Donna Ditota, Mike Waters named to Syracuse Press Club Wall of Distinction

The Syracuse Press Club is pleased to announce two longtime sportswriters Donna Ditota and Mike Waters of | The Post-Standard have been named to the SPC Wall of Distinction for 2024!

This is the club’s highest honor.

Born in Syracuse, Donna Ditota went to St. Bonaventure on a basketball scholarship, where she was a 4-year starter and 2-year team MVP. She was also the sports editor of the Bona Venture student newspaper her senior year.

She started working as a business reporter at the CNY Business Review. She was hired at the Syracuse Newspapers in 1986 to work in regional sports (back when they had two newspapers and a regional division!)

Donna has since mostly covered Syracuse’s men’s basketball team, but have covered essentially every sport. For a few years she was the beat reporter for SU men’s lacrosse when they won a bunch of national championships. Donna has won a number of awards for her writing and reporting. She also won St. Bonaventure’s John Domino award for sports journalism, and was named the 2023 New York State sportswriter of the year.

Donna is on the boards of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame, the Mountain Goat Run and St. Bonaventure’s sports journalism program. She was inducted into Bishop Grimes sports hall of fame and the USBWA hall of fame.

Pete Thamel, one of ESPN’s top reporters, wrote this about Donna:

“Fitting of a former center, Donna Ditota’s perspective has always acted as a beacon from above, illuminating both the athletes and games she’s covered. She’s as skilled a feature writer as anyone in the country, and her ability to connect with athletes and tell their stories has been a gift to readers in Syracuse for decades. Donna also knows the sport as well as any writer, and she’s been able to offer clear-eyed Xs and Os analysis that has been indispensable for Syracuse fans to better understand the Orange. Few have informed and analyzed sports – basketball and beyond – more poignantly in Syracuse.”

November 13, 2014. Sports writer Donna Ditota, at left, and Pearl Washington, laugh at a comment by sports writer Mike Waters during the program. (Michael Greenlar)

Mike Waters joined the Syracuse Post-Standard in 1989.

A 1986 graduate of the University of North Carolina, Waters worked at the Raleigh News & Observer and the Nashville Banner before coming to Syracuse. He has won numerous writing awards from the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors.

In 2019, he was named New York State Sports Writer of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. He received the USBWA’s Jim O’Connell Award for Excellence in Beat Reporting in 2021 and he was inducted into the USBWA’s Hall of Fame in 2022.

He and his wife, Robin, have two children, Christopher and Anna Kate.

And Jason Murray – Mike’s former editor at The Post-Standard and the current Washington Post sports editor – sums up Mike’s reputation this way: 

Mike Waters is the undisputed authority on Syracuse basketball in Central New York. He puts the readers first. More than that, he’s a terrific teammate and person, who tells stories with empathy, compassion and precision. It’s impossible to follow the story of Syracuse basketball without Mike’s work. 

In his nomination of Donna and Mike for the Wall of Distinction,’s senior director of content John Lammers wrote, “I think it would be fair and poetic for both to receive this honor in the same class. They have each built a respected and national-level career on one of the most important beats in Central New York journalism.”

Congratulations Mike and Donna on your long and incredible careers. You will have permanent places on the Syracuse Press Club’s Wall of Distinction.

We look forward to celebrating you at the SPC banquet on Saturday, May 4!

The Syracuse Press Club Wall of Distinction is located in The OnCenter in downtown Syracuse.

Syracuse Press Club’s Wall of Distinction is located in The Oncenter Civic Center.

2023: Ken Jackson named to Syracuse Press Club Wall of Distinction

2022: Scott Atkinson named to Syracuse Press Club Wall of Distinction

2021: James T. Mulder named to Syracuse Press Club Wall of Distinction

2021: Shawn Wayson named to Syracuse Press Club Wall of Distinction

2020: Michael Greenlar named to Syracuse Press Club Wall of Distinction

2020: Eddie Jones named to Syracuse Press Club Wall of Distinction

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