Posts by lglagowski

Former state Rep. Winkler appointed to Freedom of Information Commission

Former state Rep. Lenny T. Winkler has been appointed to the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and confirmed by the state Senate.

Winkler, who represented the 41st District, was sworn in as a commissioner on May 22. Her term runs until June 30, 2016. She serves with eight other commissioners…




The public’s right to know at risk, CCFOI says

By Ed Jacovino
Journal Inquirer
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

HARTFORD — The state Appellate Court says police can offer limited information in a news release and still meet the requirements for open government.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office is refusing to name state employees who have been disciplined for fraudulently applying for welfare.

And the legislature is approving state employee contracts that overrule a state law requiring that personnel files be public information.

Those are some of the events of the past year that the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information is taking issue with. And it has issued a report to legislature urging it to take action to ensure state government is accountable to the people.

Read more →

Citizen Journalism Event — Live Chat

Traditional media and citizen journalism: Time to curate, collaborate

By Matt DeRienzo
Group editor of Journal Register Company’s publications in Connecticut 

Think of how this sounds to reporters who are bracing for the next round of newsroom layoffs, reporters who’ve gone years in many cases since their last cost of living raise.

“Citizen journalists” – are you kidding me?

When newspaper executives talk about enlisting readers to cover the news, it can feel pretty insulting to the beat reporter who is over-worked, under-paid and under-appreciated. Reporters who can recite the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics verbatim. Reporters who have a masochistic sense of duty to singlehandedly cover everything that a much larger newsroom used to cover.

That “nails on the chalkboard” sound could have something to do with the term “citizen journalist” itself. Connecticut SPJ’s Jodie Mozdzer has done an excellent job establishing the problems with the term itself.

While “citizen journalist” might be impossible to define, there are “acts of citizen journalism” all around us. That’s the disruptive force in news that has both accelerated the financial problems of newspapers and other traditional media and is providing one of the biggest opportunities in generations to expand the breadth and quality of our journalism.

Newspapers and broadcast TV and radio were built on a business model of scarcity.

Millions of people tuned in to Walter Cronkite each evening in the 1960s, and household penetration of daily newspapers was still at a now-unthinkable rate of more than 100 percent (meaning that on average, every household in the country purchased more than one copy).

Today, the scarcity model is dead.

There is no Walter Cronkite equivalent.

And daily newspaper household penetration dropped to 55 percent in 2001, to 44 percent in 2006 to 34 percent in 2011.

Since 2005, print advertising revenue in the United States has dropped by more than 50 percent.

A big part of why is that there are now millions of news and information sources. And they are instantly and multi-directionally connected in “a web” that is the Web.

The people “formerly known as our audience” don’t turn to Walter Cronkite anymore. They don’t turn to the daily newspaper. They turn to each other, and “if the news is important enough, it will find me.”

So we turn to the question of what role traditional media organizations play in this disrupted world of news and information.

What is our relationship with our audience, if they no longer need us, at least in the way they did under that old scarcity model?

Connecticut SPJ’s discussion of “Citizen Journalism” on Saturday will take place at The Register Citizen Newsroom Cafe in Torrington, and the venue itself is part of our company’s answer to that question.

It is all about relationships now, and partnering with the audience at every step of the process of local journalism. That starts with openness and transparency, the building blocks of our “open newsroom” experiment.

It also means recognizing that the audience will organize itself around common interests without you because it doesn’t need you to do that.

That’s why we refer to “partnering” instead of “enlisting” or “involving” the audience.

John Paton, the CEO of our company, has said he envisions a day when our mix of content includes one-third original work produced by our professional staff, one-third produced by our audience, and one-third produced by professional partners such as The Associated Press and TheStreet.Com on a national level and CT Mirror and Connecticut Health Investigation Team on a state level.

Does that mean we’ll be enlisting readers to go and cover the city council meeting that used to be covered by the reporter we laid off?

No. But the staff reporter who is covering it will tell readers ahead of time that he’s planning to cover it, and what issues he expects to arise. He or she might use social media, blogging and in-person engagement to enlist the expertise of the audience to find the best angles, to ask the right questions and to put the story in a greater context than “official sources” can or are willing to provide.

It means there will be more jobs like the full-time “curator” position that we created in Torrington last year.

With millions of sources of information out there (including every audience member with a quality camera and Twitter app on their smart phone), there is a huge need and opportunity for traditional media to verify and curate that content and put it into context.

Think back to the last time there was a major community emergency – Hurricane Irene and the Halloween snowstorm in Connecticut come to mind – and you’ll find an excellent example of how media curation of reader reports on social media provided information about closed roads, downed power lines and flooding faster than police and fire crews knew about it.

Almost every media outlet in Connecticut was asking readers to “send in their photos,” but the fact is, they were already sharing that stuff with their own personal networks on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

“It may be a mistake for news organisations to keep begging people to send them stuff,” CUNY journalism professor Jeff Jarvis wrote in The Guardian. “That’s the way they think – centralised, controlling, exclusive. But the better structure may be for journalists to curate the best of what is out on the web. Rather than playing wack-a-mole on the occasional mistake/rumour/lie sent it, editors would better serve if they found the best content anywhere, not just among that which was sent to them.”

It’s not about swapping out professional journalists for “citizen journalists,” but rather, professional journalists tuning in to the acts of citizen journalism that are happening all around them as they combine curation and collaboration with ethical standards, shoe leather and news judgment to do a better job overall in “getting the story.”

At his blog Buzz Machine, Jarvis wrote that “… journalists must redefine their roles and relationships as more than reporters, editors, and producers — which, yes, they must still be — but also…. Moderators. Entrepreneurs. Teachers. Students. Helpers. Enablers. Networkers. Filters. Partners. Community members. Citizens.”

Matt DeRienzo is group editor of Journal Register Company’s publications in Connecticut, which include the New Haven Register, Middletown Press, Register Citizen and Connecticut Magazine.

2012 Bob Eddy College Scholarship Program

The Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists Foundation Inc. presents the
Bob Eddy Scholarship Program To Foster Journalism Careers

One award each for $2,500, $1,500, $1,000, $500, and $500 *

The awards recognize Bob Eddy, the late publisher of The Hartford Courant, and founder of the Connecticut SPJ chapter; the late Richard Peck, a veteran news reporter and city editor of The Connecticut Post, and the late James Clark, a veteran reporter for The Connecticut Post, a longtime member of the Connecticut SPJ Scholarship Committee, and a former president of Connecticut SPJ. A new scholarship recognizes the late Pat Child, former WTNH-TV videographer.

To apply for a scholarship students must start their junior or senior year in Fall 2012 and be enrolled at an accredited 4-year college in Connecticut or be a Connecticut resident enrolled in an accredited 4-year college in any state or country.


CT SPJ 2012 Scholarship Application

*Other scholarships may also be available

CT Journalism Hall of Fame: Kenn Venit

Kenn Venit is a media consultant, teaches journalism at Quinnipiac University and Southern Connecticut State University, and is a past president of the Connecticut Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). He has been involved with various media for over 45 years, Kenn is perhaps best known for his years as an award-winning Channel 8 “Action News” reporter and anchor, also serving as an Accu-Weather forecaster, and “High School Bowl” quizmaster. Kenn was featured in the 2010 CPTV documentary, “The Blizzard of ’78,” recounting how he and others covered that historic storm. He joined Sigma Delta Chi as a student At Temple University in 1964.

Kenn has worked at Channels 3, 8, and 30, has done some projects with FOX61. He anchors election night coverage and League of Women Voters candidates forums for North Haven’s cable station, NHTV18, and co-hosted a Rotary Club telethon on NHTV to raise funds for victims of the multiple disasters in Japan. He has been honored with lifetime achievement awards by the Boston-New England Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Science, and the Emerson College Chapter of the Radio-TV News Directors Association. Kenn received a Quinnipiac University Excellence in Teaching Award in 2006, and the Quinnipiac University Student Government Outstanding Faculty Award for 2009-2010.

CT Journalism Hall of Fame: Chuck Dixon

Chuck Dixon never met an awkward phrase he didn’t hate.

Dixon ran the state news desk at the Waterbury Republican-American, where he taught a generation of reporters how to write crisply and succinctly.

Dixon demanded sharp thinking and tight writing. He could be a fearsomely tough critic. But the loyalty that he inspired in his staff lives on long after his retirement and years after his death.

Dixon’s specialty was always crime news. After serving in the Navy during the Korean War, he joined the Arizona Republic in 1954 as a cub reporter.

Son, he was assigned to the police and courts beats.

In his first year on the job, he was dispatched to the Arizona State Prison to witness – and cover – the execution of a confessed murderer.

He left journalism in 1958 for public relations in the insurance industry. But he returned to newspapers in 1970, joining the Waterbury Republican as an assistant state editor.

Dixon worked there for more than 20 years as an editor, yet never completely stopped being a reporter.  In 1972, he covered the murder of a Torrington High School girl, winning awards from state and regional news organizations. He spent a week in New London in 1988 covering the conclusion of the spectacular “Woodchipper” murder trial. When the judge abruptly declared a mistrial late on a Friday night, Dixon filed a rich, insightful story in time for Page 1 ….  dictating much of it on deadline when his old TRS-80  gave out.

After retiring in 1991 as assistant managing editor, Dixon wrote a Sunday column that was anything but ordinary.

He did ride-alongs with a driving instructor and a trash collector … subbed as a bookstore security guard … tried hitch-hiking along Route 254 to see who would offer him a ride …. and even posed as a deadbeat — but hungry — customer at Torrington restaurants to find out whether he’d get stuck washing dishes.

Dixon died four years ago at 76. His memorial service brought together dozens of former colleagues who traveled from around the country to attend.

Mike Balchunas,  one of Dixon’s deputy editors in the 1980s, describes him this way:

“I think Chuck was the best journalism ‘teacher’ I’ve ever seen, even though that wasn’t in his job description. He was a consummate storyteller with the highest ethical standards … a strong sense of fairness … and a tremendous knack for knowing what elements belonged in a story and what to leave out.”



CT Journalism Hall of Fame: Jerry Dunklee

Jerry Dunklee has been a broadcaster and professor for 45 years.  32 of those years have been in Connecticut.

Jerry worked at WELI Radio in New Haven as a talk show host for more than 7 years.  During that time his number-one rated evening show delved into topics as wide-ranging as nuclear power to Broadway musicals.  He interviewed over 6-thousand people at WELI.  He has also filled in as a talk host at WPOP in Hartford and WICC in Bridgeport.  Jerry also worked in New York and Boston during his news and talk career.

He started teaching full time in 1985 at Southern Connecticut State University.  He has taught thousands of students, many of whom have become career journalists.  His students were involved in two major studies of compliance with FOI law at the state and local level.  Both studies resulted in national news coverage and more focus on how agencies actually deal with FOI. He, under the mentoring of the late Robin Glassman, led the Journalism Department for nine years.

Jerry has been president, vice president and ethics chair of Connecticut SPJ.  Over the years he created dozens of workshops and panels in the state dealing with FOI, Free Press/Fair Trial, Ethics and Investigative Journalism.

He has fought for student First Amendment rights at both the college and high school level.

Jerry has been a member of the National Ethics Committee of SPJ since 1994 and helped write the current Code of Ethics.

He has two grown children, Brady and Caitlin.  Brady started a charity to help poor children in Nicaragua and Caitlin works in prison reform in New York.

He served in the Army from 1966 to 1968 as a member of the Bomb Squad.

He just completed his 25th year at Southern.

Dunklee was inducted in 2010. Below is his acceptance speech:

When the late Robin Marshall-Glassman and I started talking about creating a Connecticut Journalism Hall of Fame many years ago the last thing I ever considered was being a member of this extraordinary group.  As most of you know, Robin was one of our first inductees for her remarkable writing and her dedication to the craft of journalism.  Her selfless toil for several generations of journalists was inspiring.  She was my mentor and friend.  And any light shone on me, and many others in the room tonight, is reflected from her brilliant, still-beaming beacon.  Thank you Robin.

Journalism is essential to our way of life.  Democracy cannot thrive without your daily efforts to reveal our world and educate readers, listeners and viewers.  Ethical, informed journalism is the food and drink of effective self-government.  Absent this menu of news and views we will become anorexic and susceptible to fear and the deleterious effects of ignorance.   We have been enduring hard times.  Some say quality journalism cannot survive.  I don’t believe that.  I believe your hard work matters.  And I hope you fight on.

When Cindy Simoneau told me I, and the others honored here tonight, had been selected to enter the Hall of Fame I was, to say the least, surprised.

She said, ”We wanted to honor you guys while you’re still alive to enjoy it.”

As you all know, journalists are only as good as their last story.

While I’m still kickin’ I hope there are still a few stories in me…and some ways of communicating to the general public the value of what you do in their lives.

I am deeply honored to be considered worthy of this distinction.




CT Journalism Hall of Fame: Paul Gough

Paul Gough.  You may not know it, but Paul has touched the lives of more journalists in Connecticut than probably any other individual.  Since the 1970s Paul has administered the annual Connecticut Journalism Awards contest.  With an average of a thousand entries a year…do the math…Paul has handled over 35-thousand entries…arranged out – of – state judging, printed certificates and handed them out at this banquet.  Now that is persistence.  And dedication.

During these years the contest has raised over $350,000 for the scholarship fund.  He worked with Don Hewett and Douglas Edwards to raise another $30,000 for the Bob Eddy Scholarship.

Paul has also served in every office in the state SPJ Chapter, including president, and on the Board of Directors.

He also had a significant career in Connecticut Journalism.  As a city reporter for the New Haven Register he covered the Black Panthers.  One of the people he reported on was Warren Kimbro, who later admitted killing a suspected police informant.

Paul shifted to the medicine and science beat.  He became one of the first environmental reporters in the state.  During this time he interviewed a number of famed scientists including Werner Von Braun, Edmund Land, Astronaut Wally Schirra and Nobel Prize winner, Lars Onsager.

He left the Register in 1973 to work at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. He was in charge of their many publications. While there he was a pioneer in the use of computers.  He used Pagemaker when it was still in development.  He developed the first webpage at the Station.  He retired in 2003.

Paul’s father was a journalist.  His son became a journalist.  It’s still very much in his blood.  He even collects printing presses.

Paul lives with his wife Lisa, who helps with the contest, in Killingworth.





CT Journalism Hall of Fame: Pat Child

Pat Child was a news photographer for New Haven’s WTNH-TV, CH. 8 for almost 40 years.

He covered most major news stories in the state during his remarkable career.

Child worked with dozens of reporters over his many years, often knowing as much or more about the personalities and the politics as they did.

Child knew the state of Connecticut extraordinarily well. He guided many young reporters and videographers toward more complete coverage of events. Pat_Child_Pre-Air_Force

His brother, Bob, also a news photographer, worked for the Associated Press.  When an important news event occurred members of the press referred to it as a “two Child” story because both would be at the scene.

Pat covered everything.  Hurricanes, blizzards, political conventions and day-to-day news stories.  He retired, moved to Florida and died in 2004 at the age of 69.






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