The Advocate’s ‘Joe Mac’ is Mr. Versatility _lowres

Advocate staff photo by John Ballance -- Joe Macaluso, 2007 Conservation Communicator ot the Year

Versatility has been one of the hallmarks of a nearly 4½-decade career in sports journalism for The Advocate’s Joe Macaluso, who will be honored June 21 as the 2014 Distinguished Service Award winner by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

Covering a variety of sports, which includes outdoors reporting as well as hosting a weekly television show, are the things that earned Macaluso the nod from among 17 candidates nominated for the Distinguished Service Award — the most prestigious honor offered to sports media in the state.

Recipients are chosen by a 30-member Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame selection committee based on their professional accomplishments in local, state, regional and national arenas with at least 30 years in the profession.

Macaluso will be honored during the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on June 21 in Natchitoches along with the eight-member Class of 2014 and two distinguished recipients of the Dave Dixon Leadership Award.

“Beyond being the consummate pro, Joe Mac’s personality and honesty have been tremendous strengths,” said Joseph Schiefelbein, executive sports editor of The Advocate, The New Orleans Advocate and The Acadiana Advocate. “There is a warmth and magnetism to Joe that has won him friends and drawn him readers and viewers. It comes through no matter the platform — from print to television to radio to new media.

“Sure enough, Joe is an expert in his field — which in the past two decades often has been literally a field — but he’s also been that strong, steady hand, an approachable soul. His service to his family, his church, his community and his profession will forever last as a model to all of us. The times and the technology always change, but pillars like Joe make us all better.”

One of the state’s most respected outdoors writers, which he has been almost exclusively since 1992, Macaluso also has covered sports on the prep, college and pro levels for the old Baton Rouge State-Times and The Advocate since joining the newspaper as a part-time writer covering LSU baseball in 1970.

Macaluso worked part-time for the Morning Advocate until being hired as a full-time State-Times staff writer Sept. 1, 1974. He joined The Advocate sports staff in October 1991 after the State-Times, the city’s afternoon paper, ceased publishing. Three months later, he was named to head up the paper’s outdoors coverage.

Macaluso, who started a weekly outdoors show on local cable television and did weekly fishing and hunting segments for WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge for seven years, also served for years as the official scorer for LSU baseball.

His range of work is most evident in the more than 70 top-three awards he has received for his writing at the state, regional and national levels.

He was recognized by The Associated Press for a series and a game story he wrote on Eddie Robinson breaking Bear Bryant’s career wins record and also for a series of stories on the devastating effects of Hurricane Andrew on the Atchafalaya Basin and surrounding waters.

Macaluso has been honored as Governor’s Conservationist of the Year in the Communicator Category and in 2010 received the Arthur Van Pelt Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association.

He conceived the idea and was director/co-host for the award-winning “Paradise Louisiana,” a weekly TV show that aired for nearly 10 years on Louisiana cable systems.

Macaluso was the Louisiana contributor to the World Encyclopedia of Fishing and was a correspondent for Sports Illustrated from 1977-85. He also was a contributing writer for Baseball America from 1988-90.