The Jewish Outlook Says Goodbye to Tonyia Cone After 15 Years
Tonyia Cone. Credit: Dave Hawks.
By Wendy Goodman
15 years, 180 issues and 600 articles later, Tonyia Cone is leaving The Jewish Outlook to seek other opportunities. The Austin Jewish community, Shalom Austin and The Jewish Outlook thank Cone for her incredible tenure, contribution and dedication to the publication and to the community. Cone has been the editor of The Jewish Outlook since 2018 and held other roles before then.
“Thank you for the opportunity to get to know so many of you, to cover the great work you are all doing out there, and to help tell the story of Jewish Austin’s history,” Cone shared with Shalom Austin.
In 2005, Cone began submitting articles to The Jewish Outlook as a Congregation Beth Israel volunteer. The Jewish Outlook editor at the time was Mark Kilpatrick, who asked if she was interested in freelancing for the publication, and Cone accepted. The following year, Jay Rubin became chief executive officer of the Jewish Community Association of Austin (now Shalom Austin) and asked Cone to join the newspaper as a consultant. Cone quit her day job and began conducting interviews and writing articles for every issue of The Jewish Outlook.
By 2011, Cone was named The Jewish Outlook’s assistant editor working closely with Rubin and Julie Zweig, former editor. As the publication continued to evolve with an updated look and new Mazel Tov section, Cone began revising and proofreading submissions from local congregations and other community partners.
Cone became the editor of The Jewish Outlook in 2018 which included pulling all content together, editing submissions while continuing to conduct interviews and write articles. Cone worked with Wendy Goodman, editor-in-chief, and Rebecca Jarosh, creative director, to plan and lay out the paper each month. Most recently in January 2021, Cone assisted in the transition of The Jewish Outlook from a monthly to a quarterly publication.
Since working for The Jewish Outlook, Cone has written nearly 600 articles for the publication. Cone’s articles have spanned a wide variety of topics. Over the years, she has covered stories including the building of Temple Beth Shalom on the Dell Jewish Community Campus in 2013, the Generations Campaign construction projects, SXSW festival coverage, authors like Neil Gaiman, and comedians, writers and actors like Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. One of her highlight moments as the editor was when Broad City actors noticed Cone taking pictures on the SXSW red carpet and enthusiastically called out “The Jewish Outlook!”
Cone most enjoyed writing about controversial topics and social justice issues that presented thought-provoking and impactful stories while objectively covering all sides.
“I am proudest of my 2018 work covering Congregation Agudas Achim’s trip to Sutherland Springs, Laredo, and the nearby United States and Mexico border. Our first stop was the Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church, the site of a 2017 shooting. The pastor’s 14-year-old daughter was one of the tragedy’s 26 victims. We talked with the pastor and some of the congregants, walked through the memorial, and their pain was unimaginable,” Cone explained.
“Similarly, I am glad I had the opportunity to share the ongoing work Rabbi Neil Blumofe and Reverend Daryl Horton are doing together fighting racism by traveling the country, uncovering what is remembered and forgotten, and how the past continues to impact everyday life. They are doing such important, impactful work, and it has been an honor to cover that.”
Cone is also inspired by covering the work of women in the community who are defying stereotypes, including Search and Rescue member Jennifer Failla Hoffman (2017 and 2020), Dawn Forman’s remodeling company (2009), and Dr. Ancel Meyers’ role as an epidemiologist in the fight against COVID-19 (2020). “It has been a real gift to be able to talk with such interesting, impactful people and to be able to ask them any questions I could think of,” said Cone.
Her background in journalism afforded Cone the ability to successfully cover diverse topics. After finishing her bachelor’s degree in English literature at UMass Boston, where she worked for the student newspaper, Cone moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas. She earned her master’s degree in journalism while working in media relations at the Texas Medical Association. After graduating, Cone served as the Texas Rural Water Association’s communications director, where she headed all their print and digital communications. While at TRWA, she began moonlighting as a freelancer, writing for many local outlets, including AustinWoman magazine, the Austin Business Journal, RunTex.com, and Austin Fit magazine. That is also when Cone began writing for The Jewish Outlook. Since then, she has written for the Houston Business Journal and has written press releases for many organizations and companies.
Cone plans to continue to work as a freelance editor and journalist and is contracting for a resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile writing company called Let’s Eat, Grandma.
As her articles remain an important part of The Jewish Outlook, Cone, along with her husband Evan and three children, Mitch, Hazel and Turner, will remain an important part of the Austin Jewish community. ■
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