Posts by Connecticut SPJ

Donate to the Bob Eddy Scholarship during the Great Give

The Bob Eddy Scholarship program helps Connecticut students who want to become journalists pay for college.

Each year the committee awards about $6,000 to students from Connecticut, or studying in Connecticut.

The fund is administered through the Community Foundation For Greater New Haven. To donate during The Great Give, click here.

Recap: Making CONNections journalism conference

The Making CONNections regional journalism conference was held at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven on April 8 and 9.

See some of the highlights from the panels in the Storify below.

Workshop Recap: My First J-Job

On Nov. 19, about 25 early career and student journalists gathered at the former Middletown Press headquarters for CTSPJ’s “My First J-Job” panel.
Panelists were: Mike Fallon, public relations professional at the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce; Marcus Harun, TV and web news producer at Fox 61; Juliemar Ortiz, town reporter at the New Haven Register; and Kristin Stoller, town reporter at the Hartford Courant.
The discussion, moderated by CTSPJ board member Jordan Otero, covered topics including the job search, adjusting to life after college graduation and the everyday triumphs and challenges that come with being an early career journalist.
The event was streamed live on Periscope and the group headed to First and Last Tavern for informal networking afterward.

CTSPJ Seeks New Board Members

CTSPJ is looking for members or journalists willing to help work for the betterment of the Connecticut journalism community by joining its Board of Directors.

Nominations are now being accepted for one-year positions as president, vice president, vice president/communications, treasurer, secretary or as a member of the board.

The CTSPJ board works to helps support journalists each year through professional development events and the annual Excellence in Journalism Contest. The board also supports student journalists by awarding thousands of dollars worth of scholarships each year. CTSPJ supports journalistic causes, such as CCFOI and CFOG, as well as the national SPJ Legal Defense Fund. Board members get involved in one or more areas of interest.

All candidates must be paid nation as local and local members of SPJ.

If interested contact Cindy Simoneau, Nominations Chair,  at

Panel recap: Reporting on Islam


Imam Refai Arafin, left, makes a point during the panel discussion at Central Connecticut State University, while Andrew Ragali, center and M. Saud Anwar, right, listen | Paul Singley photo.

Words matter.

When the news media uses the word “terrorist” to identify the Muslim man in the Foot Hood attacks, but not the man involved in the Charleston church shooting, it adds to a growing negative sentiment toward Muslims, said M. Saud Anwar, former mayor and current council member in South Windsor.

Anwar was one of three panelists who spoke during a CTSPJ and CCSU SPJ panel discussion on Islam and Muslims in the news. Anwar was joined by Refai Arefin, Imam of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, and Andrew Ragali, a reporter with the Meriden Record Journal who handled much of the paper’s coverage of the November mosque shooting. The event was held Wednesday, Feb. 24 at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.

“The words and descriptions are clearly different, even in similar incidents,” Anwar said, referring to an academic paper his son wrote that compared Washington Post media coverage of the two shootings.

A national conversation on Muslims in America has been ongoing, as many connect ISIS with the religion, which is practiced by about 3.3 million people in America, according to a 2105 Pew Research study. Fears increased in December, when a married couple killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, and the shooters were identified as Muslims who supported ISIS. Shortly after, presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States.

While the news media plays a role, Arefin said it’s “dangerous to talk about journalists as a monolith,” just as it’s not fair to paint all Muslims based on the actions of a few. That said, he sees some news media feeding into the fears of the public.

“The problem is the very nature of the news cycle today, in which the most extreme voices are amplified,” Arefin said.

Arefin said a selection bias leads to journalists covering mainly negative incidents with Muslims.

Ragali noted the pressures of daily news reporting and the shrinking staffs in newsrooms as part of the issue.

“We have to churn out a certain amount of stories every day. We have certain beats, so we cover city hall, education. So sometimes you’re stuck in that beat, and you can’t think broadly on certain things,” Ragali said. “So things like this, just talking, I’m getting story ideas right now.”

The video of the discussion will be posted in this space soon.


Journalists Talk FOI Changes at CTSPJ Forum

The public has more clear access to certain police records with the passage of Public Act 15-164. FOI public information advocate Tom Hennick and former South Windsor Police Chief Matthew Reed talked with CTSPJ Vice President Michael Savino and a group of about 20 journalists on Jan. 14 about the changes.

The forum was hosted at the Hartford Courant.

The full discussion can be viewed on Periscope. Or see a summary of some points in the tweets posted below.

CTSPJ Contest Revision Proposal

Connecticut SPJ has been talking and thinking a lot about our contest. And we’ve decided it’s time for an update.

So we present to you our plans to move forward for the 2015 Excellence in Journalism Contest, which will open for entries in late December 2015, and close for entries some time in February 2016.

We invite your feedback at this critical stage in the redesign. Please send any comments, questions or suggestions to Contest Chair Jodie Mozdzer Gil at by Aug. 15.

Read more →

Land in Orlando Grant Available for CTSPJ Members

The Connecticut pro chapter of SPJ wants to send you to Orlando to attend the national SPJ Excellence in Journalism convention this September.

The board is offering up to $1,300 in a professional development grant to pay your way to the SPJ convention as a way to thank you for being a member of CTSPJ.

We value professional development, but know funding your own trip to the convention can be difficult. So let us pay your way.

To apply, send a two-to-three paragraph description of why you want to attend the national SPJ convention in Orlando to CTSPJ Past President Cindy Simoneau at Please use the e-mail subject CTSPJ LandInOrlando.

Simoneau will prepare a blind review for the current board to read and vote on.

Applications must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday July 24 to be considered by the board.

Winners will be notified before the Aug. 4 early bird registration deadline.


The details:

  • All applications must be current CTSPJ members in good standing. New members who join before the deadline are eligible for the grant. To join SPJ, click here to visit the national SPJ website. New CTSPJ members don’t pay local dues their first year. All other CTSPJ members must pay the $10 local dues in addition to the national dues.
  • The CTSPJ board will reimburse your conference travel expenses up to $1,300. You’ll need to save receipts for your travel, hotel, and registration, and get them to the board treasurer in order to get the grant reimbursement.
  • If you sign up as a new member, please save a copy of your confirmation to show proof of membership.
  • All applications will be reviewed by the CTSPJ board without knowledge of your name or publication. They will be handled through non-voting Past President Cindy Simoneau.
  • The person selected will be expected to attend two sessions during the conference with the board delegates, held on Saturday and Sunday.
  • The national convention runs from Sept. 18-20. For more information, go to the convention website.

CTSPJ Awards $6,000 in Scholarships

The Connecticut pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists awarded four college students a total of $6,000 in scholarships at its annual awards dinner May 21, 2015.

The Bob Eddy Scholarship program awards annual scholarships to promising students from Connecticut or studying at a Connecticut college. Students apply through a competitive process and are considered based on their demonstrated passion for the industry, grades, financial need and personal essay.

The following students received scholarships in 2015:

Gabriel Rosenberg (Bob Eddy Award — $2,500) is a junior at Wesleyan University, where he is editor-in-chief of The Wesleyan Argus, contributing editor of the campus blog Wesleying, project production assistant at Wesleyan’s Department of Communications. He will be interning this summer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, reporting and writing for the Features desk, and is a recipient of the 2015 Lynch Family Endowed Internship Grant from Wesleyan University. Next year, he plans to complete a senior thesis in American Studies.

Isaac Stein (Bob Eddy Award – $1,500) is a junior at the University of Chicago, where he writes news for both the Chicago Maroon and the South Side Weekly. Last summer he worked to establish a student newspaper at a public high school in Bridgeport and aspires combine his career interests by becoming an education reporter. He cites Charlie LeDuff as one of his main inspirations.

Samantha Tomaszewski (Richard Peck Award – $1,000) is from Redding, Conn. and a sophomore at Lehigh University who is double-majoring in journalism and political science. She has served as a reporter and editor at Lehigh’s student newspaper, where she currently is associate news editor. She also is also a head resident assistant, a class officer, a tour guide and a sorority member. This summer she will be interning at The Hour in Norwalk.

Monique Atkinson (James Clark/Pat Child Award – $1,000) is from East Hartford and attends Boston University. There she has been a campus ambassador, a DJ Intern for the campus radio station, a member of the BU Society of Professional Journalists, and a member of the Alpha Phi Omega community service fraternity. This spring she interned at the Dorchester Reporter. Her love of journalism began in high school when she was a student correspondent for her local newspaper.

CTSPJ Announces Winners of the 2014 Excellence in Journalism Contest

Stories about police departments failing FOI compliance checks, train derailments along the Metro North line and a charter school CEO with a shady past were among those that garnered top awards at the Connecticut SPJ awards dinner Thursday, May 21.

Read more →

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