s biggest movers and shakers represent the diverse and vocal community. Kostro steps into a newsroom with a long tradition of not only celebrating the achievements made by these leaders, but also taking its responsibility very seriously of holding these elected officials accountable.
“We might not always be on the holiday card list for our government representatives, but we’ll always treat them fairly,” Hinman said. “That is a very important responsibility a free press has, because the work our elected officials do is equally as important. We’re going to ask the tough questions and make sure we share those answers with our readers.”
Kostro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (718) 543-6065, Ext. 324.