Journalism: EMS, disaster, medical issues, mental health, crime, courts, prisons, the military, foreign affairs, education, fire, hospice, death, chronic pain, gambling, drugs, source documents...

I’ve worked on stories under contract and/or as a staff writer and/or had pieces killed (or have had to abandon them) for Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Spin, The Village Voice, Esquire, APBNews.com, Vibe, Sports Illustrated, US Magazine, Texas Monthly, Z Magazine, City Limits, NY Press, The Dallas Observer, The Fader, and KoreaWebWeekly (Kimsoft.com).


Kevin Heldman is an award-winning journalist. He's reported from such places as a psychiatric hospital, a Japanese prison, a London homeless shelter, Albania and Afghanistan. East New York is, by far, the worst neighborhood in New York City, among the worst in the nation, and has been for quite some time. Kevin tried to report out why. Then something happened. This is What The Hell Happened In East New York?, a co-production with The Big Roundtable that seeks to answer that question in two parts. The first is a four-episode podcast that chronicles Kevin as he unravels the issues with East New York, and ultimately, himself. The second is Kevin's exhaustive investigation into why East New York is the way it is.



East New York, Brooklyn- the #1 ranked worst neighborhood in literally every single quality of life category- from arrests to suicides to cirrhosis cases, vd cases, child abuse cases, pollution & toxic chemical contaminated sites, police brutality cases, number of homeless shelters, number of drug rehabs, number of sex offenders residing, AIDS deaths, number of incarcerated, and every year the highest number of 7 major felony arrests and number of misdemeanors.

I spent years of my life immersed in East New York for an investigative article and podcast simultaneously launched on Digg/The Week, The Big Roundtable and Apple Podcasts.

The most consequential article I ever wrote.

East New York is likely the worst hood in the United States- impossible to rehabilitate or reform or gentrify because it's trapped-locked in on 4 borders- acres of graveyards on its northern border, huge toxic Kennedy Airport on its eastern border, huge polluted Jamaica Bay, landfills and a masssive abandoned old school style institution and campus that used to warehouse all NYC's developmentally disabled on its southern border and a fortresses of numerous massive housing projects in Brownsville (Mike Tyson's old hood) on its western border.

And a rotting freight train track built around 1899 and all it's rotting freight cars and the related toxic freight, minerals, electrical circuitry, coal, diesel, oil, copper, etc runs through the whole middle of the neighborhood from east to west.

Full article here -- https://digg.com/2016/what-the-hell-happened-in-east-new-york








Civic leaders want to fix East New York? Do they know what they're up against?






BALKAN-ALBANIAN TRANSNATIONAL CRIME INVESTIGATIVE SERIES
(2011-- on-going)

These stories are about Albanian organized crime, but they are really a more human, social, psychological story of a people; of the defendants and victims and communities involved. This is about corrupt and murdered politicians (Albanian but with US connections), corrupt government and/or law enforcement in Albania and the Balkans, murdered Albanian police, US stock fraud, massive amounts of transnational illicit drug trafficking, violence, kidnappings, much interstate US crime, and many crimes in Canada.

Remembering Albania in 1997; interviews in the penitentiary in Michigan (the Albanian inmate with 10 sentences, six for life); with the FBI's Balkan Task Force; riding down the highway with the government's confidential informant; in the Albanian coffee shops and community off 15 Mile Road Detroit; wandering late night on the streets and in the cafes, bars, pizzerias, strip clubs, and social clubs in the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island - - where rap groups The Bloody Alboz (TBA), Rebel, Uptown Affiliates, Unikkatil, and singers Aurela Gace and Anita Bitri ring bells.

The Albanian civil servant with the silencer, the Uzi, the shotgun from Fat Tony, the kilos, the betrayals, snitches, cooperating witnesses looking for their 5K letter, wiretaps and body wires, pen registers and trace and traps, border crossings, bodies dumped on the BQE highway, the reporter getting anonymous tips (credible) on fugitives and traffickers, the dead pop singer - - inside and outside of the on-going Federal RICO death penalty-connected trial in Manhattan. Shqiptar.

Part I: Introduction to Albanian Transnational Crime
https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2011/03/an-introduction-to-the-new-york-albanian-mob-067223

Part II: From 15 Mile Road Detroit Michigan to Manhattan Federal Court
https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2011/06/the-big-trial-an-albanian-american-crime-story-from-15-mile-road-to-pearl-street-067223

Part III: The Verdict in the First Case; The Crimes Continue
https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2011/07/the-verdict-feds-chip-away-at-the-new-york-albanian-mob-with-bigger-battles-to-come-067223

Part IV: Anatomy of a Mob Hit; Arrests are Made Across the Nation and Overseas
https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2011/07/anatomy-of-an-albanian-mob-coup-the-challenge-the-balk-the-murder-067223

Part V: The Sidekick Wears a Wire; New Kingpins Face Trial
https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2011/07/runaway-sidekick-how-little-tani-kocareli-escaped-from-the-new-york-albanian-mob-then-botched-it-067223

Part VI: The streets of Tirana and the roots of Albanian-American organized crime
https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2012/06/the-streets-of-tirana-and-the-roots-of-albanian-american-organized-crime-067223






 


 

7 1/2 DAYS
Reporter Kevin Heldman spent seven days undercover in the psychiatric ward
of a public hospital in one of NYC's poorest communities

 
"Fine, powerful piece... hoping many people will read your story (including those who could improve the situation)."

Dr. Oliver Sacks, professor of neurology and psychiatry; best known for the books The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat and Awakenings, adapted into an Academy Award nominated film

                                                                  

* National Mental Health Association Award
for excellence in mental health reporting

* American Psychiatric Association Certificate of Commendation
"The entire judging panel was overwhelmingly impressed with your dedication and personal sacrifice for this story. This level of investigative reporting is certainly unique."

 

WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN?
In and out of Texas psychiatric wards 46 separate times. He's coming out for the 47th time, and the state's got a plan to
keep him out




* National Mental Health Association Award for excellence in mental health reporting
 
THE WORLD OF GAMBLING
Down And Out at Yonkers Raceway



     
ON THE TOWN WITH THE U.S. MILITARY
The world of soldiers stationed overseas -- an in-depth view of every aspect of Army life before embedding, Buffalo Soldiers,Iraq, support our troops, etc.
 
SLEEPING ROUGH
There are times when compassion is not condescension and pity is overcome by respect.  Our Reporter spent two months living in a London homeless shelter, exploring the boundaries of benevolence

* Finalist†Livingston Award for
international reporting
 

* Finalist†Livingston Award for
international reporting

 

EXTREME GRAFFITI
Xanax and dust 40 feet up, inside NYC subway tunnels, and "fucking up the city"

"The article has become somewhat of a classic, and it's pretty much the most well known piece written on graffiti (and in my opinion one of the best done from an outsiders perspective and for a major publication)."

"If you want to read the definitive piece of journalism on [graffiti], go to your local library and hunt down on microfilm an article from Rolling Stone called "Mean Streaks" dated February 9, 1995.

In it, Kevin Heldman, a real journalist, trails a couple of spray painters around New York (following them into subway tunnels to stand breathless by their side as the trains barrel past; clambering up the Manhattan Bridge to observe them hanging from their knees to bomb or tag the mammoth structure) and generally lays out the whole historical and sociological context of urban graffiti."

Here's a link to a profile of the author, where he discusses, among other things, how he reported the story and what challenges he faced.

INSIDE THE NUDIST LOCKER ROOM:
THE AUTHOR DISROBES TO COVER THE NAKED

Peter Kacalanos, frail and agreeable with a full beard and long gray pony tail,
is the 59-year-old president and founder of the Skinnydippers,
a New York City based nudist...

 

A YOUNG MAN, HOMELESS IN THE LIVING ROOM
Bill H., Shakespearean actor, lives his life on a couch . He has
no direction, no prospects, and no agenda. He takes the occasional anti-anxiety
pill and says every day he feels like just falling asleep and never waking up...

 

MULTI-PART INVESTIGATION INTO THE
JAPANESE PRISON SYSTEM

(Winner of the Livingston Award for International Reporting)




 

 

WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
Texas teenager Rudy Meinecke was tortured for three days and nights.
His alleged tormentors included hustlers, drag queens and drug dealers.
They were all children of the Montrose

 

 

THIS IS WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE WHEN SOMEONE
YOU LOVE DIES IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES

(with everlasting gratitude to The Rosalynn Carter Fellowship)

 

 

TRAVELS IN WAR-TORN AFGHANISTAN
When You Run Around Afghanistan Alone And in Shirtsleeves While
All Around You Your Fellow Americans Are Barricaded, Bunkered, And
Bulletproof-Vested Up, This is What You Can Experience

 

 

TWO BOYS FROM JUVENILE DETENTION
(ONE MURDERS, ONE STRUGGLES NOT TO)

Four months after his release from the Gainesville State School,
seventeen-year-old Federico Solis is sitting in my apartment one night,
still in his warehouse work clothes...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Kevin Heldman | Journalism Works Project

Journalism: EMS, disaster, medical issues, mental health, crime, courts, prisons, the military, foreign affairs, education, fire, hospice, death, chronic pain, gambling, drugs, source documents...

I’ve worked on stories under contract and/or as a staff writer and/or had pieces killed (or have had to abandon them) for Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Spin, The Village Voice, Esquire, APBNews.com, Vibe, Sports Illustrated, US Magazine, Texas Monthly, Z Magazine, City Limits, NY Press, The Dallas Observer, The Fader, and KoreaWebWeekly (Kimsoft.com).


Kevin Heldman is an award-winning journalist. He's reported from such places as a psychiatric hospital, a Japanese prison, a London homeless shelter, Albania and Afghanistan. East New York is, by far, the worst neighborhood in New York City, among the worst in the nation, and has been for quite some time. Kevin tried to report out why. Then something happened. This is What The Hell Happened In East New York?, a co-production with The Big Roundtable that seeks to answer that question in two parts. The first is a four-episode podcast that chronicles Kevin as he unravels the issues with East New York, and ultimately, himself. The second is Kevin's exhaustive investigation into why East New York is the way it is.



East New York, Brooklyn- the #1 ranked worst neighborhood in literally every single quality of life category- from arrests to suicides to cirrhosis cases, vd cases, child abuse cases, pollution & toxic chemical contaminated sites, police brutality cases, number of homeless shelters, number of drug rehabs, number of sex offenders residing, AIDS deaths, number of incarcerated, and every year the highest number of 7 major felony arrests and number of misdemeanors.

I spent years of my life immersed in East New York for an investigative article and podcast simultaneously launched on Digg/The Week, The Big Roundtable and Apple Podcasts.

The most consequential article I ever wrote.

East New York is likely the worst hood in the United States- impossible to rehabilitate or reform or gentrify because it’s trapped–locked in on 4 borders– acres of graveyards on its northern border, huge toxic Kennedy Airport on its eastern border, huge polluted Jamaica Bay, landfills and a masssive abandoned old school style institution and campus that used to warehouse all NYC’s developmentally disabled on its southern border and a fortresses of numerous massive housing projects in Brownsville (Mike Tyson’s old hood) on its western border.

And a rotting freight train track built around 1899 and all it’s rotting freight cars and the related toxic freight, minerals, electrical circuitry, coal, diesel, oil, copper, etc runs through the whole middle of the neighborhood from east to west.

Full article here -- https://digg.com/2016/what-the-hell-happened-in-east-new-york








Civic leaders want to fix East New York? Do they know what they're up against?






BALKAN-ALBANIAN TRANSNATIONAL CRIME INVESTIGATIVE SERIES
(2011-- on-going)

These stories are about Albanian organized crime, but they are really a more human, social, psychological story of a people; of the defendants and victims and communities involved. This is about corrupt and murdered politicians (Albanian but with US connections), corrupt government and/or law enforcement in Albania and the Balkans, murdered Albanian police, US stock fraud, massive amounts of transnational illicit drug trafficking, violence, kidnappings, much interstate US crime, and many crimes in Canada.

Remembering Albania in 1997; interviews in the penitentiary in Michigan (the Albanian inmate with 10 sentences, six for life); with the FBI's Balkan Task Force; riding down the highway with the government's confidential informant; in the Albanian coffee shops and community off 15 Mile Road Detroit; wandering late night on the streets and in the cafes, bars, pizzerias, strip clubs, and social clubs in the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island - - where rap groups The Bloody Alboz (TBA), Rebel, Uptown Affiliates, Unikkatil, and singers Aurela Gace and Anita Bitri ring bells.

The Albanian civil servant with the silencer, the Uzi, the shotgun from Fat Tony, the kilos, the betrayals, snitches, cooperating witnesses looking for their 5K letter, wiretaps and body wires, pen registers and trace and traps, border crossings, bodies dumped on the BQE highway, the reporter getting anonymous tips (credible) on fugitives and traffickers, the dead pop singer - - inside and outside of the on-going Federal RICO death penalty-connected trial in Manhattan. Shqiptar.

Part I: Introduction to Albanian Transnational Crime
https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2011/03/an-introduction-to-the-new-york-albanian-mob-067223

Part II: From 15 Mile Road Detroit Michigan to Manhattan Federal Court
https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2011/06/the-big-trial-an-albanian-american-crime-story-from-15-mile-road-to-pearl-street-067223

Part III: The Verdict in the First Case; The Crimes Continue
https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2011/07/the-verdict-feds-chip-away-at-the-new-york-albanian-mob-with-bigger-battles-to-come-067223

Part IV: Anatomy of a Mob Hit; Arrests are Made Across the Nation and Overseas
https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2011/07/anatomy-of-an-albanian-mob-coup-the-challenge-the-balk-the-murder-067223

Part V: The Sidekick Wears a Wire; New Kingpins Face Trial
https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2011/07/runaway-sidekick-how-little-tani-kocareli-escaped-from-the-new-york-albanian-mob-then-botched-it-067223

Part VI: The streets of Tirana and the roots of Albanian-American organized crime
https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2012/06/the-streets-of-tirana-and-the-roots-of-albanian-american-organized-crime-067223






 


 

7 1/2 DAYS
Reporter Kevin Heldman spent seven days undercover in the psychiatric ward
of a public hospital in one of NYC's poorest communities

 
"Fine, powerful piece... hoping many people will read your story (including those who could improve the situation)."

Dr. Oliver Sacks, professor of neurology and psychiatry; best known for the books The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat and Awakenings, adapted into an Academy Award nominated film

                                                                  

* National Mental Health Association Award
for excellence in mental health reporting

* American Psychiatric Association Certificate of Commendation
"The entire judging panel was overwhelmingly impressed with your dedication and personal sacrifice for this story. This level of investigative reporting is certainly unique."

 

WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN?
In and out of Texas psychiatric wards 46 separate times. He's coming out for the 47th time, and the state's got a plan to
keep him out




* National Mental Health Association Award for excellence in mental health reporting
 
THE WORLD OF GAMBLING
Down And Out at Yonkers Raceway



     
ON THE TOWN WITH THE U.S. MILITARY
The world of soldiers stationed overseas -- an in-depth view of every aspect of Army life before embedding, Buffalo Soldiers,Iraq, support our troops, etc.
 
SLEEPING ROUGH
There are times when compassion is not condescension and pity is overcome by respect.  Our Reporter spent two months living in a London homeless shelter, exploring the boundaries of benevolence

* Finalist†Livingston Award for
international reporting
 

* Finalist†Livingston Award for
international reporting

 

EXTREME GRAFFITI
Xanax and dust 40 feet up, inside NYC subway tunnels, and "fucking up the city"

"The article has become somewhat of a classic, and it's pretty much the most well known piece written on graffiti (and in my opinion one of the best done from an outsiders perspective and for a major publication)."

"If you want to read the definitive piece of journalism on [graffiti], go to your local library and hunt down on microfilm an article from Rolling Stone called "Mean Streaks" dated February 9, 1995.

In it, Kevin Heldman, a real journalist, trails a couple of spray painters around New York (following them into subway tunnels to stand breathless by their side as the trains barrel past; clambering up the Manhattan Bridge to observe them hanging from their knees to bomb or tag the mammoth structure) and generally lays out the whole historical and sociological context of urban graffiti."

Here's a link to a profile of the author, where he discusses, among other things, how he reported the story and what challenges he faced.

INSIDE THE NUDIST LOCKER ROOM:
THE AUTHOR DISROBES TO COVER THE NAKED

Peter Kacalanos, frail and agreeable with a full beard and long gray pony tail,
is the 59-year-old president and founder of the Skinnydippers,
a New York City based nudist...

 

A YOUNG MAN, HOMELESS IN THE LIVING ROOM
Bill H., Shakespearean actor, lives his life on a couch . He has
no direction, no prospects, and no agenda. He takes the occasional anti-anxiety
pill and says every day he feels like just falling asleep and never waking up...

 

MULTI-PART INVESTIGATION INTO THE
JAPANESE PRISON SYSTEM

(Winner of the Livingston Award for International Reporting)




 

 

WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
Texas teenager Rudy Meinecke was tortured for three days and nights.
His alleged tormentors included hustlers, drag queens and drug dealers.
They were all children of the Montrose

 

 

THIS IS WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE WHEN SOMEONE
YOU LOVE DIES IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES

(with everlasting gratitude to The Rosalynn Carter Fellowship)

 

 

TRAVELS IN WAR-TORN AFGHANISTAN
When You Run Around Afghanistan Alone And in Shirtsleeves While
All Around You Your Fellow Americans Are Barricaded, Bunkered, And
Bulletproof-Vested Up, This is What You Can Experience

 

 

TWO BOYS FROM JUVENILE DETENTION
(ONE MURDERS, ONE STRUGGLES NOT TO)

Four months after his release from the Gainesville State School,
seventeen-year-old Federico Solis is sitting in my apartment one night,
still in his warehouse work clothes...