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Journalists in Chicago Advance Italian-American Agenda


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

** Fifth Annual Media Networking Forum at Chicago Hilton**

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(WASHINGTON, D.C. — January 16, 2008) Progress and the Italian American Agenda in Chicago was the theme of the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) fifth annual media networking forum on January 15, 2008. Prominent community leaders spoke to an audience of more than 30 Italian-American journalists about the importance of protecting, promoting, and preserving the rich history of Italian Americans. The luncheon, which was underwritten by the Hilton Chicago, was hosted by Robert V. Allegrini, NIAF regional vice president for the Midwest and director of communications for Hilton Hotel Corporation’s central division. The event was co-chaired by Vince Gerasole, a features reporter at CBS 2 News, and Ereka Vetrini, co-host of “In the Loop with iVillage.”

NIAF President Salvatore J. Zizza opened the luncheon and thanked journalists at Chicago’s television and radio stations for their 100 percent participation in broadcasting NIAF’s public service announcements, covering the Foundation’s Ambassador’s Gala last year, and achieving outstanding awards in their fields in 2008.

Zizza was joined by Nancy Chistolini, NIAF regional vice president in the Mid-Atlantic region, Dominic Di Frisco, president emeritus of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, Arthur J. Furia, Esq., NIAF regional vice president in the Southeast region, Alessandro Motta, Italy’s Consul General in Italy, Andrea Palombella, a participant of the NIAF Graduate to Leaders in Communications program, George Randazzo, president and founder of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame (NIASHF), and John C. Sciaccotta of Shefsky & Froelich Ltd. and NIAF area coordinator in Chicago, at the event.

In order to advance this agenda, as well as energize the Italian-American community, Allegrini called upon four respected community leaders to showcase their latest projects for 2008:
Donald Fiore, historian, highlighted the upcoming 75th anniversary of Italian aviator Italo Balbo’s historic transatlantic flight to Chicago;
Ron Onesti, president of Onesti Entertainment Corp., announced the build-out of The Frank Sinatra Performing Arts Center as part of the NIASHF on Taylor Street in Chicago’s “Little Italy”;
Wayne Randazzo editor of Red, White & Green, discussed NIASHF’s partnership with author and historian Burt Sugar to create a book,“The Pride & Passion: Stories of Italian Americans in Sports”;
Gualberto Ranieri, vice president of communications of Case New Holland, announced a partnership between Case New Holland and NIAF to offer a $25,000 scholarship for Italian-American journalists in the Midwest. He also discussed the upcoming second annual Italian-Style show promoting the rich culture of Italy and Italian Americans, which will be held September-19-21 at Navy Pier.

NIAF’s Media Networking Forums help communications professionals share ideas and work together to ensure that all Americans are treated with respect and that negative stereotypes are not reinforced in the industry.

Similar media events are planned in Miami (February 1), Phoenix (February 26), Los Angeles (February 27), and San Francisco (February 28).

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan foundation dedicated to promoting the contributions of Italian Americans. The Foundation has a wide range of programs that provide scholarships and grants, conferences and cultural seminars. Visit our Web site at