Hartford Courant, Hearst, New Haven Independent honored at SPJ awards ceremony

The Connecticut SPJ hosted an in-person awards ceremony on July 17 at the Ansonia Nature Center and honored winners of the 2020 Excellence in Journalism contest. 

First Amendment Award

FOI commission: Schools can’t use students as shield; New Haven Independent; Christopher Peak

Stephen A. Collins Public Service Award

From deaths to lost jobs to health care, the coronavirus has changed our way of life in Connecticut; Hartford Courant; Hartford  Courant staff

Theodore Driscoll Award for Investigative Reporting

Death by gun; Connecticut Post/Hearst Connecticut; Bill Cummings, Ed Stannard, Ethan Fry, Tara O’Neill, Brian Lockhart, Clare Dignan, Ben Lambert, Mark Zaretsky

Click here to see full list of winners. 

CTSPJ honors its 2021 scholarship winners

The Connecticut SPJ honored five scholarship winners for 2021 at an outdoor ceremony on July 17 at Ansonia Nature Center. Scholarship winners must be enrolled at an accredited university in Connecticut or be a Connecticut resident enrolled in an accredited university in any state or country studying journalism.

Here are this year’s scholarship recipients:

Alison Cross is a rising senior who writes for UConn’s Daily Campus and is working this summer as a C-HIT intern covering young people’s health concerns. She aspires to become an investigative journalist at a major print publication.

Samantha Simon is a rising senior at Quinnipiac who prides herself on having grown up in Queens, N.Y. After graduation, she hopes to work for a non-profit news organization that focuses on social justice before someday making her way to the New York Times. In her free time she likes crafting and spending absurd amounts of money on plants.

Melody Rivera is a senior at CCSU who has written for The Recorder for three years and has been president of the Autism Connection Club for two. She has been passionate about writing since eighth grade, when she wrote for her middle school’s newspaper.

Matthew White is a junior at Keene State College who’s involved with the Equinox student newspaper and the WKNH student-run radio station. He participates in student government, enjoys photography and also plays instruments including the guitar and drums.

Eric Kerr is a 3+1 student at Quinnipiac who recently completed his undergraduate coursework and will continue on to the school’s sports journalism graduate program in the fall. He has covered sports and news for Q30 Television and worked as a broadcast manager for QBSN.

Kerr is the recipient of the Jack Kramer scholarship, a special scholarship given this year in honor of the late Jack Kramer, a long-time editor at the New Haven Register.

Attend the 2020 SPJ conference on us!

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist to visit Southern CSU on Nov. 13

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Sonia Nazario will lead a social justice conversation on the effects of immigration and familial separation on families on Nov. 13 at the New Haven campus. 

In 2003, Nazario won the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing for her Los Angeles Times series titled,  Enrique’s Journey, which details the story of a Honduran boy’s struggle to find his mother in the U.S.

The series was later turned into a book by Random House and became a national bestseller. 

Nazario will be discussing Enrique’s journey and the country’s immigration dilemma, specifically the issue of unaccompanied minors from Central America at the U.S. border. 

The program will be from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Adanti Student Center Ballroom at Southern Connecticut State University. 

Click here for more information. 

Sonia Nazario

Nazario has written extensively about Latinos in the United States. She has been named among the most influential Latinos by Hispanic Business Magazine and a “trendsetter” by Hispanic Magazine. In 2012 Columbia Journalism Review named Nazario among “40 women who changed the media business in the past 40.” In 2018, she was given the Spirit of HOPE (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality) Award.

A graduate of Williams College, she has a master’s degree in Latin American studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and honorary doctorates from Mount St. Mary’s College and Whittier College. She began her career at the Wall Street Journal, and later joined the Los Angeles Times.


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.

2016 Contest Winners announced

The Connecticut Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists handed out more than 350 awards to journalists from around the state at its annual Excellence in Journalism dinner on Thursday, May 25.

A PDF of the full winners list can be downloaded here. *

The Hartford Courant, Norwich Bulletin and Connecticut Post took home the top three all-media awards.

First Amendment Award

Andrew Julien, the editor/publisher for the Hartford Courant, left, accepts the First Amendment Award from CTSPJ President Michael Savino, right, on behalf of winner Jon Lender. | Viktoria Sundqvist photo

The Courant’s Jon Lender won the First Amendment Award for his article “Malloy’s office demands daily memos from agencies on press calls.”

Judges said: “Love the lede. In an age where people routinely equate bad publicity with ‘fake news,’ this grabs your attention and makes it clear that this is a piece that speaks truth to power. The use of FOIA requests is effective to help paint a fuller picture of what’s going on.”






Stephen A. Collins Public Service Award

CTSPJ President Michael Savino congratulates Ryan Blessing of the Norwich Bulletin on winning the Stephen A. Collins Public Service Award. | Viktoria Sundqvist photo

Ryan Blessing of the Norwich Bulletin won the Stephen A. Collins Public Service Award for his reporting on “Derbygate:” public officials taking all-expenses-paid trips to the Kentucky Derby, funded by the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative.

Judges said: “This series of stories exposes a shocking level of ethical abuses.  Nice packaging and stellar reporting.  Ryan Blessing uncovered a wealth of public records and documents and supplemented his reporting with solid interviews.  Ryan’s investigation led to an FBI investigation and other changes to ethics policies.  The story uncovered a problem and generated results, all in the public interest.  This was an excellent piece of public interest journalism.”



Theodore Driscoll Award for Investigative Reporting

Barbara Roessner, the executive editor for Hearst Media Group, accepts the Theodore Driscoll Award for Investigative Reporting on behalf of Ken Dixon, Angela Carella and Neil Vigdor. | Viktoria Sundqvist photo

Ken Dixon, Angela Carella and Neil Vigdor from the Connecticut Post won the Theodore Driscoll Award for Investigative Reporting for their reporting on “Inside the money game,” which tracked the path of political donations toward Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s 2014 re-election campaign.

Judges said: “A meticulously reported story on how politics is for sale in Connecticut and how big-money contributors find ways to give to campaigns indirectly by getting around campaign-finance laws. This is a story that should alarm every voter in the state.”







*The College Contest General Reporting winners did not appear on the final winners list. The winners were:

(1) Cracks in the system: How a sex offender was able to go undetected; The Recorder; Analisa Novak
(2) Too little too late: How a CCSU’s student death could have been prevented; The Recorder; Analisa Novak
(3) Quinnipiac unveils new brand identity; Quinnipiac Chronicle; Thamar Bailey

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 →

CTSPJ programming: Reporting On Elections

Connecticut SPJ held a panel, “Reporting On Elections,” on Friday, Sept. 9, at the Hartford Courant. The discussion covered what all reporters should know heading into the November state and presidential elections, including which disclosures are publicly available.
Hartford Courant Capitol Bureau Chief Christopher Keating moderated. Panelists included:
  • NBC Connecticut political reporter Max Reiss
  • CT News Junkie Editor Christine Stuart
  • Representatives from the Connecticut State Election Enforcement Commission and the Office of State Ethics
Thanks to the folks at CT-N for covering it live, and for providing it on-demand.
Watch the event below.

Journalism on Target program taught journalists about guns

SPJ President Mike Savino gets instruction from Chad Nye, Keene State journalism professor, during the Connecticut SPJ sponsored event, "Journalism on Target" held at the Greyson Guns firing range in Orange, Conn. Aug. 22, 2016. | Vern Williams photo

SPJ President Mike Savino gets instruction from Chad Nye, Keene State journalism professor, during the Connecticut SPJ sponsored event, “Journalism on Target” held at the Greyson Guns firing range in Orange, Conn. Aug. 22, 2016. | Vern Williams photo

Journalists from around the state received hands-on training Monday about how to more accurately report on firearms.

Keene State College Professors Mark Timney and Chad Nye traveled from New Hampshire to share their knowledge of both firearms and journalism, educating roughly a dozen reporters on the different types of firearms and how those variations can affect their work. The event was held at Greyson Guns in Orange, Conn.

Timney and Nye also cleared up a number of misconceptions among the general public, including the fact that the type of bullet only makes a marginally difference when fired from handguns, but can affect the performance of those from long guns. They also explained the difference between semi-automatic and automatic weapons, and how Connecticut’s gun laws actually affect the functionality of firearms available on the market today.

Reporters also had the chance to fire a handgun, shotgun, and semi-automatic rifle to feel the difference among each type. Reporters from the Record-Journal, New Haven Register, Journal Inquirer, Republican American, and the Day were present.

The event was organized by CTSPJ president Michael Savino and CTSPJ treasurer Jodie Mozdzer Gil, with help from Vern Williams, an assistant professor of Journalism at Southern Connecticut State University, and Peter Hvizdak, a New Haven Register photographer.

Chad Nye, an associate professor of journalism at Keene State, demonstrates a long rifle during the CTSPJ-sponsored event "Journalism on Target" held at Greyson Guns in Orange, Conn. Aug. 22. | Vern Williams photo

Chad Nye, an associate professor of journalism at Keene State, demonstrates a long rifle during the CTSPJ-sponsored event “Journalism on Target” held at Greyson Guns in Orange, Conn. Aug. 22. | Vern Williams photo

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