Posts by Connecticut SPJ

SPJ June Newsletter: A message from the president

A message from the president

June 2018

Congratulations to all the winners

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2017 Excellence in Journalism awards ceremony on May 24. It was a great night celebrating all of the great work from journalists around the state. We honored the late Lucy Crosbie, long time publisher of the Chronicle in Willimantic and a trailblazer for women in Connecticut Journalism, by inducting her into our Hall of Fame. We also recognized the efforts of former Connecticut Public Affairs Network President Paul Giguere in improving transparency of government at the state level with the Connecticut Network. We hope to see you all again next year at our annual May dinner.

EIJ 2018 travel

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 Kopnoka 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 June 29 at noon. The winners must be members in good standing of CTSPJ. New members are welcome to apply.

Have you listened to our Podcast yet?

In case you missed it — and where have you been —, Connecticut SPJ has launched its own podcast, with episodes airing twice per month. June’s episodes include conversations with Society of Professional Journalists about the Facebook Journalism Project and Whistleblower Project, and an interview with retiring Day publisher Gary Farrugia. While you’re on our Soundcloud page, be sure to check out past programming including our first episode with Connecticut SPJ President Mike Savino and Board Member Pete Paguaga, and the audio from our Women in Journalism event in March.

Come celebrate FOI

Our friends at the Connecticut Council for Freedom of Information are holding their annual meeting luncheon on June 26 beginning at 11:30 a.m. At the luncheon, CCFOI will honor the work of some journalists and FOI advocates, including Hartford Courant reporter Matt Kauffman and former First Amendment Lawyer and CCFOI president Dan Klau, who recently became a state of Connecticut judge. The CCFOI Board of Directors also plans to nominate Mike Savino, outgoing CT SPJ president, as its new president.  

The event is at the Pond House at Elizabeth Park in Hartford, and tickets at $55 at the door.

Reporting on suicides

After the CDC said earlier this month that suicide rates have jumped around the country, a report that was released in between celebrity suicides, Poynter posted several articles looking at how journalists generally cover suicides. Poynter reposted a 2014 story looking at suicide contagions and the media’s role in copycats, the organization also published suggested best practices. Covering suicides is clearly a difficult task for journalism, including decisions on when and how to report on them. While journalists are certainly free to agree or disagree with Poynter, we suggest they review the SPJ Code of Ethics whenever they are tasked with covering suicide. This is useful when it comes to a specific incident or the topic as a whole.

Another loss for CT journalism

Peter M. Casolino, longtime photographer for the New Haven Register and Hartford Courant, died on June 15 after a brief illness. He was a photographer and editor for the Register from 1991 through 2014, and more recently worked as a contract photographer for the Courant. He also graduated from Southern Connecticut State University.

Peter was only 51 and leaves behind a young son. A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help Peter’s son, Ryan, get through the loss and to pay for his future education.

New CT SPJ President

At the annual dinner in May, Connecticut SPJ elected Bruno Matarazzo, of the Republican American, as its new president beginning July 1. Bruno joined the board in 2014 and currently serves as treasurer. He replaces Mike Savino, who reached his term limit. Savino will now serve as immediate past president. Congratulations to Bruno!

Job Openings

See who’s hiring

Looking for work, or know someone who is? Perhaps you know a student looking for an internship opportunity. Check out the jobs bank we’ve just added to our website. We’ll keep adding job postings as we learn of them, so please share with us any openings. Keep in mind that some of these postings may have expired or been filled.

See all the opportunities here

Thanks for your continued support.

Your president,

Mike Savino


Lucy Crosbie inducted into Connecticut Journalism Hall of Fame

The Connecticut Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has inducted Lucy Crosbie, former president of the Chronicle Printing Co., into Connecticut Journalism Hall of Fame.

Crosbie was a pioneer for women in journalism while helping run her family’s newspaper, The Chronicle in Willimantic, for nearly 60 years. She served as president from 1954 until her death on Jan. 1, 2012, and also served as publisher of the paper until 1992 before handing over the role to her son, Kevin.

She was a prolific writer during her time running the paper, producing thousands of editorials reflecting on events in and around Windham. She was also the first woman to serve as president of a number of boards, including he New England Daily Newspaper Association, The Connecticut Daily Newspaper Association, The Connecticut Editorial Association, and The United Press Newspapers of Connecticut.

Crosbie was also active in the local community, holding positions such as chairman of the Eastern Connecticut State University Foundation, president and a founding member of the Windham Historical Society, and a corporator of Windham Hospital.

Crosbie is our only Hall of Fame induction for 2018.

The CT SPJ created the Connecticut Journalism Hall of Fame to honor journalists who have made a significant and enduring contribution to journalism in the state. The entire Connecticut Journalism Hall of Fame may be viewed here. Nominations are accepted throughout the year through an online form on the Connecticut SPJ website. Once nominated, a journalist’s name remains on the list for reconsideration for five more years.


Paul Giguere wins SPJ’s Helen M. Loy FOI award

The late Helen M. Loy was a former chairwoman of the Freedom of Information Commission, and one of the trio of original members appointed by then-Gov. Ella T. Grasso. Loy served as a commissioner from 1975-1985 when she died.

Upon her passing, the Connecticut Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists named its annual Freedom of Information award in her honor.

The award honors any member of the public or officials who use the state’s Freedom of Information laws to advance open government.

This year, on May 24, 2018, the honor is given to Paul Giguere.

Giguere is the current president of National Civic Trust, an organization committed to increasing governmental transparency through the creation of state civic networks. He has been committed to the cause for two decades, playing a role in the creation of the Connecticut Public Affairs Network.

CPAN launched the Connecticut Network, or CT-N, in 1999, broadcasting state government to homes around Connecticut.

During his time as president and CEO, CT-N’s coverage expanded to include more state government functions, as well as events organized by civic groups. Prior to his time with CPAN, he was a studio manager with West Hartford’s public access channel.

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 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 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

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.”

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