Posts by Connecticut SPJ

2018 CTSPJ Scholarship Winner Shares Her Story

Shayla Farrow, from Stamford, is a junior at Howard University. She applied for the 2018 CTSPJ scholarship and received an award of $2,500. The deadline for the 2019 entries is May 1.

My first semester since winning the CTSPJ student scholarship

Entering my junior year of college brought on many questions and concerns for me. I was no longer an underclassman and I wondered what new responsibilities and challenges I would have to face. Being awarded the $2,500 Bob Eddy Scholarship from Connecticut’s Society of Professional Journalists also elicited a desire for me to do well.

I wanted CTSPJ members to know that they didn’t make a mistake in choosing me to be a scholarship recipient. So, I decided that I would work as hard as possible to make sure I had a successful first semester of junior year.

All of my friends who were upperclassmen warned me that junior year is when the difficulties of college really set in, but I knew I could not let these things cause me to lose focus of the bigger picture.

During my first semester as a junior, I’ve had some monumental achievements in my professional career. I was able to interview movie director, Malcolm D. Lee, and speak about his path to becoming a director and his recent works. This was a dream come true for me because I would have never imagined being able to interview a director, especially before graduating college.

In addition to my big interview, I had my first story published on the Howard University News Service. This semester allowed me to enhance my skills as a writer and even as a photographer. I was enrolled in a “Multimedia Storytelling” course that required me to write a new story and interview people every week. I also took a course in visual communication that focused on using pictures and images to capture a story. `

I was able to finish my semester strong and make the Dean’s List. By the end of the semester, my fears were out of the window and I was looking forward to what next semester would have in store for me.

As a new semester begins, I look forward to new classes, new stories to cover, and new opportunities with my internship at WHUR-FM. I am hopeful that this new semester will be just as good as or even better than the one before!

I encourage other journalism students to apply for this scholarship and not miss out on a great opportunity. The award goes far beyond money and it allows students to connect with some of the best journalists Connecticut has to offer!


NJ SPJ and The Deadline Club host podcasting workshop in NYC on March 16

Learn how to make your own podcast!

Here’s your chance to learn the basic skills of creating your own podcast.

In a one-day workshop on March 16, you can learn about the possibilities of podcasting, what makes for a good podcast and how to promote it.

We’ll also provide you with hands-on training for how to record, edit, script and produce a podcast.
The workshop is co-sponsored by The Deadline Club and the New Jersey chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

It will take place in the offices of Retro Report, 633 Third Ave., New York City.
The workshop will begin with registration at 9:30 a.m. Instruction will run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., with a break for lunch.

Participants must bring their own laptop computer and smart phone.

To register for the workshop, go here:

Register before March 1 to take advantage of the early bird rate of $65 for professionals and $25 for students. After March 1, registration rises to $75 for professionals and $35 for students. The fee does not include lunch.

Speakers for this event include:

Alex Kapelman has produced content for WNYC, KCRW, Audible, and Gimlet Media. His audio work has been featured on NPR and BuzzFeed, and in publications like The Atlantic and New York Magazine; he has also been tapped as a contributor to NPR. Alex co-founded Pitch, a critically acclaimed narrative podcast series, and is the founder of Podcast Love, a podcast company that provides consulting for brands and teaching tools for podcasters.

He is also an adjunct journalism instructor at New York University. Alex will present on how to get great content, specifically tailored for podcasting.

Mike Savino produces a daily news podcast for the Record-Journal in Meriden, Ct. Mike oversees local and state government coverage for the newspaper. He is is a national board member of SPJ and president of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information.

Mike will talk about the tools and techniques of podcasting.

John Ensslin is creator and producer of several podcasts, including Studio SPJ, Record Talk Radio and On the Record. John has worked for newspapers in New York, New Jersey and Colorado. He is a past national president of SPJ and is the current president of SPJ New Jersey.

John will talk about how to script and edit your podcast.

For more information on the workshop, call John Ensslin at 973-513-5632 or email him at

Connecticut SPJ 2018 Excellence in Journalism Contest now accepting entries

The 2018 Excellence in Journalism contest will open for entries on Dec. 23, 2018. The deadline is Feb. 15, 2019 has been extended to Tuesday, Feb. 19, at midnight! You can enter the contest here. The contest is open for items published or broadcast in 2018.

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.

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 Bruno Matarazzo 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 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
  • Canton Today Magazine
  • Connecticut Magazine
  • Connecticut Parent Magazine
  • Seasons magazines
  • Stamford Magazine
  • Hartford 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

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

CT SPJ statement on gubernatorial candidate barring reporter from event

“It is absolutely unbecoming of a candidate for this state’s highest office to tell reporters they are ‘not welcome’ to cover a campaign event. Connecticut’s constitution reinforces the First Amendment right to a free press, and we would expect any candidate looking to oversee the executive branch to respect that. Candidates and public officials are free to disagree with any coverage, but they don’t have the right to decide who gets to cover them. The Connecticut chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists also wants to express its solidarity with the other reporters who came to the aid of one of their colleagues.”


— Bruno Matarazzo, Connecticut Society of Professional Journalist president.

CT SPJ grant winners share experiences from Baltimore

The Connecticut SPJ awarded a professional and a student travel grant for a working journalist and a student journalist to attend the national convention in Baltimore at the end of September. This year’s grant winners were journalist Jordan Fenster and student Sarah Willson, CCSU’s student chapter president of the SPJ.

Sarah Willson shared the following with us after the convention:  

The Excellence in Journalism Convention is something the Central Connecticut State University SPJ looks forward to every year. Not only is it a way to broaden everyone’s knowledge on some of the most important issues facing journalists, it’s also a way to make real-world connections.
I knew that, after attending last year’s convention in Anaheim as a member of the CCSU chapter, I needed to find a way to go back.

Having been more outgoing and emerged in this year’s activities than compared to 2017, I know that what I have learned from this year’s convention is something I will carry with me throughout my career as both a student and professional journalist. As someone who aims to cover politics after graduation, by far one the most interesting and beneficial lectures was regarding “Midterm Elections in the Era of Trump” and the multiple Freedom of Information sessions held by some of the industry’s best.

Despite the range of lectures and workshops, I myself and others from the CCSU Chapter had the ability to meet and converse with possible future employers from different news outlets. By far, that has been the aspect that always seems to draw us back for more.

I can also confidently say that, had it not been for the generous scholarship the Connecticut SPJ allowed for the CCSU SPJ to take part in, we may have never made it. You have allowed for our chapter to attend one of journalism’s most important events and for that, we cannot thank you enough. Though still a while away, the CCSU chapter looks forward to attending such a rewarding conference again next year.

Jordan Fenster shared the following after the convention: 

I sat in a chair in the hotel lobby on the way to the Excellence in Journalism conference opening night reception. 

One by one, journalists joined me. A contingent of students from Connecticut. A radio journalist from Africa. A Pakistani master’s degree candidate studying in Maine. A transgender journalist working for a liberal digital-only publication. We talked, chatting about the differences and similarities in our jobs and finding, I think, more commonality than disparity.
That was in the lobby. On the way to the reception. 

EIJ, more than most journalism conferences, is focused on sharing knowledge. I could write pages about the value of the sessions themselves.  It’s good to hone hard skills — podcasting, politics coverage — and great to smooth out the edges with sessions on diversity and effective communication within newsrooms.
But journalists and journalism are threatened these days, the accuracy and impartiality we hold so dear questioned and weaponized. With that in mind, the great benefit of EIJ for me was meeting journalists from across oceans, not to mention across the United States, and finding that they face the same questions I try so hard to answer. 

Notes from the National SPJ convention in Baltimore

The Connecticut Pro Chapter of the SPJ sent two delegates to represent our chapter (number of chapter members determines who many delegates each chapter gets) at the Excellence in Journalism 2018 national convention in Baltimore. This year’s delegates were Bruno Matarazzo, chapter president, and Viktoria Sundqvist, vice president of programming.

Here’s a brief run-down of some of the issues and resolutions discussed during the annual business meeting of the Society of Professional Journalists:

– NAME CHANGE: A resolution to have the board of directors investigation and come up with a complete proposal for a potential name change of the organization from Society of Professional Journalists to Society For Professional Journalism was proposed and debated wildly but ultimately failed. The proposal would have directed the board to look into costs associated with a potential name change and would have forced the board to present a plan at next year’s convention. Opponents said this issue has been discussed and rejected before and we should stop wasting time on it.

– SPONSORSHIPS: A task force will be created to look at entities whose actions are at odds with SPJ’s journalistic mission in terms of getting sponsors for next year’s conference (Sinclair and Koch were alluded to as they were prominent at this year’s event, which had raised some concerns). The task force was already created, and this resolution – which passed overwhelmingly in a voice vote after some discussion – is reinforcing the task force’s mission and will use the SPJ’s Code of Ethics as a guide to vet donations. The group plans to present findings to the SPJ board of directors by Dec. 1.

– CONDEMNING THREATS TO BAN ACCESS: Resolution passed to condemn Oklahoma State University football coach Mike Gundy’s threats and efforts to keep reporters from doing their jobs.

– STUDENT NEWSROOMS: Resolution passed to publicly say SPJ supports #SaveStudentNewsrooms movement, support advice, counsel and legal support where appropriate. The resolution also calls on institutions of higher education to help ensure student news organizations remain editorially independent.

– HURRICANE COVERAGE: A resolution to call on TV stations and networks to stop ordering or permitting reporters to stand unsheltered in hurricane zones was rejected in a voice vote. The resolution would have also called on network to stop dramatizing weather events. Opponents were concerned about SPJ ordering certain newsrooms how to handle their coverage and some found the language of the resolution insulting.

– REALITY WINNER: A resolution to urge President Donald Trump to commute the sentence of former NSA contractor Relity Leigh Winner passed in a voice vote. Winner is serving a five-year sentence in federal prison for releasing unauthorized government information to the media and the resolution says over-classification of documents has become a real problem.

– IMPRISONED JOURNALISTS: A resolution to denounce the imprisonment of, and calling for a full pardon of, Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo passed in a voice vote.

– RETIRED JOURNALISTS: A resolution to establish a national contest specifically for retired journalists failed in a voice vote. Resolutions committee recommendation was unfavorable as any journalist who publishes work, whether full-time, part-time or retired, should be able to enter all current contests and there was concern over the extra work involved with starting another contest.

– HONORS: A resolution to recognize the contributions of Fred Rogers to human development and public TV passed; A resolution to remember the late Richard D. Hendrickson and his passion for journalism passed; A resolution to honor Rebecca “Marvel Girl” Baker as outgoing president passed; and a resolution thanking all staff of SPJ for a successful conference passed.

– BYLAWS: A change in the bylaws passed to move funds related to the Quill magazine from the SPJ side to the SDX foundation side of things since the foundation manages the magazine. A second vote to complete this change will be needed at the next convention in San Antonio, Texas.

– NEW FINANCE RULES: Due to a financial issue at Region 10 in the past year, new finance rules have been approved and are being implemented across all chapters. It will include quarterly financial reports to the regional director and stricter approval process for all expenses and reimbursements. 

– ELECTIONS: Our own Mike Savino was elected to the national board. Jane Primerano was re-elected as Region 1 coordinator (formerly regional director, title change due to last year’s bylaws vote). Connecticut alumna Rebecca Baker finished her term as president and the new national president is Alex Tarquinio. Read about all candidates here.

Election programming scheduled for Sept. 13

Clockwise from top left, Hearst Connecticut reporter Kaitlyn Krasselt, WVIT-30 NBC reporter Max Reiss, University of Connecticut journalism professor Marie Shanahan, and University of Hartford political science professor Bilal Sekou.

Claims of fake news. A never ending stream of polls. Candidates able to talk directly to an audience that doesn’t trust reporters. How have elections changed since 2016, and how do journalists effectively cover campaigns and reach their audience?

“Decisions in 2018: How to cover elections in the Trump Era” looks at how reporters can overcome all these additional obstacles and do what we’re trained to do — inform the public on who’s running for office.

The panel, sponsored by Connecticut SPJ, will include University of Connecticut journalism professor Marie Shanahan, University of Hartford political science professor Bilal Sekou, State Elections Enforcement Commission Executive Director Michael Brandi, WVIT-30 NBC reporter Max Reiss, and Hearst Connecticut reporter Kaitlyn Krasselt.

The event will be on Sept. 13 beginning at 7 p.m., and will be hosted by our friends at the Central Connecticut State University SPJ chapter at CCSU’s Student Center in New Britain.

Journalism-related job openings in Connecticut & beyond

The following are some job opportunities for journalists in Connecticut and on the East Coast. Please note that some of the positions may have been filled and links may expire. 

Assistant managing editor: The Republican-American in Waterbury, Conn. have an opportunity for you to make a difference for our readers and communities as our assistant managing editor, local news. Job requirements include experience as a bureau chief or assignment editor; knowledge and a track record of working with online journalism, including video editing, website management and social media; the ability to problem solve and multi-task in a challenging deadline environment; and a passion for and belief in quality journalism that engages, educates and informs. Reporting experience preferred.

Breaking news reporter: The Record-Journal has an opening for an evening breaking news reporter. Digital first, multimedia reporter covering a full range of news on deadline including trending topics. The job entails public safety reporting as well as coverage across topics including business, education and politics. Interested candidates should contact editor Bryan Lipiner at (posted 7/27/18)

Correspondents: Media startup 50 States of Blue is looking for correspondents to cover politics in all 50 states, including New York and Massachusetts. State correspondents will operate a microsite/blog dedicated to the pursuit of those stories in each state and will work from home. (posted 7/27/18)

News director: WTNH News 8 and WCTX MyTV 9 is seeking an experienced and creative leader in the position of News Director. The position of News Director will be accountable for budgets, strategic planning, brand building, and talent contracts. The ideal News Director will have experience working with unions, have a broad portfolio of experience in news operations, be instantaneous with decision-making; able to fluidly move between strategic and tactical activities; able to influence and engage multiple internal and external audiences; and be accomplished in building and developing a highly skilled, empowered, passionate news room staff. Incumbents in this role will have strong business and financial acumen, demonstrating the ability to build and manage a budget. 

Online news editor: Hearst CT Media is looking for an online news editor. If you have a nose for news and a keen eye for a good story, we would like you to join our team.  We are an energetic and focused group that delivers breaking and buzzy news on eleven websites in the powerful Fairfield County market.




Connecticut SPJ makes donation in honor of slain Maryland journalists

The Connecticut Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists today voted to make a $500 donation to the The Capital Gazette Families Fund to help support fellow journalists in Maryland after a targeted attack on their newsroom.

The fund, which is managed by through the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County, was set up by tronc, parent company of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis.

The funds will go to the families, victims and survivors of last week’s shooting, which killed 5 staff members at the newspaper and injured two others.

A scholarship memorial fund has also been set up to honor the victims.  

The Michael and Jacky Ferro Family Foundation will match up to $1 million in donations made to the fund, according to the Baltimore Sun, also owned by tronc.

The same company, tronc, also owns the Hartford Courant in Connecticut.

A GoFundMe fundraiser to help the victims  and survivors set up by another journalist last week had raised $185,000 as of Sunday and the organizer said all the money raised will be given directly to the The Capital Gazette Families Fund.

Excellence in Journalism 2018 travel grants available

We are pleased to announce that, for the fourth year in a row, we’re offering a travel grant for one member and one student to attend the 2018 national conference. This year’s Excellence in Journalism Conference will be held in Baltimore from Sept. 27-29. Last year’s winners were Jill Konopka of WVIT-30 NBC and Analisa Novak, recent graduate from CCSU.

Connecticut SPJ is offering a grant of up to $1,000 to cover the cost for one member to attend, as well as another $500 to help a student attend. If you’re interested in applying for the grant, please send a a short essay, along with your SPJ member number, to Cindy Simoneau, a past president of the CTSPJ board, at Simoneau will prepare all entries for a blind review by the CTSPJ board.

Applications are due by July 6 at noon. The winners must be members in good standing of CTSPJ. New members are welcome to apply.

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