James Battaglia: Keeping the Newsroom Light (AND Right)

By Christina Girruzi

Brockport Beat Social Media Manager

Known for his lightheartedness, humor and insight, James Battaglia is the perfect balance for what can be a tense, hard-hitting news room. Battaglia is a news producer at News 8 WROC, and has worked at News 8 for over six years and he just recently started the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. shift in November. Battaglia focuses on writing scripts, creating graphics, placing the stories in order and making sure everyone else stays on time.

            James is a SUNY Brockport alumnus. Graduating with a journalism degree with a minor in film studies, Battaglia then received his master’s degree in art journalism at Newhouse in Syracuse.

            “I intended to get into arts criticism but when I finally got a job at a newspaper I enjoyed actual hard news writing more. I never intended to get into TV work either but I’ve enjoyed the fast pace,” said Battaglia.

Pointing out some of his most memorable days, Battaglia was on shift when Officer Pierson was killed in Rochester, when the 2016 election results came out, and had to stay up all night in 2016 to watch coverage of the Dallas police shooting to put together a morning story.

            After graduating college, Battaglia freelanced for about eight months until he landed a job at the Messenger Post where he wrote for a mix of weekly newspapers alongside three other reporters. Around 2012 Battaglia received best feature writer by Gatehouse Media. After two years the Messenger Post laid everyone off and Battaglia got a job at News 8 WROC four days later.

            News 8 WROC anchor Adam Chodak has worked with Battaglia for six years. Chodak was able to watch Battaglia transition from the morning show to the nighttime shift.

            “While he had a smaller news block to fill he also had to pick up several new responsibilities and did so while becoming a member of the team on which we could all lean during stressful times. In other words, when there was a job that needed to get done, we knew James could do it.” Said Chodak.

“James brings a lightness to the newsroom that’s greatly appreciated. He’s funny, but also insightful, which leaves you thinking about people or issues differently – always a good thing for a journalist to do.”

–WROC-TV Anchor Adam Chodak, talking about James Battaglia

            Battaglia and Chodak have a friendship outside of newsroom as well. Chodak described an experience with his son and Battaglia where they all bonded over Pokémon Go

            “My son loves it and James helped us advance through the game. One day he joined my son and me for a “raid”. It was a gorgeous day and we all shared a lot of laughs and my son now holds him up as a hero.” Said Chodak. “This is all to say, James never forgets to have fun in life – even while at work …”

            Brockport student Tyler West has similar perceptions and experiences with Battaglia.

            “I started working with James about halfway through my time at Channel 8. I would usually only see him in passing because he used to work overnights… I love working with James. He’s always cracking a joke and is somehow able to make the newsroom laugh when things get tense.”  West said.

Known to be diligent about his work and never leaving a job left undone, Battaglia seems to be exactly what a newsroom needs.

“James brings a lightness to the newsroom that’s greatly appreciated. He’s funny, but also insightful, which leaves you thinking about people or issues differently – always a good thing for a journalist to do. He keeps his calm in heated situations with can lower the temperature of a room.” Said Chodak.

Learning that this business can be unpredictable, Battaglia is hopeful for an executive producer position in the future. With his dedication and hard work, nothing is off the table for James Battaglia.

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