Spark Story: Tony Betton, Jr.

Celebrating 20 Years of Impact

Meet Tony Betton, Jr.:  a former UNL scholar who was able to beat the odds with the help and support he received from Usher’s New Look. New Look contributed to Tony’s success by helping him find and develop his “spark” in broadcast journalism, and today, Tony is an award-winning newsman and producer for ABC.

Tony’s journey was not easy. He grew up in a single parent household on the southside of Atlanta in Clayton County where he faced many personal struggles. During an interview to celebrate New Look’s 20th anniversary, Tony shared that he had to be wary of those who he associated with. He explained that if someone wasn’t in the right crowd, they could “end up fighting,” “selling drugs,” or “possibly in a can or in a box.”

Tony also shared that when he was a seventh-grader, he read on a third-grade level, and that in 2008, just two years before he graduated high school, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools ruled that Tony’s high school was “unfit for accreditation.” The loss of accreditation meant another barrier for Tony and some of the students to attend college or receive scholarships.

Tony shared his story during UNL’s 20th Anniversary celebration.

They allowed me to find the tools within myself…that would help me to crawl my way to where I am today.

Tony Betton, Jr.

In an effort to better his education, Tony decided to join Usher’s New Look  He explained how New Look’s academic strategy wasn’t based on giving him a map and stating “do this and you’ll be successful” nor “these are the steps that you need to take in order to get to where you need to be.”  Instead, Tony shared that New Look allowed him to “find the tools within” himself, and “crawl” his way to where he is today.

With help from New Look, Tony successfully graduated from Georgia State University, where he was a broadcast journalism major concentrating in public relations. He also minored in entertainment media management. Today, Tony is an award-winning journalist, producer/anchor, and MMJ at ABC21 (WPTA).

Tony is “forever indebted to Usher’s New Look” for helping him beat the odds. Even after graduating, Tony remains very connected to New Look. Though he may be unable to be involved on a daily basis, Tony is always open to supporting New Look in any way he can. He will forever be part of the New Look family!

~ Rachel Meiselas
Marketing & Communications Intern

Rachel Meiselas is a senior at Syosset High School in New York. In addition to working with Usher’s New Look Foundation, Rachel is a published author and works for the female football news outlet, Gridiron Queendom. She is also a contributor to the political entertainment and media company, MeidasTouch, whose objective is to encourage democracy and equality.