Get to Know: Seth Wallace, deputy news editor

Editor’s note: Get to Know is a feature introducing new members of the Buffalo Newspaper Guild.

You’ve hopefully gotten a chance to meet or work with Seth Wallace, one of the new faces in the newsroom this year.

Wallace, who grew up in Geneseo and went to college at SUNY Fredonia, started at The Buffalo News in early March.

He spent six years working as a reporter and editor at the Palladium-Times in Oswego, where his coverage specialities included nuclear energy, education and crime.

Wallace also spent time as a political staffer, where he said he worked closely with unions “and came to greatly respect their contribution to our state and region.”

Wallace, a self-described “big history guy,” said “the rise of organized labor in the United States is one of my favorite periods.”

Q: What kind of duties does the deputy news editor at The Buffalo News handle?

A: We’re the intersection of the newsroom and the public. After a story is filed, the news editorial staff will make sure it fits Buffalo News house style, write/fit the headlines and cutlines to the specifications set by the page designers and keep an overview of what’s going in tomorrow’s paper so stories are moving at an even clip throughout the day and evening.

Q: What made you want to work as the deputy news editor at The Buffalo News?

A: As a journalism student at SUNY Fredonia, The Buffalo News was the capo di tutti capi of journalism outlets. After spending the past decade working in politics and journalism in Central New York, I wanted to take a stab at a higher career level and, as a lifelong upstater, there is no higher level than this paper. Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to be brought on board.

Q: What were a few of the stories you worked on when you were a reporter that were your favorites?

A: Anything related to nuclear power, a particular favorite of mine. Specifically: It looked for a while like one of Oswego County’s nuclear reactors was going to go offline and cut about 500 local jobs. We covered that news, and the eventual deal struck between the state and energy company, then I toured the facility while the uranium refueling was happening and got to look into the core with the cap off and everything, it was great.

Did you know there’s a site in the New Mexico desert that holds all the U.S. military’s hazardous nuclear waste? And that it’s designed to far outlast humanity but since plutonium never goes away, we have figure out how to *warn the future about this stuff*? Now you know! Currently recruiting for a road trip out there. They keep denying my requests but I dare them to turn me away at the gate every day for a month.

Q: You mentioned you worked as a political staffer. Would you tell us more about that?

A: Fresh out of college, I was lucky to serve as a junior staffer (read: gopher, fetch and carry, etc) for several NYS politicians – twice for the State Senate, once in the Assembly. Before my son was born, I thought that might be a potential career path but peripatetic campaign operative life is not super conducive for being a good dad.

Q: What does it mean to you to be a member of a union?

A: Joining the Buffalo Newspaper Guild was an extremely attractive component of this job and certainly played a role in my application and pursuit. My father was active in his union growing up so I was exposed early to the concept, and the idea of workers banding together to pressure management for better conditions just makes a lot of sense to me. I always joked I was going to organize my newsroom in Oswego, but there was only four of us. I’ve tried to make as many events as I can so far, and would like to continue participating and contributing.

Are you a new (or relatively new) Guild member interested in being the subject of this feature? Do you know someone who would make a good subject? Please reach out to Guild mobilization VP Aaron Besecker.