Mladineo’s academic background includes an undergraduate history degree from Rutgers University and a Masters in Business Administration from Rider University.
His journalism experience began with a weekly newspaper in his native New Jersey. He lived in Vilnius, Lithuania, and wrote for the Baltic Times and later Reuters, one of the world’s largest wire services.
“It’s kind of interesting to be on both sides of the double eagle,” he said, noting Lithuania’s and Alaska’s proximity to Russia.
But Mladineo said Kodiak seems to have a more welcoming attitude toward its neighbor to the west.
“Lithuania was always worried about its defense against Russia,” he said.
Mladineo came to Kodiak last fall on a spiritual retreat to join Father Paisius DeLucia of St. Innocent’s Academy.
He said that after having worked in marketing for a while he had not planned on getting back into journalism. Then discussions at St. Innocent’s about having a craft, like carpentry, inspired him, and Daily Mirror readers have been seeing Mladineo’s byline for several months.
“I realized that my craft was the word,” he said. “I enjoy a little newsroom sizzle every day.”
Mladineo has spent little time in towns as small as Kodiak and said he enjoys the community’s close-knittedness.
“It’s compelling to me to be able to cover that,” he said. “People really need each other here, and they know it.”
Mladineo credited the Kodiak Daily Mirror staff with giving the local paper the élan of a larger publication. He said he wants to see the paper foster integrity in the community, in addition to reporting events. He also named more consistent coverage of Kodiak’s rural communities as a high priority.
Mladineo hopes to bring his wife Zydrune and their 5-year-old son, Johan, to join him in Kodiak soon.