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
Monday, July 01, 2013
It may not be home, but it's what these grandparents need
By Tony Gonzalez
The Tennesssean

SMITHVILLE, TENN. — Vickie Yslas still remembers the look on her grandson’s face whenever the question came up: “Where’s your mama?”

The children who asked that of Giovanni, now 10 years old, weren’t trying to be mean. They just wanted to know.

That kind of thing doesn’t happen much these days, at their apartment inside the Fiddler’s Annex complex in Smithville. That’s because Giovanni fits in with the other kids in one important way:
They’re all being raised by grandparents.

In a rather unremarkable yellow one-story building, surrounded by tall grasses at the end of a cul-de-sac, a remarkable experiment is unfolding. It’s the nation’s one and only rural public housing project established specifically for grandparents with children in their care.

“In our little enclosed subdivision, everybody’s the same status. Right next door, that’s grandma and grandpa. Down the hall, that’s grandpa and grandma,” said Yslas, 55. “That’s one burden that’s lifted.

And he fits in — to see he’s not the only one with grandma and grandpa.”

The nine apartments are here because of a federally funded effort to meet the needs of the growing numbers of grandparents raising grandchildren.

Read the full story at

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