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 simoneauc1@southernct.edu. 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


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. 

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

Journalism-related job openings in Connecticut & beyond

The following are some job opportunities for journalists in Connecticut and on the East Coast. Please note that some of the positions may have been filled and links may expire. 

Assistant professor: The University of Connecticut’s Department of Journalism is accepting applications for a tenure-track faculty position at the assistant professor level. The successful candidate will have strong journalism credentials and will be expected to contribute to the knowledge and advancement of journalism at a regional and national level. (posted 3/1/18)

Senior editor: Yale Environment 360 is looking for a full-time senior editor to develop, edit and package editorial content for online magazine based at Yale University. (posted 2/21/18)

Copy editor: The Day Publishing Co. is looking for a multi-platform copy editor at its daily newspaper. Must have three years of journalism experience. (posted 2/19/18)

Correspondents: Media startup 50 States of Blue is looking for correspondents to cover politics in all 50 states, including New York and Massachusetts. State correspondents will operate a microsite/blog dedicated to the pursuit of those stories in each state and will work from home. (posted 2/19/18)

Reporter: Hearst Connecticut Media is looking for a news reporter for one of its daily newspapers. Candidate should have a passion for hard news and excel at social media tools and platforms; be able to decipher state, municipal, education and police lingo; and be skilled at taking photos and video with a smartphone. (posted 2/15/18)

Weekly reporter: The Rivereast News Bulletin seeks a responsible, highly-motivated, self-starting reporter to cover two towns. (posted 2/15/18)

The Hartford Business Journal is looking for a web editor to lead HBJ’s online news efforts and products including CT Morning Blend and HBJ Today. The right candidate must be able to meet tight, daily deadlines and long-term story deadlines. Business reporting experience a plus! See more on Indeed.com (posted 2/9/18).

The Hartford Courant is looking for a Reporter and a Sports Columnist. Check out both job postings on its parent company site, Tronc.com (posted 2/8/18).

Patch has an immediate opening for a field editor to cover the Ridgefield market. A successful candidate is someone with an entrepreneurial bent, great news judgment and knowledge of the local audience, who has a flair with social media and can work independently. View the full listing and details at JournalismJobs.com (posted 2/7/18)



2017 Excellence in Journalism Contest open for entries

The CTSPJ 2017 Excellence in Journalism Contest is now open for entries.

You can enter the contest here. Deadline for entries is Feb. 15 at 11:59 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19, at 5 p.m. All entries must have been published or broadcast in 2017.

We are adding two new categories this year: Data and Health reporting.

Magazines remain in their own circulation class, Region C (Magazines). 

Please review the circulation class list before entering. If you do not see your media outlet on the list, please contact contest clerk Jessica Garin at Jessica.Garin.U@gmail.com.

With the changing news industry and changes at individual news outlets, the CTSPJ board will continue to review the circulation classes each year. If you have feedback on the placement of your news outlet, please contact Contest Chair Jodie Mozdzer Gil at jmozdzer@gmail.com. Any requests for review will be considered by the full CTSPJ Board of Directors before the following year’s contest.


All media outlets compete against each other in the top three special awards categories. For the rest of the categories (below), media outlets will compete in their circulation class.

Stephen A. Collins Public Service Award
This is a special award open to all media for a story or stories having a significant impact in the public interest. Entries must include supporting documentation such as letters, editorials, evidence of a change in public policy, showing how the entry had an impact. Please include a cover letter with the entry.
Theodore Driscoll Award for Investigative Reporting
This is a special award open to all media for a single story or formal series containing information, obtained through reporter initiative not readily available to the news media or public.
First Amendment Award
This is a special award open to all media for a single story, column or series which increases public understanding of the role of the press in a free society.

Editorial Cartoon | A single cartoon online or in print
Single Editorial | Represents the opinion of the publication, station or news website as an organization
General Column | A single (other than sports or humorous) that expresses an opinion or point of view on an issues or event
Humorous Column | A single column on any topic with the purpose to entertain
In-Depth | A single story that helps audience understand situation beyond information provided in a normal news story
Investigative | A single story containing information obtained through reporter initiative that was not readily available to the news media or the public
Data | A reporting project that relied heavily on analyzing data.
Health reporting | A story dealing with health-related topics.
Feature | Any story written for a reason other than timeliness. (Please note, this was omitted from an earlier list in error)
Religion | A story dealing with religious topics
Government | A story dealing with government topics
Courts/Crime | Any story dealing with issues of the criminal justice system, except for breaking news
Arts & Entertainment | A single story dealing with the arts
Business | A single story dealing with business
Leisure | A story dealing with travel, food, gardening, or other leisure topics
Continuing Coverage | No more than 10 articles that follow the same topic over time
Diversity Coverage | Single story on a diversity issue
Education | A single story on an education issue
Reporting Series | A formal series of no more than 10 articles, including investigative, in-depth or feature series
Local Reporting | A story that shines light on an issue important to a single town or region. This category is meant for those stories that fulfill the mission of community journalism.
Breaking News | A single story or package of stories and social media updates that involves coverage of a spot news event written under an immediate deadline.
Sports News | A single story on a sports news topic
Sports Feature | A single story on a sports topic, written for a factor other than timeliness
Sports Column | A single column on a sports topic
Sports Photo | A single sports photo
Feature Photo | A single feature photo
News Photo | A single news photo
Photo Essay | A collection of photos, either in print or online, that together tell one story.
Page 1 Layout | A category for the person who arranged the text and images, not for the writers or photographers of the materials on the page.
Non-Page 1 Layout | Any single page design that was not on page 1
Headline | A single entry is made up of three headlines, all the work on a single individual
Infographic Design | The design of a single static or interactive graphic
Infographic Reporting | The reporting of a single static or interactive graphic
Video Storytelling | Use of video to tell a story alone or bolster written reporting
Audio Storytelling | Use of audio to tell a story alone or bolster written reporting

Entry fees:

  • $10 for active Connecticut SPJ members
  • $25 for non-members and news organizations
  • $50 for the three top awards
  • $5 for student members
  • $10 for students who are not members
  • If you do not know your member number, please contact SPJ’s national membership coordinator, Linda Hall, at LindaH@SPJ.org or at (317) 927-8000
College contest runs from March 15 to April 15, 2018, for the 2017-18 academic year. 
We’re offering free entries to those who volunteer to judge.  If your news outlet agrees to judge 10 categories from our swapping partners, we’ll give you a free entry. Individuals who agree to judge two categories will get a free entry. Please sign up for judging swaps with Contest Clerk Jessica Garin at Jessica.Garin.U@gmail.com.

Podcast: How news organizations should handle sexual misconduct allegations

In his new podcast, CT Pro Chapter President Mike Savino talks to national SPJ President Rebecca Baker about how the news media should handle sexual misconduct allegations. Savino and Baker talk about both how to report on allegations, and how news organizations should handle complaints from within. 

Click here to listen to the podcast or listen below. 


Navigating Immigration Coverage in the News

The Society of Professional Journalists student chapter at Southern Connecticut State University will present “Navigating Immigration Coverage in the News” on Nov. 15 at 9 a.m. The event will be held at the Adanti Student Center, Room 301, at Southern Connecticut State University.

Invited panelists include: Michael Boyle, Immigration Attorney; Esteban Hernandez, New Haven Register reporter; Sandra Gomez-Aceves, Hartford Courant reporter; Esteban Garcia, SCSU Undocumented Students’ Support Team.

 The panel is co-sponsored by the CT Pro Chapter of the SPJ. Use the #SPJ4ALL for all diversity-related tweets and events. RSVSP by emailing: spj.scsu@gmail.com by Nov. 9. 

President’s Letter – October 2017

Come have pizza and beer

If you missed out on September’s happy hour event in West Hartford, don’t worry. We’re coming to JRoos in North Haven on Oct. 18 from 7 p.m. 9 p.m. Come enjoy free food and catch up with friends, network and even talk with board members. If you and your colleagues would like us to schedule a happy hour in your region of the state, let us know. We’d love to come meet you!

What else is going on?

We’re working on some great programming ideas that we hope to share with you in the near future. In the meantime, we’re working with students, including our friends at the Central Connecticut and Southern Connecticut state universities. President Mike Savino was part of a panel discussion, along with the Hartford Courant’s Matt Kaufman and SPJ national President Rebecca Baker, at CCSU. He is also scheduled to speak at SCSU’s High School Journalism Day at the end of the month.

For those able to get to NYC, meanwhile, our friends with the Asian American Journalists Association is hosting Catalyst: Elevating Media Founders of Color, happening Nov. 9-11. The AAJA is offering a limited number of travel stipends.

See what else is happening

Job Openings

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

It happened in Vegas, and it has happened at home. Stay up on best practices

The Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas is an unfortunate reminder of the way journalists can be thrown into difficult assignments at a moment’s notice. Veteran Connecticut reporters, sadly, have been forced into similar circumstances in the not too distant past. With that, it’s always a good idea for reporters to remind themselves of best practices before they are thrown into those situations. Journalists can always look to the SPJ Code of Ethics for guidance on how to handle any difficult situation, but here is a recent article from Poynter specific to mass shootings.

The SPJ Code of Ethics

Four CT journalists attending NEFAC institute

The New England First Amendment Coalition has selected four journalists from the Nutmeg State as part of its 25-person 2017 New England First Amendment Institute. Attendees, including WVIT’s Jill Konopka, Hartford Courant’s Stephen Busemeyer, Norwalk Hour’s Kaitlyn Krasselt, and Norwalk Hour’s Martha Shanahan, will spend three days learning about Freedom of Information laws.  

See what else NEFAC is up to

Thanks for your continued support.

Your president,

Mike Savino

CT SPJ annual dinner photo gallery

Maureen Croteau

University of Connecticut’s Journalism Department Chairwoman Maureen Croteau is the first woman to lead an academic department in UConn’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and is its longest-serving department head. Last year, the department celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and Croteau has been its leader for the past 34 years.

Croteau arrived in Storrs after more than a decade working as a newspaper reporter and editor in Hartford and Providence. When she accepted the position in 1983, the department had three faculty members and a roomful of manual Underwood typewriters on old oaken desks. In 1985, she set up the department’s first computer lab, one of the first on campus. The department now has eight full-time faculty members, including two Pulitzer Prize winners, serving more than 200 undergraduate majors and pre-majors. Under her direction, the department has become the only nationally accredited journalism program in New England.

Since 1991, Croteau has been a director at The Day, where Publisher Gary Ferrugia calls her, “the conscience of the company in all matters regarding journalism.”

She is a UConn alumna and a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is co-author of two books, and was the 2014 New England Journalism Educator of the Year, chosen by the New England Newspaper and Press Association.

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