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Stronger newscasts a goal of new WTAE news director

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Justin Antoniotti

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Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 9:01 p.m.

Justin Antoniotti says he loves leading people who are passionate about what they do.

And that's why he is excited about being the new WTAE-TV news director, announced Thursday by Michael J. Hayes, WTAE president and general manager.

“I have already started to get to know the community and, of course, what is important to viewers,” says Antoniotti, whose first day was Thursday. “I think one of my strengths is being able to find ways to make newscasts and storytelling stronger.”

The Detroit native, who replaces Alex Bongiorno, who was at Pittsburgh's ABC affiliate for three-and-a-half years, hopes to bring a new perspective to help the staff produce more compelling news coverage. “With such a talented group of journalists, I believe there are opportunities for the news team to produce more news specials,” he says.

“He is a good fit for WTAE because the strength of our brand is our storytelling,” Hayes says. “It was up to me to find someone who is passionate about news and leading people. Justin is exactly the right person.” Pittsburgh has some of the highest-quality news and is one of the most competitive markets in the country, Hayes says. “Finding someone with a competitive spirit and willingness to get better every day in a market that demands excellence is something that is absolutely necessary.”

Antoniotti comes to WTAE after five years as news director at WYFF 4, Greenville, S.C., where he expanded local newscasts and launched a prime-time news magazine that earned the prestigious Peabody Award. During his tenure, the station received nine Station of the Year honors. His news staff received 19 regional Emmys.

Prior to WYFF, Antoniotti was assistant news director at Hearst Television's WISN-TV, Milwaukee, when it became the market's No. 1-rated station for local news.

He is a second-generation news director. His father, Steve, had a long career as news director and later general manager at several stations across the country, including Los Angeles.

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