Meet Fort Wayne’s ‘lit journalist,’ Tony Betton Jr.

Tony Betton Jr. is the host of INsight on 21Alive, a lifestyle talk show show highlighting the people, businesses, and trends that make Fort Wayne special. 

Hailing from Atlanta, GA, Betton moved to Fort Wayne in 2020 for a job with 21Alive. He says Fort Wayne wasn’t on his radar, but the opportunity to grow alongside the city was one he couldn’t pass up.

“I could see that different things were about to happen within the city of Fort Wayne and that's what I wanted to do,” he says. “I said, ‘Look if I'm going to go to a city, let me go somewhere where they're growing as well. I want to grow with the city. I want to grow with the station.’ And that's exactly what Fort Wayne has done in the last four years as I've been here.”

Tony Betton Jr. on set.In those four years, Betton went from weekend anchor to weekday anchor and eventually became the host of INsight. He has made a name for himself as a local journalist, donning the name “The Lit Journalist” online.

“I say that because I bring a type of energy to journalism that a lot of other journalists or reporters may not,” he explains.

As a child, Betton says he always found himself in trouble for talking too much, which eventually prompted his mom to ask how they might channel all that energy into something else. This led to him getting involved in acting, summer camps, and morning announcements.

Tony Betton Jr. at Good Morning America in New York City.“From there, as I was getting ready to graduate high school…I was like, what can I do in college that includes me having an outgoing personality, being a storyteller, and being nosy?” Betton recalls. “And if you put all those things together, that's a journalist for you, you know?”

He graduated from Georgia State University in 2019. He completed eight internships at places such as Good Morning America, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America Headquarters, Ryan Seacrest Studios, The Historic King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, FOX 5 Atlanta (WAGA), and Channel 2 Action News (WSB-TV).

Betton started as the weekend morning anchor, producer, and weekday reporter for ABC21 before eventually becoming the host and producer of INsight.

“We do a lot of different things,” he explains. “We cover businesses, nonprofits, events, organizations, you know, all of those different things going on. We have a segment called the ‘Value Vault,’ which basically opens up opportunities for deals and discounts and things like that through businesses. We just have a good time. We've been able to expand the show from 30 minutes to one hour as of September of 2023 and it's just been a fantastic experience.” 

Betton also made a name for himself as an active community member, both here in Fort Wayne and in his hometown, through volunteering, hosting events, and public speaking. 

“When I was in Atlanta, Georgia, it was always very, very active, so when I came here to Fort Wayne, I made an effort to still continue to be active and to continue to be involved,” Betton says.

Moving amid a global pandemic was difficult, but he still found ways to participate in the community. Betton says he’s worked with Community Harvest, Big Brother Big Sisters, and Junior Achievement, to name a few. 

Tony Betton Jr. at a public speaking event.He returns to his hometown when possible, both to visit family and to maintain his involvement with the community. In Atlanta, Betton is part of Usher’s New Look, a nonprofit founded by Usher Raymond IV (Yes, that Usher, who just performed at the Super Bowl). He is also a member of Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity Inc. and he served as a founding member of the Georgia State University chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.

“Atlanta made me,” he says of his work in his hometown. “Atlanta made me who I am. Atlanta has given me so many opportunities and I feel like there’s always a reason to be able to give back to where you're from.”

Recently, he was awarded The President Joseph R. Biden Lifetime Achievement Award and The Presidential Volunteer Service Award for his over 4,000 hours of community service.

Tony Betton Jr. at a public speaking event.He says he enjoys living and working in Fort Wayne and considers it his second home. He points to the variety of local restaurants and activities as one of the reasons he loves the city.

“That's the beauty of Fort Wayne,” he says. “It's so many places, it's so many restaurants, it's so many bars and kind of local things to do…I'm going on four years now and Fort Wayne is a second home for sure.”

He says he wants people to know it’s important to follow your dreams. 

“You can do whatever you put your mind to, whatever you put your heart to, and there are going to be people who may tell you, you can't do that,” he says. “There are going to be people who say, ‘No, that's not what you should be doing. No, do this, do that.’ Follow your heart. Follow your dreams. Maybe sometimes you have to be the one to tell yourself, yes, you can. Yes, I can do this. Yes, I will do this.”

Follow @tonybettonjrtv and @insighton21 on Instagram.

You can catch INsight Monday through Friday at 3 p.m. on ABC and NBC.
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Read more articles by Brittany Smith.

Brittany Smith is Input Fort Wayne's Managing Editor. Previously she served as Assistant Editor and participated in the College Input Program. She also volunteers for Northeast Indiana Public Radio.