tony gonzalez journalist
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Online portfolio and blog by Tony Gonzalez, family issues reporter for The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville. I married my high school sweetheart, Katie, a designer and bookbinder. I like juggling, maps, baseball, and bullmastiffs.

Two years at The Tennessean, July 2011 to present. Three years reporting and editing at The News Virginian, 2008 to 2011. Editor of college and high school newspapers. Internships at The Star Tribune, The Detroit News, and The Toledo Free Press. Chips Quinn Scholar 2007.

Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors 2012 statewide Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting, as well as the Freedom of Information award, for Department of Children's Services project.

Gannett company-wide award 2012 for Watchdog Journalism

Associated Press Managing Editors 2010 International Perspective First Place for "The Borders Within," as well as Public Service Honorable Mention for investigation into troubled children's psychiatric hospital

2009 and 2010 winner, with staff, of the Virginia Press Association's highest award: the Award for Journalistic Integrity and Community Service.

Virginia Press Association 2008, 2009, and 2010 awards for crime, investigative, breaking news, and feature writing

2011 Robert Novak Fellow

Michigan Collegiate Press Association "Journalist of the Year" 2008

Chips Quinn Scholar, Class of 2007

Civil Rights Project DCS project
Borders Within Multimedia
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Disney fans find fairytale deals at Middle Tennessee outlet stores
By Tony Gonzalez
The Tennesssean

MURFREESBORO — In the next two weeks, Sharayah Wells will tally another trip from La Vergne to Disney World, where the 25-year-old dresses as Snow White before gliding into the theme park with her son.

Once inside, Wells plans to meet other fans of animated fairy tales and trade collectible lapel pins shaped like Mickey Mouse, Tinker Bell and the Mad Hatter. On casual days, she’ll wear one of at least 100 Disney T-shirts she owns, walking through the park in her one-of-a-kind Disney character shoes, hand-painted by her sister.

Wells is among the true believers in Disney, and one of hundreds all over the world who feed their collections — and their obsessions — with visits to Middle Tennessee. The Character Depot off Interstate 24 in Murfreesboro is one of two remaining Disney merchandise stores in the area and a half-dozen discount outlets nationwide. It touts deep discounts and rotating offerings that keep ‘em coming back throughout its two-month holiday stint, which ends Jan. 1.

Wells visited this week, looking over T-shirts, but didn’t buy. She said she won’t resist for long.

“I feel they find me,” Wells said. “That’s kind of nerdy, but I’m OK with it.”

This story is archived at he

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