Tony Sclafani ’99 is a New Yorker.
“I’m the type of guy who doesn’t like to sit still for very long. Whether it’s reporting the news or releasing newsworthy information, I love being in the middle of the action, and there’s no better arena in which to do that than right here in New York.”
As a press secretary for the New York City Fire Department, he thrives on the Big Apple pace, relishing the adrenaline rush that comes from mixing it up with the Manhattan media.
But then, Tony knows a thing or two about the fast-paced world of New York news. Last summer, he was on the Bravo TV show, Tabloid Wars, which premiered on July 24. He thought it would be an interesting experience—and a chance to show people how a newspaper comes up with stories from start to finish. According to Tony, he enjoyed the experience, though he admits that it took some time to get used to all the cameras. Adding that he was often described as “anxious and nervous” on the show, Tony insists he wasn’t at all. Sometimes celebrities are misunderstood.
Following graduation from Holy Cross in 1999, Tony worked at the Bridgeton News, a small paper with a 10,000 daily circulation. After getting his reportorial feet wet, he headed to Bridgewater, N.J., where he worked for three and a half years as a police reporter. At the Courier News, he learned how to craft a story. He covered 40 municipal police departments and clearly mastered the art of multitasking.
In December 2003, Tony joined the Daily News. “I grew up with the NEWS,” he says, “so working for them was a big goal of mine.” After three months, he was assigned to the police bureau at One Police Plaza in lower Manhattan, where he covered police and fire department news.
He was then presented with the chance for further growth with the job of press secretary for the New York City Fire Department. He jumped at the opportunity and his training as a reporter seems to be serving him well there. The department lost 343 fire fighters on 9/11. And since that date, his office has been fielding a lot more requests for interviews.
“Part of the job is to assist and offer suggestions to fire department personnel,” he explains. “But part of the job is also to come up with the questions that we know reporters will ask. This job forces me to think every second of every day. You’ve got to be one step ahead of a lot of smart quick reporters. I know because I was one of them.”
Tony credits Professor Michael West’s history classes with opening up his mind to the importance of current events and to the belief he holds that individuals can have a dramatic effect on society as a whole.
“He opened my eyes to the history that’s around us, and taught me how fortunate we are to be a part of it,” he says.