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 2021-22

The Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists’ annual student contest will be open for entries April 1-May 6, 2022. The contest is for entries of work published or broadcast during the 2021-22 academic year.
Contest deadline is 11:59 p.m. on May 6. 
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 2021-22 academic year, a technical error on the website makes it so that you MUST enter the year 2021 on the contest site. (Judges will verify that the work was published/broadcast during the 2021-22 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

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!

College contest winners announced for the 2019-20 academic year

The Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists’ student contest highlighted the best work published or broadcast during the 2019-20 academic year. Students from six different colleges or universities in Connecticut participated in this year’s contest. Scroll below to see the winners! 

Audio Storytelling

First Place

In Context with CCSU journalism: Episode 3; Central Connecticut State University; Kristina Vakhman, Amanda Kenny, Kelly Langevin

Second Place

In Context with CCSU journalism: Episode 1; Central Connecticut State University; Kristina Vakhman,  Joshua Rosario, Mauriah Johnson

Third Place

In Context with CCSU journalism: Episode 2-The football edition; Central Connecticut State University; Kristina Vakhman, Ryan Jones, Trevi Alickolli, Joshua Rosario

COVID-19 Reporting

First Place

CCSU offers pass/fail option to students; Central Connecticut State University; Samantha Bender

Second Place

“Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”; The Tamarack; Nicole Hayes

Third Place

Safe way to get mental health help may have consequences beyond Covid-19; The Recorder; Kelly Langevin


First Place

Be a man about it; The Tamarack; Kathleen Chesto

Second Place

The problem with staying informed; University of New Haven Charger Bulletin; Mia Steadman

Third Place

The new Nazis?; The Tamarack; Alexander Wilson


First Place

Kicking the vaping habit; Crescent magazine; Amanda Cavoto

Second Place

‘All I want is for us to be visible’ PRIDE president speaks on recognizing transgender deaths; The Recorder; Isabella Chan

Third Place

Beyond the margins; The Tamarack; Anjelika Rodis

Feature Photo

First Place

Irish dancer; Crescent magazine; Jason Edwards

Second Place

A job well done; Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network; Liz Flynn

General Column/Commentary

First Place

Queer code: Transgender day of remembrance; The Tamarack; Alexander Wilson

Second Place

Harvey Weinstein’s sentencing: a win for Hollywood; Q30 Television; Gabby Brailovskiy

Third Place

That’s what she said: The little feminist that could; The Tamarack; Jessica Ney

General Reporting

First Place

FOI documents show professors accused of sexual misconduct went on to other universities; The Recorder; Thomas Hopkins

Second Place

Former student accused of showing interest in mass shooting had long, troubling history; The Recorder; Sarah Willson

Third Place

Student with wheelchair speaks out about campus inaccessibility; University of New Haven Charger Bulletin; Jennifer Korn, Beth Beaudry

Non-Page 1 Layout

First Place

Southern swag; Crescent magazine; Muhaymina Plair

Second Place

CCSU sports: Aaron Winchester; The Recorder; Julia Jade Moran

Third Place

Hearts of the Sound; Crescent magazine; Samuel Fix

Page 1 Layout

First Place

The Charger Bulletin May 5, 2020 edition; University of New Haven Charger Bulletin; Anna Downs

Sports Feature Story

First Place

Chiara Bacchini makes her return to the court; Q30 Television; Bryan Schwartz

Second Place

Jones brings new energy; Southern News; Sam Tapper

Third Place

Long distance relationship; Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network; Jacob Shiffer

Sports News Story

First Place

Ex Patriot player returns; Southern News; Hunter O. Lyle

Second Place

New volleyball locker room shows steps towards gender equity; Central Connecticut State University; Ryan Jones

Third Place

Mushaw gives gift of life; Central Connecticut State University; Ryan Jones

Sports Photo

First Place

Hug me, brother!; Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network; Liz Flynn

Second Place

A senior day celebration; Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network; Liz Flynn

Third Place

Call it a goal; Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network; Liz Flynn

Video Storytelling

First Place

UCTV News: Behind the scenes of the UConn Fire Department; UCTV Uconn; Luke Hajdasz, Regan Schiappa, Luke Hajdasz

Please note: Certificates will be mailed out to all winners to the address provided in the contest entry. Should you wish to have it mailed to another address, please email Contest Chair Viktoria Sundqvist at vickansundqvist(at) by July 19 with your alternative address. 

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