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
Friday, December 27, 2013
Stories that stuck with me in 2013
There are two stories from 2013 that I won't forget. Stories that I didn't have to look back through my Twitter and Facebook feeds* to be reminded to include in this list. On the surface, the subjects of these two stories were very different.

If I could recommend just one to read it would be, "Into the lonely quiet" by Eli Saslow in The Washington Post. I won't share an excerpt because that wouldn't be fair. This gripping account of one family's grieving after the Newtown shooting drew emotions out of me unlike anything else I read this year. The Lonely Quiet.

My second favorite from this year came from a radically different source: a college newspaper. "The End of the Waffle House," showed the power of simple, detail-laden storytelling, and as smarter commentators have already said, it's a story that gets better as it goes. The End of the Waffle House.

Two long magazine pieces tackled well-known subjects in surprising ways. I read both of these straight through to the last word:

:: "The Hanging," the true story of the Census worker found dead in Kentucky
:: Jahar's World, the (undeservedly) controversial profile of a Boston bomber

(Incidentally, I'm now on Pinterest, where despite popular demand for recipes and home decor, I mostly curate collections of interesting obituaries, longform stories and newspaper nerdery. Follow me on Pinterest.)


I'm reading more and more sports writing, especially from Deadspin and Grantland, and an especially large helping of sports profiles and histories from decades past. Three very different stories stand out to me in 2013:

:: Manti Te'o's Dead Girlfriend ... Is A Hoax, from Deadspin
:: Retracing Chris Davis's run, an observant, quick-turn story about improbable Auburn
:: The Worst Baseball Card of All Time, at Slate, the best of all the baseball card stories I read this year

I've also been reading Joe Posnanski's "Baseball 100," his rundown of the best 100 players of all time.


In this loose category I want to mark down and revisit a pair of the most ruthless reviews I've ever read, and a couple of non-review-but-entertainment-related stories. First, the mean ones.

I thought this Washington Post review of the new Arcade Fire record would set an unmatchable mean standard. Titled, "Arcade Fire’s ‘Reflektor’: Still devoid of wit, subtlety and danger, now with bongos," includes this gem: "... it’s hard to decide whether to laugh, barf or weep for the future of rock-and-roll itself." Post link.

Not to be outdone, Rolling Stone looked back at one of the most popular songs of the year and called it "The Worst Song of This or Any Other Year." Writing about "Blurred Lines," he writes, "As a connoisseur of pop trash, I'm baffled I can't find anything to like about a song this bad. That's part of why I hate it." Here's what it's like to embrace being a hater.

Must mention, "Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie," a novel exercise in all-access journalism. And, in honor of the passing of a truly great critic, who grew and grew as a model journalist in my mind the past few years, here's an elegant item about Roger Ebert ... by The Onion.

The Tennessean

I probably wrote well over 100 stories this year, and I think back fondly on some of the funny ones, and with pride about the work I put into stories, often co-bylined with my colleagues, on some of the year's most important government coverage and investigative efforts in the state. That said, the two stories that I think of first when reviewing 2013 are the following:

:: "Rape victim reclaims her power by helping others," a simple narrative, part of a three-part collection of stories, that stemmed from one of the most moving interviews I've ever done.

:: "407-pound teen, sister die within 4 months," the story about the deaths of two siblings that most thoroughly pulled together nearly a year's worth of learning about the state's child welfare system.

* To assemble this list, I used All My Tweets to help comb through my 2013 tweets.

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