Alonzo Weston joined the News-Press in 1989 as an intern. He currently covers education and mental health and is also an award-winning columnist.

The St. Joseph native is a 2002 graduate of the inaugural class of the Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. He has been voted the city's favorite newspaper columnist for the past 13 years. He also has won numerous Missouri Press Association awards for his columns, features and investigative reporting.

He's been published in magazines and has had byline stories in the Nashville Tennessean and the New York Daily News.

Alonzo has served on the St. Joseph library board and is a research associate for the St. Joseph Museums Inc. He received the YWCA/NAACP Kelsey Beshears Racial Justice Award in 2005. The East Side Rotary Club also presented Alonzo with its Community Service Award in 2004. He received a Department of Mental Health Media Award in 2002 for a series of stories on local mental health issues.

Alonzo is active in the community in a number of ways. He and former News-Press opinion editor Mark Sheehan started the Coleman Hawkins Jazz Festival 12 years ago to honor the jazz legend and St. Joseph native.

The duo also created the Coleman Hawkins Mardi Gras Parade and blues festival and hosted an all-night youth basketball tournament to help raise funds for local community agencies.

Alonzo also created a journalism workshop for minority youth called Reporting L.I.V.E.

He and his wife, Deanna, who works as an interview coordinator for the Northwest Missouri Children's Advocacy Center, have been married for 16 years. They have two children, Alonzo Jr. and Nicole Hughes, one granddaughter, Asia Ann Weston, and a dog named Maxwell.

Alonzo enjoys reading, jazz, art and playing sports video games.

Contact Alonzo: (816)271-8574;

On Twitter: @SJNPWeston