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
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Small college gives former foster youths a place to call home
By Tony Gonzalez
The Tennesssean

The latest trouble at Becca Griffey’s home came to light the day before her 16th birthday.

Placed into state custody for her own safety, she spent the last two years of her childhood trying to complete high school while bouncing between a pair of foster homes in East Tennessee and a group home for girls, all the way across the state, in Memphis.

“I didn’t have anybody to hold me accountable,” she said. “In school I just slid by. I did the minimum work.”

The same attitude wouldn’t be good enough in college. Griffey knew enough about herself to accept that she might need some extra guidance to make it through.

It just so happened that a small college in the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountains, close to where she grew up, was looking to recruit students just like her — teens who had “aged out” of foster care at age 18 and who might benefit from a tight-knit campus community that offers extra help for young people from broken homes.

Griffey this fall became one of the first students in the Hiwassee College HOPE Scholars program, part of a promising new push across Tennessee to do more for teens who age out of state custody.

Read the full story at

Western Union telegram Nashville
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Hiwassee College horse stables.

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