Meet the writers who make Harsh Reality News a reality.

Padraic Maroney


Padraic is a founding member of Harsh Reality. He’s been writing for 20 years, thanks to a fateful phone call with Carol Robidoux while he was a sophomore in high school. A pop culture savant, Padraic blames his love for entertainment on attending his first concert – Debbie Gibson – as a wee lad in kindergarten. He majored in Communication Studies at West Chester University, with an emphasis on marketing and mass media. Now he spends way too much time on social media.


Adam Barnard

@thisisgoober | @adambphotos

Writing and photography helped Adam find his voice in adolescence, using each as a means of expression and release in an often chaotic, remarkably random, but never dull, life. These days, as a father of three, opportunities to rage against the machine may not be as prevalent as they once were, but the fire continues to rise. Adam is a West Chester University alumni, majoring in history, and spent his collegiate career hosting one of the most popular radio shows in 91.7 FM, WCUR’s history. He’s a certified geek, well before it was fashionable, and an avid hip-hop enthusiast. He currently resides in Coatesville, PA, with his wife, children, and dog.


Tom Raski


1995 seems like a lifetime ago. I was in my late 20s, working at a Pennsylvania newspaper for merely a few years when the editor asked me to design a new-fangled teen section. Being that I was nowhere near being a teenager myself, I reluctantly welcomed the chance to do something artsy. The editor of our new teen section (Carol) was on board and somehow got the angsty group of inaugural panel members – who didn’t even know or like each other yet – to agree on a name: Reality. Little did I know that section would continue to grow in the coming years. As time went on, we were overwhelmed by applicants and actually had to go through a selection process. The weekly subjects covered by our ambitious young writers ranged from fun to deadly-serious, and everything in between. Sadly, in 2017, the paper was sold to a company that did its own page design, and I was out. Rising from the ashes is a 2.0 version of what we started more than two decades ago, Harsh Reality. The idea is to enlist our hundreds of former reality writers who have so much more to say now that they’re older, wiser and probably even a little more jaded, giving them an all-access pass to an online platform where they will be writing about anything and everything relevant.

We’ll see what happens, and I’m happy to be part of the team. The censors are no longer a factor.

Sarah Wilson

I hail from the Last Frontier and became myself in the suburbs of the City of Brotherly Love. In my reckless youth, I behaved like the long lost love child of Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen. I practiced devising bon mots in the margins of my trigonometry notes and treated my English class to a lengthy discussions linking indie rock songs to canonical works of literature. I was bookish, but way too cool for school. Or at least for high school. I earned my bachelor’s degree at St. John’s College, a small, eccentric liberal arts school in Annapolis, MD, and then embarked on my wanderings. I’ve been lucky enough to live in West Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon, rural Northern California, New York City, and the area around Richmond, Virginia, where I spent three years as a reporter and editor at a small newspaper, covering every type of story under the sun. I wasn’t just Gal Friday. I was gal Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, too. Watching people and communities wrestle with some of the world’s thorniest problems as a journalist inspired me to enter the world of public policy. I attended the University of California, Berkeley where I studied a broad-ranging curriculum that merged political science, economics, and statistics and graduated with my master’s degree in 2016. I now work as a policy analyst in Washington D.C. In my free-time, I’m passionate about improv, art, cinema, and literature. I still love journalism and my next goal is to resume fiction writing.

Valerie Bell


Valerie is a graduate of Rider University, where she earned a B.A. in public relations, with a minor in health communication. In her free time, she enjoys reading autobiographies, watching sitcoms, and visiting Hershey Park. Her favorite author is C.S. Lewis and her favorite show to binge-watch is “How I Met Your Mother.”


Faith Brachelli


Faith is lover of dogs, food, photography, film, and all things music related. She is
currently studying at Penn State University earning a degree in Digital Journalism and Media.
Faith has been described as friends as being a “rough and tough flower child at heart” and has
since used that as how she describes herself.

Lauren Mateer


Lauren is a freelance copywriter and editor currently based in New Zealand – the fourth country she’s lived in over the last five years. Thoroughly infected with the travel bug, after studying journalism at Ithaca College and publishing at the National University of Ireland, Galway, she spent a year in Seattle and a year in Vancouver before moving into a van for a three-month cross-country road trip. Six months ago she took off for windy Wellington, but she still has love for her Bucks County, PA, roots. An insatiable bookworm, pop culture fanatic, and soccer die-hard, she can usually be found glued to her kindle, binging Netflix, swearing at a referee, or writing about any of the above. 

Lexy Pathickal


Lexy is a student at Penn State University main campus where she is a double major in Political Science and Economics with a minor in Spanish, set to graduate in 2021. She enjoys reading and writing poems in her free time as well as watching The Daily Show on the daily. Her favorite shows are House of Cards, Game of Thrones, and Community.


Karl Custer Jr.

@UncleYo on Twitter
Uncle Yo on Youtube

Originally a member of REALITY class of 2001-2003, Karl became a playwright, podcaster, puppeteer, Audible narrator, theater producer and stand-up comedian after graduating from Purchase College in 2018. He has since transplanted to NYC and enjoys tabletop RPG’s, indoor rock climbing, and photographing his cats.

Andy Vineberg


Andy is a former sports and features writer with the Bucks County Courier Times and Burlington County Times. He spent the last 17 years as editor of reality, the teen section that launched the writing careers of most of the people on this site. After 30 years in journalism, he’s not sure what he wants to do next , but is fairly confident it will involve writing in some capacity. He’s the proud father of a young adult son and soon-to-be-young-adult daughter who, thankfully, share his passion for Philly sports. (It’s in the blood.) He’s also an unabashed movie and music nerd who stubbornly hangs on to his 2006 iPod Classic (filled with 18,500 songs) and will be forever convinced that there’s a little man in the device who determines which songs come up on shuffle.

Carol Robidoux/Editor


Carol is an evolutionary journalist who’s still standing after years of newsroom climate change, from the primitive 1990s where reporters roamed wild and typewriters were a thing, to her current gig –  publisher of, a hyperlocal online news site. She previously was a columnist and youth editor for the Bucks County  Courier Times, night reporter for the NH Union Leader and Local Editor for AOL’s She can’t resist throwback funk and R&B, or pistachios. She’s married to Jim, her high school sweetheart, and has given birth to four humans, all grown. In her spare time she’s mothered hundreds of others who come seeking guidance, food, and encouragement, and who end up staying for the kinship. Her dog, Roxy, hates her two cats, Bella and Luna. But coexisting is the key to life.


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