Politics & Business

Baltimore Solar Writer loves its hometown, its chosen occupation – and its wealthy Greek heritage – The Nationwide Herald

It was the magical intersectionality of food, family, and an insatiable curiosity – plus a dash of stardust known as place, place, place – that defined Triffon & # 39; Trif & # 39; s career path. Alatazas shaped.

As a teenager, Alatzas worked in his parents' busy restaurant in Baltimore. There he used his strong observation skills wisely, which he continues to serve as a reporter. "I met some of the journalists," he recalled, as many of them worked across the street from what was then the Baltimore Sun headquarters. “Some of them had papers from Richmond, Washington, New York. That has always fascinated me. And if they left her behind, I'd settle in. "

It wasn't long before his personal dig project hit Pay Dirt. In 2016 he was named publisher and editor-in-chief of Sun, one of America's most respected daily newspapers. His trip included elementary and elementary school before honing his reporting skills in Rochester, NY and Wilmington, DE.

When Alatzas returned to Baltimore and the Sun, he began his rhythmic climb through the editorial ranks. The company also publishes two smaller daily newspapers, magazines, and a number of popular weekly community newspapers.

Alatzas, 54, is married to his Milwaukee Greek-American college sweetheart and has two children. His grandfather was born in Argos in the Peloponnese and his other grandfather is from the Aegean island of Chios. At home he remembered programs like the Greek American Radio Hour that "the radio was always in the house". “We talked about politics. My parents made my sister and I watch "60 Minuten". (His sister, Michele, is married to Reverend Father Christ Kontos, who heads the St. Luke Greek Orthodox Church near Philadelphia.)

One of the darkest days, he said, came in 2018 when a lone gunman stormed into the news room of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, before shooting and killing five loved ones. Alatzas, who was in his office 30 miles north, gathered his staff together and tried to separate his feelings long enough to provide an objective, factual account of the tragedy. "I said," Hey, we have to treat this story like anything else. "I got in my car and drove to Annapolis. I wanted to be with my staff and the families of the victims."

During these uncertain times, as the pandemic continues to claim the lives of Americans on a daily basis, the parent company made the decision to close its own newsrooms and move them to remote areas. While the elixir of life in journalism is collegiality at its core, the associated health risk has made it impossible to continue the age-old formula of reporters and editors working under one roof.

"We are like any other newsroom in the country and work virtually," he noted, whose personable, oversized personality prevailed. “You work with people who are incredibly committed to what they do. It's a tough job, like any job. Technology is a great opportunity not to miss a beat. "

Under the leadership of Alatzas, Sun employees won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Local Coverage. "Insightful" and "effective" are adjectives the judges use to describe how reporters uncovered a coincidence between former Mayoress Catherine Pugh and the public hospital system that put Pugh behind bars for three years. At a time when the media is the subject of unprecedented scrutiny, the core mission has not let up. "We have to go through all these times when it really comes down to trustworthy information," he said passionately. Whether in print or via digital platforms, he added, "It's an incredible responsibility to provide information that people cannot find anywhere else."

Recognizing the increasing overlap of pendulum patterns, the Census Bureau combined Baltimore and Washington. With the official name, the fourth largest metro area in the country was created. But Alatzas, forever rooted in his Charm City roots, acknowledges the changes. "Baltimore has always had a chip on its shoulder that it's not Washington. And it's not. We have our own teams and our own identities. Cities are so different, but as the world has changed, we have people who live between the two. "

While he is rightly proud of his outstanding achievements, including designing a newsroom structure that became the model for other newspapers across the country, Alatzas returned to his Greek upbringing and how it shaped him. "I've been very active in the community," said St. Demetrios in Baltimore County. “I was an acolyte, president of Junior GOYA, the dance group. I made lifelong friends there. It has a special place in my life. "

While success can play mind games, Alatzas rarely does, assured his brother-in-law, Rev. Pastor Christ Kontos. “He keeps it real. He's as humble as cake. "When the editor's and publisher's hat comes off, he's a loving father, big brother, and very caring son to his parents." He added, “Trif never misses a family vacation. You always have priority. "

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