Joseph Angotti’s career took him from student news director of Indiana University’s WFIU newscast to senior vice president for news at NBC and the chairmanship of the broadcast program at Northwestern University.
Born a bakery manager’s son in Gary, Indiana, Angotti received his undergraduate degree in education from IU in 1961. He had taken a few journalism courses as an undergraduate, and he cultivated his interest in journalism further by earning his master’s degree in telecommunications at IU.
In 1962, Angotti landed his first job in television at WHAS-TV in Louisville. From that point on, his rise in the industry was rapid. In 1966, he moved to WMAQ-TV, Chicago’s NBC-owned affiliate, where he was both producer and on-air reporter for its Gary bureau. In 1968, he became an NBC network producer, covering the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, where he was tear-gassed during the street protests.
In 1972, Angotti was promoted to a producer slot in New York City with NBC Nightly News. He soon became executive producer of the weekend newscast with anchor Tom Brokaw. Angotti was awarded a national Emmy in 1975 for co-producing a series about world hunger and was chief political producer for the network’s election coverage in 1976. Working with John Chancellor, anchor of the weeknight NBC Nightly News, Angotti was the newscast’s executive producer from 1977 to 1980.
Angotti later was named the senior vice president for news at NBC, overseeing coverage of presidential conventions and debates, space shuttle launches and landings, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. In June 1989, Angotti was in Bloomington for IU professor Richard Yoakam’s retirement party, but had to rush off to return to New York to oversee NBC’s coverage of the massacre in Tiananmen Square. He was an early protégé of Yoakam, who had developed and launched IU’s broadcast journalism program.
In 1992, Angotti left NBC and formed his own company, which produced coverage of events such as the 25th Anniversary Gala of the Metropolitan Opera. He also wrote, filmed and edited a series of programs in Eastern Europe, From Marx to Markets, which were filmed, edited and broadcast in Eastern Europe.
Next, Angotti took his knowledge to the classroom. From 1993 to1998, he was the chair of communication studies for the University of Miami’s School of Communication and was founding director of its Center for Advancement of Modern Media.
In 1999, Angotti was named chair of the broadcast program at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and taught there for the following six years. He also founded the Northwestern News Network, which produced weekly newscasts for Chicago area TV stations. He continues to teach journalism at Monmouth College in Illinois. In 2006, he was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.