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!


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.

President’s letter — Sept 2017

A message from the president

September 2017


Report from EIJ 2017

Connecticut had a strong showing at this year’s conference, with nearly 20 journalism professionals, students, and professors making the trip to Anaheim for the annual Society of Professional Journalists. This year’s meeting saw a major change to the structure for the national board and installation of an old friend as new president. See below for more details.


Come meet us for food and drinks!

We’re coming to your area for happy hour

Before we get caught up in EIJ, we want to let you know that we’re coming out to talk with all of you. We’ll be at Bar Louie in West Hartford on Sept. 27 with WVIT-30’s Max Reiss and Hartford Courant’s Daniela Altimari. Join us beginning at 7 p.m. to talk about journalism, politics, sports, or whatever else. Free food, too! The festivities begin at 7 p.m. We’re also working out the details for a similar event in the New Haven area on Oct. 18, so stayed tuned.

See what else is happening

Huge loss for Connecticut journalism

Bob Veillette dies at 72

Before we return to updates from Anaheim, we have some somber news to pass along. Bob Veillette, longtime managing editor of the Republican-American, died Wednesday at Saint Mary’s Hospital. Veillette’s tenure as managing editor was the culmination of a 40-year career at the Rep-Am. He had to leave the paper in 2006 due to a stroke, though. The Rep-Am will have more on Veillette later this week.

Learn more about Veillette’s life and career

Local girl does good!!

Connecticut SPJ alum now national president

Some of you may remember Rebecca Baker, who worked for the New Haven Register and served as Connecticut SPJ secretary during her time in the Nutmeg State. She was installed Saturday as the new SPJ national president. Baker also recently named deputy news director of the New York Daily News.

Learn more about our new SPJ president

Leaner, meaner national board

Convention approves shrinking SPJ board

Delegates at the convention approved reducing the current 23-member board to nine in hopes of making the board more efficient and better able to respond quickly to national issues. We at Connecticut SPJ heard your concerns about the change being too small, and offered an amendment for an 11-member board. The amendment received modest support but fell short of the two-thirds majority needed. Delegates approved the nine-member board, but we at Connecticut SPJ voted against the change, in large part, to your feedback. Please note the change doesn’t affect our chapter’s board.

Learn more about the bylaw change

Learn more about EIJ from your friends

Grant winners participate in the festivities

WVIT-TV 30’s Jill Konopka and Central Connecticut State University student Analisa Novak were part of the Connecticut contingent thanks to travel grants from Connecticut SPJ. It’s the third year in a row we’ve helped members attend the national conference. EIJ is coming to the East Coast twice in the next three years, so make sure to apply and join us in the future.

See all the opportunities here

Job Openings

See who’s hiring

Looking for work, or know someone who is? 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

Excellence in Journalism finalist list now available

The 2016 Excellence in Journalism Contest received more than 700 entries this year.

You can view a PDF of the finalists list here.

The winners of the contest will be announced during the annual Excellence in Journalism awards dinner on Thursday, May 25 at Grassy Hill Country Club.

You can purchase tickets for the dinner by clicking here, or by visiting our Dinner Page.



SPJ showcases drones and new photo tech

Vern Williams drone demonstration

Vern Williams, assistant professor of Journalism at Southern Connecticut State University, prepares to fly his DJI Mavic Pro drone at Southern Wednesday, April 19, as Richie Rathsack, digital content editor for the Record-Journal in Meriden, looks on. | Jodie Mozdzer Gil photo

Drones are getting smaller, and the cameras more powerful — and journalists continue to explore ways that can translate to better news coverage.

Read more →

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.

Testimony Sought for FOI BILLS

Connecticut SPJ’s Board of Directors strongly urges journalists and news outlets to submit testimony during public hearings this week on a number of proposed bills that affect public access to information.

The Government Administration and Elections Committee’s March 7 public hearing includes legislation that, as written, would greatly expand when a public board or agency could call an executive session (HB 5501). The proposal would allow public officials to close off meetings from the public for any consultation with an attorney of the public agency concerning legal matters. This is a tremendous expansion beyond what is currently allowed under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

A second piece of legislation (HB 5512) would allow municipalities to charge additional fees whenever someone files a FOI request for commercial purposes. The bill expressly states that journalists are exempt from the legislation, although it doesn’t define what constitutes a news outlet. Additional, this bill goes against the FOI Act, which does not grant a public agency to consider the intent of a requester, and this proposal would thus go against the spirit of the FOI Act. The bill also appears to give tremendous flexibility to how much a town can charge, making it potentially cost prohibitive for a requester whose intentions are deemed to be for commercial purposes. Lastly, this bill sets a dangerous precedent in chipping away at the public’s ability to easily access information.

GAE will also hear comments on a proposal requiring the preservation of and improving access to some historical records of value (HB 5499). The bill would improve access to some government records of value, including medical records. This would allow for a better examination on the way certain health ailments or conditions were treated in the past, as well as how the medical history of historically significant people may have affected their actions.

The committee’s hearing begins at 1 p.m., or written testimony can be sent to

The Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee will hear testimony during its March 8 public hearing on a bill that would moderately expand the amount of information that the University of Connecticut Foundation is required to make publicly available (SB 333). It would allow the foundation, though, to otherwise maintain its statutory exemption from the FOI Act.

Testimony can be sent to

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

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