Side Bar – Dan Pieroni

Side Bar – Dan Pieroni

Dan Pieroni has been writing about sports for The Smithfield Times since 2020. Pieroni, who is turning 40, has lived in Smithfield for almost his entire life.

Pieroni said Smithfield is the “perfect mesh of country and city.”

“You get the best of both worlds here,” he continued. “I really like the community.”

Pieroni is employed as a substitute teacher at Smithfield High School. Pieroni attended Curry College in Massachusetts, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications Studies. He also attended University of Rhode Island, where he obtained a Master of Arts degree in Communications.

Pieroni had a change in his career path and attended Providence College, where he obtained a Master of Education degree in Guidance Counseling. He is a certified school counselor.

Pieroni lost his job when the public schools went to virtual learning in 2020. He was only a substitute at the time. With no source of income, he was looking for employment.

“Mark Atkinson, who was the Physical Education Department Chair (at the high school), heard through the grapevine that The Smithfield Times was looking for a sports columnist,” Pieroni recalled.

Pieroni went for an interview with John Tassoni, who was the Publisher of the paper at the time. He was a little bit hesitant at first.

“(Tassoni) said: ‘I just want you to write about sports. If you’re good enough for Mark Atkinson, you’re good enough for me. Give me 800 words on how the pandemic is affecting sports and we’ll take it from there.’”

Pieroni had written for the Bleachers Report, which gave him the ability to see how readers responded to his writing. He also had his own blog for awhile.

“I like giving a fan’s perspective of the game,” Pieroni said. “I’m passionate about sports. I like having a forum to give my opinion about what’s going on in the sports world.”

Pieroni enjoys many sports, but he favors baseball and football the most.

“I realized that not everyone who reads The Smithfield Times is a sports fan,” he noted. “So, I kind of look at societal issues through the prism of sports so everybody can understand that. I think that’s the key to my writing in that you don’t necessarily have to follow the sports to understand them. I focus on the human condition. People, not events.”

Pieroni has won a lot of acclaim from his journalistic peers

In 2021, Pieroni was nominated for the Sportswriter of the Year award by the Rhode Island Press Association.

“I came in third place but it was a thrill to be in the same category as people from the Providence Journal, the Woonsocket Call,” Pieroni said. “It’s really gratifying.”

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