John Soltes, an award-winning journalist with extensive experience in a variety of industry roles, has always introduced education into the newsroom, shepherding journalists into dedicated professionals with a clear understanding of effective reporting, writing and editing.
His studies at Rutgers University and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism gave him a foundation in the possibilities of journalism and the ever-changing dynamics of the profession. Throughout his own evolution as a writer, Soltes has taken time to focus on specific areas of the journalism world, including entertainment and religion.
Soltes was selected as a fellow in the prestigious Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education. His work in the program took him to St. Louis and multiple boroughs in New York City to cover the obstacles of the Nigerian Catholic community. His efforts in the fellowship resulted in a published freelance piece in both The New York Times and The Brooklyn Rail.
His religion reporting has also included articles on the Tibetan Buddhist community in New York City, a minister trying to build a suburban congregation and the plight of persecuted Christians in India. His focus on Southeast Asia continued with an internship at Time Asia in Hong Kong, where Soltes reported, blogged and wrote stories for Time.com. His online articles included a piece on Graham Greene tourism in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; a feature on an elaborate nighttime ritual at the India-Pakistan border; and a profile on Hilly Kristal, legendary owner of CBGB on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Other articles by Soltes have been published by The Hollywood Reporter, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Earth Island Journal, The Chicago Tribune and The Times-Picayune, among other publications. His writing subjects have included everything from kayaking in the Gowanus Canal, decorating chain restaurants, New York City’s tugboat business, the devastation of the little brown bat population, Mad Cow Disease and real-life superheroes.
Soltes eventually transitioned from a reporter to an editor in chief when he was hired by The Leader newspaper, a weekly publication that served the communities in the Meadowlands region of New Jersey. While at the 41,000-circulation newspaper, Soltes managed all newsroom activity, including assigning, writing, editing, laying out, photographing and online publishing responsibilities. While at The Leader, the newspaper’s editorial department won more than 40 state-level journalism awards from such organizations as the Society of Professional Journalists (New Jersey), New Jersey Press Association and Garden State Journalists. He co-won the prestigious Hildy Johnson Award for Best New Jersey Story of the Year from the GSJ.
After nearly three years at The Leader, Soltes continued to expand his freelance career as both a journalist and professional resume writer. In 2011, he launched Hollywood Soapbox, an online magazine focusing on entertainment. Within one year of launching, the website garnered tens of thousands of readers and featured interviews with a multitude of celebrities, including William Shatner, Gus Van Sant, Bryce Dallas Howard and a host of filmmakers, actors and reality-television stars.
During his career, Soltes took part in the Berlin Capital Program for the German Fulbright Commission. He also won a scholarship to participate in “The Church Up Close,” an in-depth journalistic look at the Roman Catholic Church, hosted by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, Italy.
His technical proficiency includes Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Quark, WordPress, digital photography, CMS and basic HTML. His personal and professional travels have taken him to Italy, England, India, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Portugal and France.