Community journalist shares his experience and knowledge for storytelling

By Layal Srour
March 2, 2021

Journalism is to spread stories with a human element that benefits the community, 6abc community journalist said Monday.

“The concept of community journalism is positive, personal, feel-good news,” Matteo Iadonisi, the first 6abc community journalist, said.

The Society of Collegiate Journalists at Cabrini hosted a speaker event on Monday, Feb. 22 at 4 p.m. with a 6abc community journalist. The event consisted of 28 communication students and three professors of the communication department.

About the Journalist

Matteo Iadonisi, 24 years old, graduated from Rowan University with two bachelor’s degree in radio/TV/film and journalism with a focus in production and multimedia. At Rowan, he was was the production director for WGLS, the university’s radio station.

Using his rapping talents, Iadonisi joined his parents band, Adonis Orchestra, in 2014. Aside from the band, he is also a DJ and emcee for private parties, fashion shows, banquets, etc. In 2013, he adopted the name “Mat4yo” on YouTube sharing his rapping and lyrical skills to analyze other creative works. These skills ultimately led him to doing small projects with 6abc.

For the past four years, Iadonisi works as a videographer and editor for Dreamcatchers Film & Media Production Group “capturing precious moments at weddings and parties in the Delaware Valley.”

Iadonisi knew that he wanted to be in this industry longtime, especially with 6abc, so he applied for an internship during his junior year at Rowan.

His Work

Iadonisi first interned with the station in the creative services department where he produced dozens of videos for the Action News page on Facebook. Towards the end of his internship, he produced five informational videos about the total solar eclipse, which aired the summer of 2017.

Also in the summer of 2017, he became the production assistant of the creative assistant department, allowing him more responsibilities and produce more social and commercial videos. He had the opportunity of covering the Eagles Super Bowl win and the celebration that followed.

In 2018, Iadonisi helped produce the promotional video, as well as being the editor, for Penn State’s THON. During that time, he partnered with Philly Ad Club to create commercials for a fundraiser partnered with Toyota.

His skills with lyricism and rap gave him the opportunity to create a rap battle between glazed and jelly donuts for 6abc’s National Donut Day.

At 6abc, Iadonisi also worked as the tour guide, giving students a tour around the station for those who were interested in the industry.

Currently, Iadonisi works as a community journalist for the station, where he says the idea of being a community journalist is “to not only tell stories on a digital platform and reach you guys on your fingertips or your cellphones, but also to engage younger audience, as well.”

“The concept of community journalism is positive, personal, feel-good news,” Iadonisi said.

Matteo Iadonisi with a 12-year-old boy who found his new hobby during quarantine – balloon animals and decorating lawns for birthdays.
Photo via Iadonisi’s Instagram

Although he goes out, finds the story and puts the piece together, Iadonisi finds it more rewarding to be the person behind the story and off camera.

“It tells the story from the inside-out, as opposed to the outside-in,” Iadonisi said. “My story starts inside with his voice and his voice is the one that carries the story. It shows all his raw emotion and his perspective. Frankly, I think it’s humbling in a sense that I’m not the special person in the story, I don’t have to be in it.”

He shared what it was like finding the stories and getting in contact with the subject during the pandemic.

Although they went through a period of time where they were interviewing over Zoom and asking for videos and photos to be sent to them to use as B-roll before being able to physically go out and socially distant find the stories, Iadonisi found that the content was more elevated.

“Because of the context of the pandemic, I feel like I’ve brought the stories down to earth a little bit more and it helped me learn not to make them so much of a commercial, but to focus more on the human element,” Iadonisi said.

For those who want to be in this industry, he advises “to connect with people like me. Don’t just hang up and move on with your life. Don’t be afraid to send somebody your resume and ask them for help. Don’t be afraid to send somebody your demo reel.”

“You’re in such a unique position right now to try something new. If it doesn’t work, there’s not much of a consequence to it. You’re gonna figure out that it didn’t work or you’re gonna discover something that does work. Now is the time to do it,” Iadonisi said.

“Matteo is a great role model for he has taken initiatives at all levels and in multiple ways and carefully built a successful beginning career track.  I found his ability to build stories that so often speak to the best of humanity as a highly professional and very worthwhile contribution to the region,” Dr. John Cordes, adjunct professor of communication, said. “That line of positive journalism is so deeply needed and so often ignored by major media. And I believe that he would welcome communication with any COM major who is looking for advice on building their careers.”

“He took a chance with applying to ABC Action News and look at all he has accomplished. Many of us are scared to take risks and go out of our comfort zone but taking those risks and opportunities can open the door for so much more,” Amy Kodrich, president of SCJ, said. “I think this was a great look into the world of present-day journalism. If students are interested in pursuing a career in journalism, then he is an amazing connection to have. Just hearing his stories made a huge impact on me and made me remember how much I love journalism and story creation.”


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Layal Srour

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