Ricka McNaughton Writing, Photography

Street cred: ​
I've  worked as a freelance feature story writer and sometime photographer for the past ten years. Most of my work has appeared in regional weeklies or daily newspapers, not one of which is the New York Times. Before that I was the long-time head of external communications for a state government agency charged with regulating the financial services industry, a span that included banking, insurance, securities and aspects of health care reform. My work involved consumer education programs and media relations.  I would explain to the press what newsworthy enforcement actions were going on, their consumer impacts and how to make sense of reports written in government-speak. Often I had little advance time to figure that out myself.  Not whining. It was terrific, game-elevating  experience. Not that I considered it a game. Transparency always works best. I count myself lucky to have had bosses who agreed.      
      Before that I spent a number of years producing a monthly government tab-mag at the direction of the governor's Office.  It was called, unimaginatively (though not by me), Vermont News & Views. This is actually where I found my love of writing human interest and other kinds of short feature stories.   
     One of my first jobs: Pasting together a varied living in my youth, I became unexpectedly employed as a photographer for a New England NASCAR race track that bills itself "The Nation's Site of Excitement." It was loud, chokingly smelly, difficult work. But I came to understand what fans found exciting. How could you not if your job was to capture and promote it?  A lesson in getting to the heart of things.  
​     I have a single national award to my name for organization communications writing. 
     I've been an arts and music promoter and also co-founded a program in Vermont called Town Braintap  - an offbeat guest speaker series. Our tagline: Mind candy for the curious. More fun than paying bills or shoveling snow. Better for you than contemplating the Zombie Apocalypse.    

Where I come from: 

I was born a 20-minute off-peak drive from New York City. I spent my coming-of-age years in a congested, polluted part of northern New Jersey prone to social unrest.  But I lived predominately in Vermont since attending college there. I recently moved a few degrees south to the Twin Cities area in Minnesota for a better tan. It's not warmer here than in Vermont. People just refuse to stay indoors.