WITH A FATHER WHO ENJOYED four decades in the news biz, journalism is in Joe Dionisio’s blood. Since age 5, when he first sniffed the ink of the presses at Newsday’s Long Island headquarters, it was his dream to earn low wages in an industry that would one day be crushed by cyber technology.
That dream has been a resounding success.
Washington Post — his very first byline was a terribly written letter-to-the-editor that ran in “Spider-Man” comic books when he was 8 years old.
More recently, he served as writer/ editorial researcher for a prominent White House correspondent at a major TV network. Per NDA, the outlet is confidential.
(Joe’s dad, artist Phil Dionisio, illustrated three Newsday Pulitzer Prizes, and won the Society of Professional Journalists’ 1997 award for best news graphic in the nation. Not to be outdone on the trophy shelf, Joe’s Little League team once awarded him the coveted “Participation Ribbon.”)
Besides his work as a reporter, Joe had the privilege of editing esteemed journalists such as Linda Winer of the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, and ex-chair of the Pulitzer Prize panel for drama; and art critic Justin Davidson, winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize.
Few of Dionisio’s achievements would be likely without mentor and longtime pal Stan Fischler, the prolific author of 100+ books. (Yes, Stan’s nickname, “The Hockey Maven,” did inspire the title of TheMediaMaven.net).
Joltin’ Joe accidentally bumped into Stan in a New York Thruway bathroom years ago, and has been practicing yellow journalism ever since.
Phil Dionisio with son, Joe, in the days when “husky” was an actual clothing size for boys. Writer’s wages have since thinned Joe out.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, winner of two Polk Awards
THE STEINBECK BOOK FAIR: OF
MICE AND PEN
EXCLUDING THE prestigious Pulitzer Prize, there may be no higher media honor than the George Polk Journalism Awards. For several years, Joe Dionisio helped organize its annual ceremony in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The list of Polk laureates in the 71-year history of the Long Island University event is a who’s who of media legends: Christiane Amanpour, Ted Koppel, Walter Cronkite, Jimmy Breslin, Diane Sawyer, Spike Lee, Bill Moyers, Edward R. Murrow, Peter Jennings, Morley Safer, Charles Kuralt, Red Smith, and the Watergate team of Woodward and Bernstein.
Numerous newspapers — both domestic and global, depicted below — have published Joe Dionisio’s writing. (Specific clips available upon request). Unfortunately, website paywalls and defunct or detoured hotlinks make it a challenge to keep his portfolio URLs current. As time permits, we will link more of these newspaper mastheads to The Media Maven’s journalism bylines.
A Hockey-Mad Reporter Discovers
Ice in the
AS A REPORTER at the Palm Beach Post, Joe Dionisio indulged his two childhood passions: hockey and comic books.
He holds the distinction of being the very first hockey columnist in the annals of South Florida newspapers, interviewing NHL notables like Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Mark Messier, Bernie Federko, Reijo Ruotsalainen, Bill Torrey and Teemu Selanne. He also co-hosted a hockey radio show on Miami’s WQAM.
As a player, Joltin’ Joe played ice and roller hockey in South Florida, won a state championship at the Sunshine State Games, and skated in an NHL alumni game as fill-in for Phil Esposito.
Dionisio — who has worked for four National Hockey League franchises — had ideal timing as a Post hockey writer.
His hiring coincided with three hockey births: the Florida Panthers, the short-lived semi-pro Roller Hockey Int’l (whose Hammerheads club drafted Joe), and the minor circuit Sunshine Hockey League, whose flagship team, the Blaze, called West Palm Beach home.
He earned the ultimate compliment when his literary mentor Stan Fischler wrote, “Joe Dionisio knows as much about hockey as any journalist in Canada.”
Joe’s puck prose has also appeared in many NHL books; magazines such as The Hockey News, Hockey Illustrated, Hockey Stars, New York Islanders Magazine, and Michigan Hockey Weekly; on Madison Square Garden Network’s website; and on ESPN.
John Vanbiesbrouck was the cornerstone of the Florida Panthers’ inaugural 1993 season. Joe Dionisio of the Palm Beach Post was the first American reporter to break the news that the NHL had expanded into Miami.
Hall of Famer Bernie Federko,
left, with Dionisio
Above: With Boston Bruin Bobby Orr
Below left: Gordie Howe and Joe Dionisio at a minor league game in Florida
Below right: The Sunshine Hockey League’s West Palm Beach Blaze battle the Dayton Beach Sun Devils in the mid ’90s.
WORDS TO THE WISE
“It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day
always just exactly fits the newspaper.”