Staff profile: Meet Tony Battaglia of the Erie Times-News and GoErie.com
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Meet Tony Battaglia
I am a content coach and copy editor for the Erie Times-News. I started with the Times-News in October of 1998 as a stringer and technical paginator in the sports department. After spending most of my career as a page designer and copy editor in sports and news, I moved into the features realm in 2020 to take a primary role as Showcase and House To Home editor.
I was born in Akron, Ohio (yes, I'm a Guardians and Browns fan), but moved to Wattsburg when I was in second grade. I'm a graduate of Seneca High School and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. After college, I worked as the sports editor at a small daily paper in Kane and also for the former Brown Thompson newspapers in Erie County before coming to the Times-News.
Why I became a journalist
From as far back as I can remember — which is about the mid-to-late 1970s — I've had a love for sports, entertainment and politics that made it clear which path I would take. I worked on school papers at Seneca and IUP, and I even dabbled in radio news in college. I've always been a voracious reader of magazines, newspapers, websites and blogs, and that love has only grown in intensity over the years.
What I like best about my job
I enjoy the teamwork involved in helping to craft stories that are meaningful to the community. Whatever small touches I can add to help shape articles — whether that be through proofreading, offering editing suggestions or creating impactful headlines — gives me satisfaction in the work. It helps that I work with a talented staff of editors and reporters who inspire me with their professionalism, knowledge and desire to deliver the watchdog journalism that Erie readers want and deserve.
The best advice I can give anyone when choosing a profession is to find something you feel like you will enjoy. If you are lucky enough to discover a vocation that doesn't feel like a grind every day, then your quality of life is definitely improved.
A story I worked on that has had a lasting impact on me
I've worked on countless special sections and weekly tabs which have always been rewarding, albeit sometimes challenging. As lead designer on the Varsity high school sports tab, I'm proud of the work done by the sports staff during the tab's nearly decade-long run. I've worked on covers for the Otters' OHL championship wins in 2002 and 2017, and I've edited and designed several high school state championship covers that were memorable for those athletes' accomplishments and for the adrenaline I experienced from deadline pressure.
As far as stories I've written, a recent one that sticks out came from a lengthy conversation with "Terminator" and "Aliens" actor Michael Biehn for a story last year ahead of his appearance at the Eerie Horror Fest. Biehn opened up and revealed more than I expected, giving me a peek into his life as an iconic sci-fi actor in the hour-long interview.
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What is the biggest challenge I face?
Time management is a skill that I've worked hard to get a firm grasp on over the years, but there are so many people, places and things to write about in the Erie area, it's impossible to get to everything. The hardest decisions to make revolve around determining which events to cover and what to say about them that readers will respond to the most.
What I like to do when I’m not working
I like spending time with my family, including my fiancee Carrie; my two adult daughters, Samantha and Ashley; Carrie's three sons, Austin, Michael and Aidan; and our combined three grandchildren, Carson, Westin and Ayrabella. We also have three dogs and two cats which provide daily entertainment.
I enjoy tackling home projects, going to local sporting events and checking out regional concerts with friends and family. I also started playing guitar when I turned 40 and have a small collection of acoustics (and one electric SG) which I'd like to add to as I grow older.
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Favorite event or Erie-area tradition
A big part of my Erie experience is visiting local restaurants and the bayfront. I also like to fish waterways in Erie County, with Eaton Reservoir being a personal favorite.
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Why journalism matters
The basic idea of getting and giving information out to inform people has taken on a life of it's own because of social media. Finding out what's true and what's not isn't always an easy task. That's why reporters and editors are vital to our community. The facts matter, and I firmly believe in objectively getting the details right. After recently joining the editorial board, I've seen up close how different ideals can sway opinion. In our hyperpartisan society, the media's role as the public's watchdog is more important than ever, especially on the local level.
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Contact Tony Battaglia at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ETNbattaglia.
Meet more of the Erie Times-News staff
David Bruce | Tim Hahn | Josh Reilly | Valerie Myers | Matthew Rink | Mike Copper | Jennie Geisler | Ed Palattella | Greg Wohlford | Jim Martin | Tom Reisenweber | Kevin Flowers | Jim Martin | Baylee Demuth | A.J. Rao | Lisa Thompson Sayers | Dana Massing | Benjamin Chambers | Tony Battaglia
This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Staff profile: Meet Tony Battaglia of the Erie Times-News and GoErie.com