Sports Journalism Institute

Helping women and minorities get into newsrooms since 1993

Batiste climbing the managerial ranks at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By Daniel Oyefusi
SJI Class of 2019

Tyler Batiste grew up idolizing Stuart Scott. The late Sportscenter anchor’s unique style served as inspiration for Batiste growing up.

Batiste began taking steps to become the next Scott, but his first broadcast class at LSU — which required he take apart a broadcast camera — steered him into another direction.

He pivoted to print journalism, working for the school newspaper, and as he described it, “That’s honestly the only job I’ve had since.”

Batiste, 31, has quickly worked his way up the ladder, currently serving as assistant managing editor/sports for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Before being promoted to the role in November 2017, Batiste worked as a digital news editor (June 2014 to January 2016) and then sports editor. He now oversees a staff of nearly two dozen workers in one of the busiest sports towns in the country.

“It can be kind of stressful at times, especially when it’s October and you’ve got the Steelers and the Penguins and the Pirates all going at one time,” said Batiste, who also worked at the News Journal in Wilmington, Del. and the Houma (La.) Courier. “But that stress is fine; I like to think that I thrive with deadlines.”

Batiste said the primary adjustment has been “seeing the bigger picture.” The job requires day-to-day tasks, including managing schedules and coverage, but it also forces him to think long term and consider how the sports staff can improve.

“I didn’t take a traditional path to running a department,” Batiste said. “I’ve never been a full-time beat writer for a college team or a pro team or even high school. I started on the production side of things, the behind-the-scenes aspect of journalism.

“I don’t necessarily think that you have to be a good writer to know what good writing is, or have to be a columnist to know what a good column is. I think it’s more about realizing people’s strengths and weaknesses, and putting them in a position where they can thrive and the department can be successful as well.”

The role in which Batiste has served for almost two years now has received increased attention due to the lack of diversity in newsrooms, especially in managerial positions.

A 2018 American Society of News Editors survey found that fewer than 18 percent of newsroom leaders were minorities. The survey also found that fewer than 28 percent of newsrooms employ a minority in a top-three leadership position.

“Representation is a strong thing,” Batiste said. “And so if people see that there’s someone who looks like them, who is in a position that they strive to be in, that really helps out.”

With more authority, Batiste attempts to use his ranking to create more diverse applicant pools.

That’s good news to A. Sherrod Blakely, who chairs the Sports Task Force of the National Association of Black Journalists.

“He’s really good as far as being an advocate for the Sports Task Force and diversity in the newsroom,” said Blakely, digital media reporter at NBC Sports Boston. “He’s one of the Sports Task Force’s beacons of hope, a guy that I would like a lot of our members — particularly our younger members — to look up to.”

While newsroom leadership is starting to better understand the benefits of a diverse workplace, more work still needs to be done.

“One thing I’ve never tried to do, any time I made a hire, is go to the first person that comes across and say, ‘Ok, well you’re in,’” Batiste said. “And that doesn’t necessarily result in all the time hiring a minority or hiring a women. But it’s at least giving those people the opportunity to know everyone is on equal footing and that we’re looking for the best candidate regardless of what race or gender.”