Posts by Connecticut SPJ

Excellence in Journalism Winners Announced

Winners of the 2017 Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism Awards were announced May 24 during the organization’s annual meeting and awards dinner at Grassy Hill Country Club in Orange. 

The awards recognized outstanding reporting by news professionals throughout Connecticut. 

“It’s always good to recognize great work, but it’s even more important during a time when many public figures seek to discredit the journalists tasked with holding them accountable,” said Mike Savino, president of CTSPJ. “One way to combat all of the negativity toward and distrust of the news media is to highlight all of the ways the great work journalists continue to do. Thursday’s ceremony is just another example of how journalists at outlets throughout Connecticut, big or small, serve the communities around them.” 

Notable awards:

Stephen A. Collins Public Service Award
Hartford schools: More separate, still unequal 

Hartford Courant; Vanessa de la Torre, Matthew Kauffman, Kathleen Megan

Judges’ comments: This reporting incorporates a broad range of interviews and data to tell an important story about seemingly failed efforts to desegregate schools. The reporters employ graphics and multimedia to tell the story. This package emerged from a very tight and competitive field. This was an extremely deep category with a number of entries delving into a range of important public service stories. All the entrants should be proud of producing strong public service journalism.

Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award: 
Capital Prep lottery investigation
Hartford Courant; Vanessa de la Torre, Matthew Kauffman

Matthew Kauffman of the Hartford Courant accepting its awards.

Judges comments: The reporters went to extraordinary lengths to interview sources and gave the accused an opportunity to respond to their reporting, and did a great job explaining the issues to an outsider who may be unfamiliar with Connecticut schools and the role of sports in those schools and beyond. The reporting captured multiple perspectives on the controversy surrounding recruitment.

First Amendment Award:
Surveillance video, records offer new perspective on UConn student’s 2016 death
Hartford Courant; Vinny Vella, Matthew Kauffman

Judges comments: Now more than ever, enhancing the public view of the press is an act worth recognizing. The Courant piece demonstrates the power of the press to shed light in ways that citizens alone rarely can. For Jeffny Pally, for her family and friends, for the UConn community, and for the citizens of Hartford, the Courant used its power to hold public officials accountable for actions that might have otherwise, and easily, been under-examined. I can hardly put it better than John Ferraro did in his submission: “We had an obligation to provide the public with a full understanding of how our government employees conduct themselves.”

But this piece also shows the responsibility of the press, not just its power. The Courant had raw footage of a young woman’s death. It would have been easy to publish the video in its entirety and draw web traffic in droves to view something so grotesque. The Courant quite purposefully did not. They showed only the footage that was necessary for understanding.

Finalists announced for 2017 Excellence in Journalism Contest

Here is the finalist list for the Excellence in Journalism Contest for 2017. (Click link to download or print). 

Excellence in Journalism Contest 2017-18

Awards will be announced at the annual awards dinner on Thursday, May 24. 

Excellence in Journalism college contest now open for entries

The Connecticut SPJ college contest is now open for entries. The contest deadline is April 15, 2018.

The entry fees are:

  • $5 for SPJ student members (membership ID number required)
  • $10 for non-members and news organizations paying for entries

The contest is open for items published or broadcast in the 2017-18 academic year. Because of a technical issue, please use 2017 as the year for all entries. 

Entries are limited to three per person per category. Each story, editorial, photo, etc. is a separate entry. Each item can be entered no more than two times in the contest.

Print entries can be submitted as PDFs or JPGs of a page. Entrants may also submit alink to the article as it appeared on a news organization’s website. 

For broadcast entries, you may submit your content in the form of a link to your video or broadcast. 

Content online must remain live and accessible until May in order to be considered for the contest. 

Click here to enter the contest

Awards will be presented at the annual Excellence in Journalism dinner on Thursday, May 24, at 6 p.m. at Grassy Hill Country Club in Orange, Conn.

CT SPJ testimony on House Bill 5175 regarding FOIA appeals

The Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists would like to submit the following testimony regarding HB 5175, An Act Concerning Appeals Under the Freedom of Information Act.

We stand in strong opposition to this bill so long as it proposes a filing fee on FOI complaints. CT SPJ opposes any effort to levy a fee on FOI complaints, but $125 per filing is excessive.

Such a fee would provide an incentive for municipalities to deny requests for information it doesn’t wish to disclose. Furthermore, it is punitive to the public whenever municipal officials have not been given adequate training on the FOI act, and thus aren’t familiar with all of the requirements.

Please don’t forget that the FOI act also dictates the public’s access to both documents and meetings of government boards and agencies. That means people with a broad range of experience and access to resources, such as legal counsel, decide whether to grant or deny public access at any given time.

We understand that budget constraints have made it difficult for some municipalities to process frequent FOI requests, and for the FOI Commission to adjudicate complaints in a timely manner. We therefore support the stated of intent of the bill, which is to “permit the Freedom of Information Commission to grant relief from vexatious requesters to public agencies.”

Connecticut SPJ does support the changes proposed in section 5 of this bill, which give the Commission some flexibility to address vexatious complaints. Furthermore, the language appears to give that flexibility to the Commission, and relief to municipalities, without prohibiting or deterring the public from exercising its right to access information.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony,

Mike Savino

President, Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists

Be our guest at the Connecticut Forum’s State of Journalism & the News event

Join CTSPJ as our guest at the Connecticut Forum’s State of Journalism & the News forum discussion on the evening of March 16, 2018 at the Bushnell in Hartford.

Featuring David Fahrenthold, Hugh Hewitt, and Joy Reid and moderated by John Dankosky, this timely Forum will explore some of the most pressing issues regarding journalism and the media, including:

  • Challenges to the freedom of the press
  • The relationship between the press and the presidency
  • The difficulty of sorting information in an age of information overload, 24-hour news cycles, Twitter and fake news
  • Media bias
  • The future of investigative journalism
  • The state of local journalism

Hosted by Hartford Courant Media Group

CTSPJ is offering two free tickets for active members.

Simply send an email with your name, affiliation, and contact information to Liz Glagowski at liz.glagowski@gmail.com to be entered into the drawing. Two random active members will be chosen and notified by March 8. You will be accompanied by two CTSPJ board members to this important and timely event.

SPJ Regional 1 Spring Conference details announced

Celebrate your love of journalism and learn new skills for two days in the city where Freedom of the Press got its start during the Society of Professional Journalists Regional 1 Spring Conference.

This year’s conference will take place April 21 and 22 at Temple University in Philadelphia. Visit our website at http://www.spjr1c.org/ or use our hashtag #LoveJournalism.

The theme of the conference is “For the Love of Journalism,” reflecting both our passion for our chosen profession and a growing public appreciation of how the role of a free press serves in a democracy.

We are in Philadelphia, the “city of brotherly love” where so many of the founding principles of our free press took root – from Benjamin Franklin’s “Poore Richard’s Almanac” to the Constitution and the First Amendment.

We’ll celebrate that history and help chart our own future by offering useful training in multimedia and social media skills that you can put to immediate use in your newsroom or classroom.

Our focus during the Saturday, April 21, sessions at Annenberg Hall will be on the skills you need to know to be a better journalist – including the latest Google tools, KipCamp’s “Dirty Dozen” useful journalism apps and making the jump from print to digital.

We’ll also help you stay current with important stories such as covering sexual harassment and covering the medical and recreational marijuana business.

A First Amendment lawyer will be available to help with free consultations on any press freedom issue you may be encountering. And we’ll take a close look at legislation aimed at expanding press freedom for high school students.

On Sunday, April 22, our focus will broaden to some of the bigger challenges facing journalism today.

We’ll start the day with our Mark of Excellence awards brunch at the Philadelphia Media Network building, where our keynote speaker will be Bill Marimow, vice president of strategic development for the PMN, which includes The Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com.

On Sunday afternoon, we’ll have a panel discussion on the future of journalism in Philadelphia.

We’ll also hear from reporters who’ve covered Bill Cosby’s sex assault trial.

And we’ll hear from Signe Wilkinson on how she draws her Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoons.

The weekend will also include some activities that are just for fun – including a walking tour of historic sites in journalism in downtown Philadelphia and, for those who arrive early, a Friday night ballgame between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies.

We’ve secured a block of discounted hotel rooms at the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Philadelphia.

But a word to the wise: the number of conference tickets and hotel rooms are limited. You’ll want to register for both the conference and the hotel as soon as possible. Don’t procrastinate. We anticipate this event will be sold out well in advance.

 

For more information, contact Jane Primerano.

Connecticut governor issues statement on Trump’s ‘fake news’ awards

HARTFORD – Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Wednesday released the following statement regarding journalism in the United States in reaction to President Trump issuing “fake news” awards:

“The modern-day Republican party seems to have taken a page out of the 20th century fascist regime propaganda playbook. The primary purpose of today’s theater regarding ‘fake news’ awards is to bully and intimidate members of an independent press who seek to report the facts.

“Democracy does not exist without a free and independent press. When our nation’s founders drafted the United States Constitution, they intentionally and with unequivocal purpose had the foresight to include as its first amendment one of the preeminent attributes that make ours the greatest country in the world – freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It’s written clear as day and with good reason, largely because history has not been kind to nations that do not value the importance a free press in regards to upholding the true principles of democracy and the freedom of its people.

“At a time when the relevance of a free press is being challenged by some, I want to thank those who have dedicated their careers to the profession of journalism. Journalists, in large part, receive little recognition for the contributions they bring to our communities. But it is because of them that our democracy continues to thrive, and the voice of the people continues to be heard. The work of journalists is a public service that is fundamental to our free and democratic society.”

2017 Excellence in Journalism Contest open for entries

The CTSPJ 2017 Excellence in Journalism Contest is now open for entries.

You can enter the contest here. Deadline for entries is Feb. 15 at 11:59 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19, at 5 p.m. All entries must have been published or broadcast in 2017.

We are adding two new categories this year: Data and Health reporting.

Magazines remain in their own circulation class, Region C (Magazines). 

Please review the circulation class list before entering. If you do not see your media outlet on the list, please contact contest clerk Jessica Garin at Jessica.Garin.U@gmail.com.

With the changing news industry and changes at individual news outlets, the CTSPJ board will continue to review the circulation classes each year. If you have feedback on the placement of your news outlet, please contact Contest Chair Jodie Mozdzer Gil at jmozdzer@gmail.com. Any requests for review will be considered by the full CTSPJ Board of Directors before the following year’s contest.

Categories

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 their circulation class.

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
Data | A reporting project that relied heavily on analyzing data.
Health reporting | A story dealing with health-related topics.
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

Entry fees:

  • $10 for active Connecticut SPJ members
  • $25 for non-members and news organizations
  • $50 for the three top awards
  • $5 for student members
  • $10 for students who are not members
  • If you do not know your member number, please contact SPJ’s national membership coordinator, Linda Hall, at LindaH@SPJ.org or at (317) 927-8000
College contest runs from March 15 to April 15, 2018, for the 2017-18 academic year. 
 
We’re offering free entries to those who volunteer to judge.  If your news outlet agrees to judge 10 categories from our swapping partners, we’ll give you a free entry. Individuals who agree to judge two categories will get a free entry. Please sign up for judging swaps with Contest Clerk Jessica Garin at Jessica.Garin.U@gmail.com.

Podcast: How news organizations should handle sexual misconduct allegations

In his new podcast, CT Pro Chapter President Mike Savino talks to national SPJ President Rebecca Baker about how the news media should handle sexual misconduct allegations. Savino and Baker talk about both how to report on allegations, and how news organizations should handle complaints from within. 

Click here to listen to the podcast or listen below. 

 

Navigating Immigration Coverage in the News

The Society of Professional Journalists student chapter at Southern Connecticut State University will present “Navigating Immigration Coverage in the News” on Nov. 15 at 9 a.m. The event will be held at the Adanti Student Center, Room 301, at Southern Connecticut State University.

Invited panelists include: Michael Boyle, Immigration Attorney; Esteban Hernandez, New Haven Register reporter; Sandra Gomez-Aceves, Hartford Courant reporter; Esteban Garcia, SCSU Undocumented Students’ Support Team.

 The panel is co-sponsored by the CT Pro Chapter of the SPJ. Use the #SPJ4ALL for all diversity-related tweets and events. RSVSP by emailing: spj.scsu@gmail.com by Nov. 9. 

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