On today’s episode Anthony Noto of the NY 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 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.
Jered: Welcome to this week's episode of Coffee with a Journalist. We have cups full of coffee, we have a really cool journalist sitting next to us and we have some exciting conversation that's ahead. I'm Jered Martin. Im the Co-founder and COO here at OnePitch.
Beck: And I'm Beck Bamberger, also the founder of OnePitch, the CEO of BAM Communications, and a former journalist and now I get to do the interviewing of journalists, which is a lot of fun. Today, we are having Anthony Noto from the NY Business Journal and he actually loves coffee, so we talked about coffee for a little bit and your going to hear about that right now.
Beck: Anthony Noto from New York Business Journal.
Anthony: That's me.
Beck: We're here today, Coffee with a Journalist. You're drinking coffee. Hallelujah. Some people are not drinking coffee on the show.
Anthony: I needed this cup of coffee, like you have no idea.
Beck: Oh, oh rough night?
Anthony: Yeah, it was.
Beck: Rough day?
Anthony: Yeah, it shouldn't have been, but it was a fun night.
Anthony: And now this cup of coffee is saving me right now.
Beck: Excellent. Well, it's black, you don't drink it with anything. Nothing? You just…
Anthony: Normally I do.
Anthony: But I just, I needed it that badly that I was just, you know, let's forget it. Let's just go right to the coffee. Not gonna waste my time on half and half and sugar.
Beck: Just straight. Just straight. Okay. Well hopefully our conversation today will liven you up, give you some energy.
Anthony: Yeah, I'm energized, this is a lot of fun. I can't thank you enough for putting me in a big enough room. This is great.
Beck: We're in our very fancy studio right now. Courtesy of WeWork.
Anthony: This is like where Superman used to change in the 40s in the telephone booth.
Beck: This is pretty much it, this is the booth. Exactly. Well, first let's get into, because I saw it and I'm excited about this, the coffee. You take lots of pictures of coffee, you draw your coffee, you... Tell us about coffee, and how that came to be for you.
Anthony: Well, there was a time where I wasn't doing much at the office, because it was a late night, and I had finished my work, but I didn't have a place to be, so I just hung out, I had some time to kill, and I looked at this Starbucks cup that was all red for the Christmas season, and I was like, I'm gonna design Spiderman on it and see what happens. And from there I went to the Flash, and then from there I went to Where on Earth is Carmen San Diego…
Beck: This is on your Instagram, by the way, I see, yeah, in case you were interested.
Anthony: That picture over there, I just couldn't resist the Hamilton reference, I'm not gonna throw away my shot, on my espresso shot. And then I got a little bit crazy, I looked at the logo, which is a like a mermaid. And I started messing around with that as... I made it into a PacMan, a piranha, It, Pennywise, I mean. And then there's Wonder Woman. So yeah, and then recently I just started paying homage to rockstars. So David Bowie, Starbucks man, and Kiss.
Beck: Just 'cause it was a late night and you were like, let's do it. So now, okay, wait wait wait. But do you now do this with your cups when you get them, your to go cups, or is this just a once before thing?
Anthony: Well I was planning on not doing it anymore, because there's another artist on Instagram that does it way better than I do, I follow him, at least I think it's a him, it might be a her. But whoever it is, is just a wonderful artist and they do it way better than I do. SO I think I need a new shtick.
Beck: Okay, okay.
Anthony: So, that's why I think, you know, you sort of saw me do Batman, Jor-El from Superman, gosh, how many Superman references am I gonna make on this podcast?
Beck: I don't know. Is that a thing?
Anthony: It is a thing. I gotta stop.
Beck: Maybe you want to be, you aspire to be, sorta, kinda?
Anthony: He was a journalist.
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.
Anthony: Yeah, I mean, I had my moments.
Anthony: They said I had a good presence, I guess, I don't know.
Beck: Now wait, what did Source Media focus on? I'm not too familiar.
Anthony: Source Media's a bunch of publications it's like…
Beck: It's a conglomerate.
Anthony: Oh yeah... conglomerate's a strong word, it's like an umbrella company for a bunch of financial news publications.
Anthony: So you have The Bond Buyer, which is a big one, American Banker, which is a great publication, Financial Planning, stuff like that.
Beck: Got it. Was it fun?
Anthony: Source Media was fun. For the most part, because I got to travel a lot, that was my favorite part of the job. It could easily be one of the worst parts of the job because I don't like flying. But other than that, it was a lot of fun. I got to see Chicago for the first time, I went to some fun corporate events in Florida, Arizona, they sent me to LA where I got to stay at the Beverly Hilton, which I never imagined myself doing, so it was a lot of fun, I got to meet some interesting folks. It was a little weird, interviewing private equity folks, they're not exactly the most down to earth people…
Beck: Vibrant? Lacking in vibrancy?
Anthony: To say the least, yeah.
Beck: Okay, interesting interview pool. Okay.
Anthony: Probably gonna piss off a few people, but I actually, I don't care, I think private equity is a crazy industry and its stupid and they should, they need a shakeup because I think that they scam companies and so I left Source Media with a little bit of a bitterness toward private equity companies, but other than that it was a good job. It was a good time. And my editor was really great. I've always had great editors. Mary Kathleen Flynn was my editor at Source Media, Tony Boldo was my editor The Deal, and they really trained me to do what I do today.
Beck: I think that quote there, “and I don't care”, is the hallmark of journalism. Isn’t it?
Anthony: Yeah, you can't care
Beck: You can't.
Anthony: Sometimes you should because you don't wanna burn bridges in certain instances, because one story plants the flag for the next story, so you wanna revisit topics, but for the most part, you can't let what other folks think of you, let me rephrase, you can't let that matter.
Beck: You can't let that matter. I love that, no one’s talked about that yet, about how you just can't give a crap.
Anthony: You can't. 'Cause then you're not doing the job. I mean I think that a lot of journalists, unfortunately, they get swept up in offending people and when they have a story, a really great story, it can't go to print. Like the story about, it was about Donald Trump. When, back in 2016, right before the Access Hollywood tape came out. The woman who was originally supposed to break that story was from Fox News. And the story was killed.
Beck: Oh, I didn't know that.
Anthony: It came out later, I forget her name, but she felt awful when they killed that story. She had put in all the work, checked off all the boxes. It was not a situation where she just took the topic and just went with it just to grab headlines, she did a lot of work on it. And because Fox News was compromised, they were like “No, we're gonna kill this story.” And then somebody else took it.
Beck: Of course.
Anthony: But you know, good for the person who took the story, but at first, when you worry about what people think, and you let that interfere with your honest coverage…
Beck: Or your news outlet is biased, frankly.
Anthony: Yeah, and if that reaches the top, that's when you know it’s bad because that's when you end up with, it could have swayed the election. Most definitely.
Beck: Wow. Damn. Now have you had a point of that in your career? You were mentioning you had a great editor, so you haven't had people who are like “Yeah, Anthony, no I don't like that.”
Anthony: No, no. I wish my reporting was a little bit more investigative, so maybe I would've ended up in that situation, like, well we can't, let’s think about this, but I honestly don't think that would ever happen with the folks that I've learned under. Yeah.
Beck: That's good
Anthony: Yeah. They were great.
Beck: So now, now according to my fancy form here, you have storyboard artist listed.
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 story boarder 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.
Beck: We could, do you wanna talk about, real quick, like what do you love about it?
Anthony: Well it actually, it kind of is... Superman for me represents a lot of things that I love, including filmmaking, comics, and journalism. I live near the Daily News, which is where they filmed the Daily Planet, the Daily Planet scenes in the original Richard Donner movies. I'm a big comic book fan, Superman is one of my favorite characters, and the movie has a lot of like groundbreaking aspects to it, special effects wise, and that sort of thing, the original. And so I kinda look to him as sort of this mesh of all things that I love.
Beck: All rolled into one person. Damn. That's just great. I wonder what the PR version of that is.
Anthony: Oh, I have no idea.
Beck: I don't know, I don't know right now but, we'll look into that.
Beck: Okay, so now, you're at the Business Journal, which we were talking a little bit about this, the Business Journal, all the Business Journals that are out there across the country are pretty much collectively owned under a holding company. So just to let people know…
Anthony: Advanced Publications.
Beck: Yep, Advanced Publications. So they own San Diego Business Journal, the Orange County Business Journal, Los Angeles Business Journal, the New York Business Journal, and all the different ones.
Anthony: I think he's the 12th richest guy in New York. I think I saw that recently.
Beck: The 12th? Damn.
Anthony: Something like that, maybe the 7th, I don't know. I know he's in the top 10. So I shouldn't have said 12th, I think he's in the top 10. Newhouse, and I saw that in Business Insider, this week. And so, it’s got a rich owner and its 43 markets, something like that. I am part of the digital segment, so it’s me, Chicago, and LA, and the rest are actual newspapers.
Beck: I actually know the one in San Diego. Comes every week with a little edition.
Anthony: Yeah, San Diego's a great one.
Beck: It is a good one. And the scene is getting better and better there. But, I digress, because let's talk about this more, so in this current role, and by the way, I see you are not on Twitter. Wait, it said disabled on my note here.
Anthony: Oh, because you have…
Beck: I have disabled. Disabled Twitter.
Anthony: I might have changed my handle, and maybe that's why it looks disabled, yeah.
Beck: Okay, well for everyone who's listening, what is the handle, so we know?
Beck: I am Tony Noto, okay. Tony. So, a shortening.
Beck: Okay, so I am Tony Noto. Do you find Twitter to be of value as a journalist?
Anthony: Yes, it’s like one giant newsfeed. Sometimes, I don't tweet as much as I would like to because I just feel like its yelling down an empty hallway. Like no one's gonna hear you, but it's a great way to... if you are... I’ll just put it this way, if you have a lot of followers, you get a lot of retweets, and some of that news gets pushed up, you can get an idea as to what's trending and... yeah, that’s Twitter.
Beck: Well they're changing things too, but…
Anthony: What are they changing?
Beck: I read some article, and they're changing it more into themes, instead of individuals, but that's a whole rabbit hole we could get into, not for this podcast because it's gonna change in two weeks, three weeks anyways, so. There's that, but let's talk about just, your day to day. How do you sift through the pitches you get, and what does that day look like, you were mentioning your inbox can get crazy.
Anthony: Yes, and I can feel bad sometimes because I can tell that there are a lot of great stories coming my way but I just can't, I can't cover everything. And I try to, I try to cover as much as possible. I try to give some of the folks who are pitching the stories a heads up that it’s on the agenda, that I will get back to them, I try my best, sometimes not so successful, but it’s difficult.
Beck: Do you have a technique you use, or is there any tools or anything, I mean obviously we're biased with OnePitch but we don't need to talk about that.
Anthony: I would love to use OnePitch more.
Beck: Well yes, but, like what do you do? How do you get to inbox zero? Or do you? Some people just don't.
Anthony: I just bam, bam, bam, I just go from the top, all the way to the bottom and I just try to get through it by the end of the day.
Beck: So every day, okay.
Anthony: Yeah, 'cause if I miss a day then it shoots up to like 200, 300 unread messages and it’s just a killer.
Beck: Now do you delete purely by subject line then? Some people actually read every one.
Anthony: I can tell sometimes what stories can be deleted right away. But then there's others where I will read it, even if it’s a story that I can't cover, like I get a lot of pitches on movie screenings and I don't go to movie screenings, but it’s certainly news I’d like to know, who's producing what, not like big movie screenings, I'm not getting invited to the Avengers or anything, but like little indie films, documentaries, that sort of thing. There's other ones where I try to find, if not the topic that they're pitching, but maybe someone within that company that can maybe help me out with a different topic. Or if there's not really a news angle, but I want to feature that person in a certain way, I will incorporate them into this series that I created for Business Journals called “My NYC”, where I ask them, every person that is interviewed gets the same questions: Where do they like to eat in New York, what do they think of the startup community in New York, that sort of thing, what advice did they get from entrepreneurs that inspire them, or financier that inspire them.
Beck: Where can we find that?
Anthony: They kinda get posted at random on New York Business Journal, but on my LinkedIn there's one of the articles that I wrote has links to a bunch of them. The two articles that I wrote on LinkedIn. So, you can sort of get like this collection of different people that were featured in “My NYC” articles.
Beck: “My NYC.” That sounds fun.
Anthony: Yeah, it’s cool.
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.
Beck: I love the murder mystery shows.
Anthony: Yeah, you can, and a lot of them are... some of them can be fiction, some of them can be nonfiction, well a lot of them are nonfiction, most of them are, and, like My Favorite Murder, like…
Beck: I love My Favorite Murder.
Anthony: Yeah, my fiancé keeps that on in the apartment and we…
Beck: The full length one or the mini-sodes? The full length.
Anthony: Oh yeah.
Beck: All of them.
Anthony: I just became a fan of that podcast through her, I'm not a... I don't listen to everything, like all of the episodes, but it's a lot of fun. I have my own stuff that I listen to, but…
Beck: What's their tag, "Stay sexy don't get murdered?"
Anthony: "Stay sexy don't get murdered.” Yeah.
Beck: We need one for you, Anthony. For your next podcast.
Anthony: Oh gosh…
Beck: Maybe Superman? We'll come up with one for you.
Anthony: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Beck: I love it. Well thank you for being here today, this was a lot of fun.
Anthony: Yeah, thank you very much.
Beck: And we'll see you on Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Anthony: I think mine is “Drink coffee and don't get murdered” maybe.
Beck: Okay, there you go.
Jered: Thanks for listening to this week’s Coffee With A Journalist featuring Anthony Noto from the Business Journal. If you're a journalist who loves coffee or a publicist who loves this podcast, we'd love to hear from you! Head to onepitch.co to drop us a line. Until then, let's end bad pitches and start great stories.
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