Posts by Connecticut SPJ

Finalists announced for 2020 Excellence in Journalism contest

Click the link below to download the word document file featuring the finalists for the 2020 Excellence in Journalism contest. Winners will be announced later this spring after judging has completed.


CT SPJ president issues statement on Senate Bill 760

Statement by Viktoria Sundqvist, president of Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists, in regards to Senate Bill 760 – AN ACT PROHIBITING PUBLICATION OF AN IMAGE OR A VIDEO OF A FATAL ACCIDENT UNTIL A FAMILY OR HOUSEHOLD MEMBER HAS BEEN NOTIFIED:
“This bill is outrageous and unnecessary. The news media in Connecticut already follows industry ethics guidelines and professional standards balancing news value with minimizing harm to victims and their families during what is often the most difficult times in their lives. Any attempt to legislate what media outlets can and cannot publish is unconstitutional.”

CT SPJ student journalism contest 2020-21

The Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists’ annual student contest will be open for entries April 1-May 15, 2021. The contest is for entries of work published or broadcast during the 2020-21 academic year. 
Contest deadline is 11:59 p.m. on May 15. 
The entry fees are:
  • $5 for college SPJ members (membership ID number required)

  • $10 for non-members and college media outlets paying for entries

If you do not see your news outlet in the system, please contact Contest Clerk Kathleen Farmer at to have it added.
Once you log in, click on the button to enter the awards. From the Main Category drop down, please select “College Contest.” 
These are the categories you can enter:
Audio Storytelling
Feature Photo
General Column/Commentary
General Reporting
News Photo
Non-Page 1 Layout
Page 1 Layout
Sports Feature Story
Sports News Story
Sports Photo
Spot News
Video Storytelling
We will also have a special category for COVID-19 reporting this year.
While the entries must be from the 2020-21 academic year, a technical error on the website makes it so that you MUST enter the year 2020 on the contest site. (Judges will verify that the work was published/broadcast during the 2020-21 academic year).
The work must have been published online or in print, or broadcast or streamed.
Contest winners will be announced on our Facebook page and on our website in June. Certificates will be mailed out to all winners through their school.

Safety tips for Connecticut journalists

The next few days or weeks in Connecticut have potential to be heated and difficult for journalists out in the field. 

The FBI has warned of armed protests in major cities across the country leading up to Wednesday’s inauguration, and we know the CT State Police have been working tirelessly with the governor’s office, Capitol Police and other agencies to ensure safety in Hartford. 

The state police have also said they will provide a safe staging area for the media during Sunday’s planned protest in Hartford. If we get any more information, we’ll be sure to share it with you. 

In the meantime, here are some tips from Poynter on how to cover safety and unrest. The Committee to Protect Journalists also offered safety guidelines on covering events leading up to the inauguration and has this handy risk assessment form to review in your newsroom. 

Finally, here’s a PDF fact sheet from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press on how to protect yourself when covering a protest. 

Basic takeaways: 

  • Put your safety first, not the story

  • Do not go alone

  • Have ID and credentials readily available, but be careful how/where you display them (lanyards are often discouraged)

  • Bring only the bare minimum equipment needed for the job

  • Be respectful and follow police orders

  • Stay in constant contact with your editor/newsroom. If you are an independent journalist, make sure a friend/colleague knows where you are & how long you plan to be there

  • Keep contact numbers for key editors/company lawyers/bail bondsman on a card in your pocket or written on your arm (do not rely solely on your cell phone)

  • Constantly scan your surroundings and plan an escape route

  • If possible, carry a bottle of water with you (to rinse eyes after teargas). A First Aid kit is good too.

  • Remember: Police do not have a right to search or seize your equipment

The RCFP offers a legal hotline at 800-336-4243 or You can also get support from the SPJ Legal Defense Fund to defend freedoms of speech and of the press and to ensure access to government information.

Our hope is that all journalists will be safe this weekend (and in the future). 

Connecticut SPJ 2020 Excellence in Journalism Contest

The 2020 Excellence in Journalism contest is now open for entries! The deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 16! Feb. 12, 2021. You can enter the contest at The contest is open for items published or broadcast in 2020.


Entry fees are $10 for members (with valid SPJ member number) and $25 for non-members or entries paid for by a news organization. Please contact national SPJ membership coordinator Caroline Escobar by email at or by phone at 317-361-4132 if you do not know your member number.

Read more about this year’s contest here, including what categories are available and what circulation class your news outlet belongs in. 

For questions about the Connecticut contest, please contact me at

Connecticut SPJ 2020 Excellence in Journalism Contest now accepting entries

The 2020 Excellence in Journalism contest is open for entries. The deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 16! Feb. 12, 2021.  You can enter the contest here. The contest is open for items published or broadcast in 2020. New this year are four COVID categories for content related to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Entry fees are $10 for members (with valid SPJ member number) and $25 for non-members or entries paid for by a news organization. Please contact national SPJ membership coordinator Caroline Escobar at if you do not know your member number.

For questions about the Connecticut contest, please contact contest clerk Kathleen Farmer at


All media outlets compete against each other in the top three special awards categories. For the rest of the categories (below), media outlets will compete in one of five circulation classes.

Stephen A. Collins Public Service Award

This is a special award open to all media for a story or stories having a significant impact in the public interest. Entries must include supporting documentation such as letters, editorials, evidence of a change in public policy, showing how the entry had an impact. Please include a cover letter with the entry.

Theodore Driscoll Award for Investigative Reporting

This is a special award open to all media for a single story or formal series containing information, obtained through reporter initiative not readily available to the news media or public.

First Amendment Award

This is a special award open to all media for a single story, column or series which increases public understanding of the role of the press in a free society.


COVID News | A single story that highlights the impact the pandemic has had on our lives and our society.

COVID Investigative | A single story containing pandemic-related information obtained through reporter initiative that was not readily available to the public.

COVID Series | Three to 10 stories in a formal series that highlight the impact of the pandemic on our lives and society.

COVID Photo | A single photo that highlights the impact of the pandemic on our current socially distance status. 


Editorial Cartoon | A single cartoon online or in print

Single Editorial | Represents the opinion of the publication, station or news website as an organization

General Column | A single (other than sports or humorous) that expresses an opinion or point of view on an issues or event

Humorous Column | A single column on any topic with the purpose to entertain

In-Depth | A single story that helps audience understand situation beyond information provided in a normal news story

Investigative | A single story containing information obtained through reporter initiative that was not readily available to the news media or the public

Feature | Any story written for a reason other than timeliness. (Please note, this was omitted from an earlier list in error)

Religion | A story dealing with religious topics

Government | A story dealing with government topics

Courts/Crime | Any story dealing with issues of the criminal justice system, except for breaking news

Arts & Entertainment | A single story dealing with the arts

Business | A single story dealing with business

Leisure | A story dealing with travel, food, gardening, or other leisure topics

Continuing Coverage | No more than 10 articles that follow the same topic over time

Diversity Coverage | Single story on a diversity issue

Education | A single story on an education issue

Reporting Series | A formal series of no more than 10 articles, including investigative, in-depth or feature series

Local Reporting | A story that shines light on an issue important to a single town or region. This category is meant for those stories that fulfill the mission of community journalism.

Breaking News | A single story or package of stories and social media updates that involves coverage of a spot news event written under an immediate deadline.

Sports News | A single story on a sports news topic

Sports Feature | A single story on a sports topic, written for a factor other than timeliness

Sports Column | A single column on a sports topic

Sports Photo | A single sports photo

Feature Photo | A single feature photo

News Photo | A single news photo

Photo Essay | A collection of photos, either in print or online, that together tell one story.

Page 1 Layout | A category for the person who arranged the text and images, not for the writers or photographers of the materials on the page.

Non-Page 1 Layout | Any single page design that was not on page 1

Headline | A single entry is made up of three headlines, all the work on a single individual

Infographic Design | The design of a single static or interactive graphic

Infographic Reporting | The reporting of a single static or interactive graphic

Video Storytelling | Use of video to tell a story alone or bolster written reporting

Audio Storytelling | Use of audio to tell a story alone or bolster written reporting

Data | Effective use of data for reporting a single story or graphic

Health | A single story or broadcast regarding health issues, either local or statewide


The following is the list of circulation categories for the Excellence in Journalism contest. If you don’t see your media outlet listed here, please contact contest clerk Kathleen Farmer at, and we will add it.

These categories are based, in part, on media outlets’ advertised coverage areas and staffing levels. To petition for a change in circulation class, please contact CTSPJ President Viktoria Sundqvist at vickansundqvist(at) The CTSPJ Board of Directors will consider all requests, and any approved changes will take effect in the next year’s contest season.

Regional A

  • Connecticut Health Investigative Team
  • Connecticut Mirror
  • Connecticut Post
  • Hartford Courant
  • New Haven Register
  • Waterbury Republican American
  • The Day (New London)
  • Any Hearst Connecticut collaboration, including smaller circulation outlets

Regional B

  • Connecticut Law Tribune
  • CT News Junkie
  • Danbury News-Times
  • Manchester Journal-Inquirer
  • Meriden Record Journal
  • Norwich Bulletin
  • Stamford Advocate
  • Greenwich Time
  • CT Latino News
  • Greater New Milford Spectrum
  • Litchfield County Times
  • The Middletown Press
  • New Britain Herald
  • The Bristol Press
  • The Register Citizen
  • The Chronicle
  • The Hour
  • Fairfield County Business Journal
  • Hartford Business Journal
  • The Connecticut Times
  • Inquiring News
  • Neighbors Paper

Regional C (Magazines)

  • AAA Journeys and AAA Horizons
  • Catholic Transcript
  • Connecticut Magazine
  • Connecticut Parent Magazine
  • Connecticut Voice
  • Hartford Magazine
  • New Haven Biz
  • Seasons magazines
  • Stamford Magazine
  • Today Magazine
  • WAG Magazine
  • Wilton Magazine

Regional D (Broadcast)

  • WTNH
  • WFSB
  • WTIC
  • WNPR
  • WSHU
  • News12
  • NBC30


  • Citizens News
  • Shore Publishing weeklies
  • TurleyCT publications
  • New Britain City Journal
  • Online Journalism Project publications
  • Hearst Connecticut weeklies
  • Branford Eagle
  • Glastonbury Citizen/Rivereast News Bulletin
  • Nancy on Norwalk
  • Greenwich Sentinel
  • Fairfield Patch
  • New Haven Independent
  • Town Times
  • Glastonbury Life
  • Guilford Curier
  • The Source
  • Harbor News

* Note: Any item that appeared in a higher circulation publication should be entered in that circulation class.

Minutes from Nov. 15, 2020, CTSPJ special board meeting

CT SPJ special meeting 

Sunday, Nov. 15, at 2 p.m., via Zoom 


  1. Call to order – Called to order at 2:06 p.m. by Viktoria Sundqvist

 Present: Lindsay Boyle, Mike Savino, Jordan Fenster, Mercy Quaye, Viktoria Sundqvist, Bruno Matarazzo, Ayah Galal, Jackie Stoughton, Jeniece Roman, Jodie Gil, Aaron Johnson

  1. Plan of Action in response to RC’s request for 3 board members to resign:
    1. Review of letter 
    2. Review national’s response 
    3. Discussion 
    4. Action: Vote of confidence in board leaders 

-Jordan Fenster moves for us as a board to make a vote of confidence in order to express solidarity with and support for our board leaders, Viktoria Sundqvist, Mike Savino and Bruno Matarazzo

-Jodie Gil seconds the motion

-Motion passes 8-0 (with 3 abstentions)

-Mercy Quaye moves to pursue signatures from our chapter membership on a letter in support of our current board leadership: Viktoria Sundqvist, Mike Savino and Bruno Matarazzo

-Jordan Fenster seconds the motion

-Motion passes unanimously

  1. Legal representation: 
    1. Review list of lawyers who specialize in non-profit governance
    2. Review hourly rates 
    3. Action: Vote on allocating funds for legal representation for the board 

-Discussed; no action taken

4. Adjourn.

-Viktoria Sundqvist moves to adjourn at 3:42 p.m.

-Jodie Gil seconds the motion

-Motion passes unanimously

Minutes from July 12, 2020, CTSPJ board meeting

CT SPJ board meeting

Sunday, July 12, at 11 a.m., via Zoom


 1.         Call to order – Called to order at 11:02 a.m. by Viktoria Sundqvist

Present: Lindsay Boyle, Viktoria Sundqvist, Bruno Matarazzo, Mike Savino, Jordan Fenster, Ayah Galal, Jackie Stoughton, Aaron Johnson, Jodie Mozdzer Gil, Cindy Simoneau

2.         President’s report

-Viktoria runs through her priorities of increasing membership, putting on the regional conference and finding someone new to own the contest

-Bruno Matarazzo is awarded a plaque for his two years of service as president

3.         Treasurer’s report

-Bruno discusses the balances of the board’s accounts (checking, savings, scholarship) as well as the checks that were cashed since last meeting. Checking balance is up a bit because the board did not have its annual dinner as an expense.

4.         Committee assignments

·   Jordan: Dinner, ad-hoc website redesign, FOI

·   Bruno: Contest, membership, finance

·   Ayah: Communications, programming, dinner

·   Mike: FOI, contest, programming

·   Lindsay: Scholarship, ad-hoc website redesign, charter revision

·   Jackie: Communications, programming

·   Aaron: Programming, communications, contest

·   Vik: Membership, contest

-Notes: Treasurer Bruno is chair of the finance committee, Communications Vice President Mercy Quaye is chair of the communications committee and Programming Vice President Mike is chair of the programming committee.

5.         Conventions update

-The board discusses the national conference, which will be held virtually Sept. 12 and 13, and whether to allocate some money to help people cover registration costs as there will be no need for travel stipends.

-The regional conference is slated to happen virtually April 9 and 10 next year, with Roger Williams University serving as the hub of activity.

-Board agrees to watch the national convention closely and learn from the things people do and don’t like.

6.         Scholarship update

-Board discusses whether to hold a virtual event for the winners and what to do with the donations that came in on behalf of late local journalist Jack Kramer.

        -Board will offer a one-time $1,000 scholarship in his name in the spring.

7.         Contest update

-Board discusses what was spent for website fixes related to the contest and votes on the clerk’s pay for next year.

-Bruno makes a motion to set pay for the contest clerk at $2,200, to be paid out in two installments ($1,000, $1,200)

-Mike seconds the motion

-Motion passes unanimously

8.         Racism discussion follow-up – Aug. 20 virtual panel is still on and will feature Quinnipiac University’s Don Sawyer and Connecticut Mirror reporter Jacqueline Rabe Thomas as well as board members Mercy and Jordan

9.         Programming ideas for the year – Board discusses ideas; Mike agrees to ask the national organization whether there is a shared Zoom account CTSPJ can join

10.    Adjourn – Meeting adjourned at 12:02 p.m.

Self-care for journalists

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

If you’re feeling tired and worn down from this seemingly never-ending election season, you are not alone. This has been a trying year, and the additional stress of journalism and journalists being under attack is exhausting.

We all need to take some time to breathe, look after ourselves, and be kind and supportive to one another.

Here are some resources that might help:

Critical Stress Help Sheet from the National Press Photographers Association 

Johnny Webber’s Life Assessment Checklist

Doctors give advice on how to relax from election stress

How journalists can address their own mental health, from the International Journalists’ Network 

The DART Center also offers lots of tips, resources and training for newsrooms

Finally, if you are a journalist who regularly covers traumatic or really stressful events or topics, you can apply to join the Journalists Covering Trauma Facebook group (yes, covering the pandemic counts as trauma). 

Stay safe, and as always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local SPJ chapter with questions or concerns. 

Attend the 2020 SPJ conference on us!

Copyright 2010-2017. Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists, P.O. Box 5071, Woodbridge CT 06525