Today, on Coffee with a Journalist, we sit down with Erika Wheless of Digiday. At…
On today’s episode, Anthony Noto of the New York Business Journal joins our host, Beck Bamberger, on Coffee with a Journalist. Anthony and Beck go into detail about his love for storytelling, reporting on Silicon Valley, and his love for all things creative.
Anthony Noto, is an established journalist with over 10 years of writing experience under his belt. Currently reporting for the New York Business Journal, a majority of Anthony’s work focuses on Silicon Valley startups and venture capitalism. After college, Anthony began reporting for the Deal LLC and editing for SourceMedia, where he participated in writing and editing newsletters, analyzing data, establishing social pages, and much more. Soon after, he transitioned to his freelance storyboard artist career and specializes in film, commercial, and advertising materials.
Beck: He was, this is true. Okay. Let’s get into that part. ‘Cause you have had a trajectory, somewhat, we’re gonna talk about it, that has been journalist pathway, pretty much the whole time. Sometimes I talk with people and they’re like, “I was doing political affairs, I was doing this other thing, I was a volunteer in Africa, and then I was like, journalism, hey, you know, why not?” But you went to school for journalism and got it at State University of New Jersey, am I saying that right? Rutgers?
Anthony: Rutgers, Rutgers University.
Beck: Okay, you did that, now, as we mentioned, you’re at the Business Journal of New York, but before that, and you had some internships and stuff, and you even worked, I believe, at the school paper, high school?
Anthony: Yeah, got to start with the school paper.
Beck: You gotta do that, you gotta do that. But what, even before that, made you go “Oh, I could do this?”
Anthony: Before the school paper stuff?
Beck: Before the school paper.
Anthony: So like pre-high school and college.
Beck: Yeah, I mean, were you a kid and you were like, “I wanna be a journalist when I grow up?”
Anthony: I was a nosy kid. I was always asking questions, I liked to sit at the adult table and take part in their conversations, I always got a little mad when they used to talk about stuff that they didn’t want me to hear, and then they went into Italian, which I didn’t appreciate, so I learned Italian to sort of figure out what people were saying. So, I guess that was the early stage of me trying to be like an investigative journalist. You know, like I tried to figure out what the adults were thinking. And I love telling stories. And I think that’s where it begins for most people. At least I hope. You have to tell a good story. And sometimes, stories aren’t that great, but the job of a reporter is to make them great. And I always appreciated that aspect of the job.
Beck: And then, you were in high school and you thought, “Yeah, alright, let me get on the school paper.”
Anthony: Right, well in high school, it was a little different because I didn’t want to work that hard, in high school, so I basically just, well what happened was I worked in like the film section of the school paper. And I started writing about movies and then from there I went into the comics section, I started illustrating the comics, and so that was really what I did in high school. It wasn’t until college where I got really involved in the metro section of the Rutgers paper, where I was sort of like this lesion between the city of New Brunswick and the university. And that was a lot of fun. I wrote some really nice stories there. And from there I got the internships at ABC News and from there I got a job with the Daily Deal, which is one of the, well it was one of the greatest financial publications, and at the time when the market was crashing…
Beck: Yeah, you were there in 2008 to 2011.
Anthony: And that was like a big wakeup call because I didn’t know anything about bankruptcy or merges and acquisitions and my time there was a big education.
Beck: And then from there?
Anthony: From there I went to Source Media, where I got involved in the merges and acquisitions magazine, did a lot of video, I was an on-air talent, as they say, not much of a talent, because I don’t think I was that good.
Beck: Okay, good self-reflection, good self -reflection.
Beck: So tell us about that because we have artist and reporter at the same time.
Anthony: This is so weird. Because…
Beck: We did our research, Anthony.
Anthony: I know, you did. I was hoping we were just gonna wing it. We were gonna talk about you, I was hoping to talk about you.
Beck: No, we’re not winging it here.
Anthony: Alright. Well, I do a lot of stuff. I love film. And I like working in film. I haven’t done as much storyboard art recently, but, gosh, I love it. It’s so much fun. And it was while I was at Source Media that I met my friend John Kerrara, who’s a great filmmaker, and he had to film a commercial for American Banker, the newspaper, and he said, “Why don’t you be my storyboard artist for this commercial?” So I was like, yes, I’m in, and I went home and I Googled storyboard artist, I didn’t know… I was familiar with that’s how they filmed a lot of movies, like they needed storyboard artists, but I just, I wasn’t familiar, so I looked up, I see you’re typing it right now-
Anthony: Like there’s that stuff, but I went to a video from Pixar. And they showed how the storyboards for Toy Story matched up with the film. And it’s pretty exact and so when I went to John with my illustrations, he was happy with them, and the commercial pretty much lines up almost exactly to what I drew and I just thought that was the greatest thing ever. I felt like, almost, like I made the commercial with him. And from there I did a few short films as a storyboard artist and from there I went to assistant directing, and production assistant, so… yeah, that’s somewhat that I hope to continue doing.
Beck: Well it’s also storytelling in a way.
Anthony: Oh yeah. Absolutely.
Beck: So the whole theme here is storytelling.
Beck: I like that. One is with words and then the other is with drawing, in this case, by moment to moment, and then it executes and gets put into the reality.
Anthony: That’s exactly right, yeah.
Beck: I haven’t had a storyboarder before, someone who’s like yeah, I like to draw that, I do that. Did you, as a kid or anything, were you always doodling, drawing, or kinda where did the art part come into play? I know you mentioned the coffee thing, but like was there an origin story to that?
Anthony: Yes, in school I was always getting yelled at for talking too much, but I remember at one time I was going through my old stuff and my mom saved the accommodation report from when I was in kindergarten and my teacher at the time said “talks a lot, but great artist.” Or something like that. So, I was just illustrating since I was a kid, the typical stuff, like superheroes, and cartoon characters…
Anthony: Definitely Superman. We should just talk about superman for the rest of the… we might as well.
His View on the Future of Journalism
Beck: Yeah. Okay, now let’s go into the future of what you think journalism is gonna be about and what that maybe looks like. Seems like you’re never gonna leave storytelling, that’s gonna be the case. I mean, I think it’ll evolve…
Anthony: I don’t know, I might just quit, this week, start doing, I don’t know…
Anthony: Drawings, yeah, just on the sidewalk, okay.
Beck: You know what you could do, is sit at the Starbucks, and when people come out be like “Do you want a custom drawing on your cup? One dollar.”
Anthony: That’s actually a pretty good idea.
Beck: I think people would go for that.
Anthony: I think so.
Beck: But New Yorkers are fast-paced. So, they might be like “I don’t have time for five minutes of drawing a thing in a circle.”
Anthony: I’d have to be like Williamsburg, Brooklyn or something like that.
Beck: Yeah, you’d need to be in a little more slow…
Anthony: Little more slow.
Beck: Yeah. Yeah, okay, well…
Anthony: Very slow.
Beck: That’s another career pursuit for you. But in all seriousness, what’s your take on media today? The current state of it and the future state.
Anthony: I don’t know if I’m the guy to talk about that, but I’ll try.
Beck: Just your opinion though, doesn’t need to be right, I can’t say anyone has been right, ’cause we just don’t know.
Anthony: Well to be honest, I don’t really think about it as much anymore, because I know what I like and I know what’s good, like I know that CNN’s always gonna be around, Fox News is always gonna be around, but they have an agenda. But every news reporter has an agenda, but you have to be I think… so for example, I listen to a lot of NPR. I start my day off with NPR.
Beck: Me too.
Anthony: And I just think that that’s the way to go. If you’re feeling like you’re just not getting what you need out of the major media conglomerates, there are news sources out there that are way more in depth and much more balanced. And NPR is just great. WNYC every morning. I think that the big companies have to take inspiration from those players.
Beck: Would you do it again, get into journalism, if you were to go back to your high school self?
Anthony: I don’t have any regrets, really. I love journalism, but I think if I were to go back, maybe I would’ve gotten involved, knowing what I know today, like if I can just do the “I Dream of Jeannie” and like just transport, I would’ve gotten more involved in radio, I think. I would have never have been able to predict podcasting. So, when I did radio, here we are, yeah, so if I did, I loved doing radio in college and I wasn’t very good, but I could’ve gotten better, I think. And I love podcasts, and so if I had known that, maybe I would have honed that ability a little bit more, but you can’t beat being able to write, like being a writer and a reporter are two different things. And I’d like to think that I got better at being both in recent years. At least I hope I have, but I think podcasting is so much fun. And it’s like talk radio on demand. And you can mess around with it, you can do like these murder mystery shows.
Thanks, for listening to our chat with Anthony Noto from the New York Business Journal! Be sure to subscribe for more great conversations with journalists from some of your favorite publications. Anthony gave some great insight that you could incorporate in your next PR pitch. Head on over to your profile, create that perfect pitch, and we will take it from there! We look forward to reading it.