2017 Stephen A. Collins Public Service Award finalists

Here are the finalists for the 2017 Stephen A. Collins Public Service Award. The winner will be announced at the Connecticut Journalism Hall of Fame at its annual dinner on May 25. More information on the dinner here. And you can buy tickets here.

Deadly day care; Connecticut Post; Bill Cummings 

Connecticut’s opioid crisis; Hartford Courant; Maura Casey (one in a series of editorials)

Left stranded; Hartford Magazine; Josh Kovner

Derbygate; Norwich Bulletin; Ryan Blessing

Increasing transparency amid rising gun violence; Record-Journal; Lauren Sievert, Andrew Ragali, Bryan Lipiner, Molly  Callahan, Jesse Buchanan, Leigh Tauss, Eric Cotton, Jeffery Kurz, Richie Rathsack (one in a series of stories)

Troubled schools on trial; The Connecticut Mirror; Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Connecticut SPJ 2017 Scholarship Call for Entries


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

The 2017 Scholarship program is now open! The deadline to apply has been extended to April 12, 2017. 

This year we will honor five journalism students with awards totalling $6,500.

To apply for a scholarship, students must start their junior, senior year in the fall 2017 and be enrolled at an accredited university in Connecticut or be a Connecticut resident enrolled in an accredited university in any state or country.

Apply today.

CTSPJ statement on New Haven reporter’s arrest

Statement from Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists President Mike Savino following an incident this month involving a New Haven Independent reporter and New Haven police.

“We are greatly disappointed in the decision by the New Haven police department to arrest a working journalist.

We recognize that police have legitimate concerns when setting a perimeter around a scene and urge journalists to respect those boundaries, but an arrest is extreme when less draconian remedies would have sufficed. Additionally, we are concerned by officers’ attempts to seize the memory card from a reporter’s camera, especially in light of New Haven Police Department’s historical failure to recognize the public’s First Amendment Right to record police.

The Connecticut General Assembly even felt compelled to pass legislation reaffirming this right in response to actions by New Haven police, among other agencies. Allowing the press and general public to freely monitor the government that serves on their behalf are an essential part of democracy.”

Longtime journalist and Connecticut SPJ board member dies

Longtime Connecticut journalist Debra “Debbie” Ann Estock, 61, of Fairfield, died Tuesday, Nov. 29.

Estock worked for many years as an editor at The Cooperator, a publication that serves the co-op and condo community on articles on management, finance and maintenance.

Estock was a longtime member and board member of the Connecticut SPJ, serving as chairwoman of the scholarship committee for nine years, starting in 2000.

Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Emery’s Church, 838 Kings Highway, Fairfield. Burial will be at Mt. Grove Cemetery.

Visiting hours will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Lesko & Polke Funeral Home, 1209 Post Road, Fairfield Center.

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.

New England First Amendment Coalition seeking journalism fellows for October institute

nefacThe New England First Amendment Coalition is selecting 25 reporters, editors and news producers to attend its three-day investigative journalism institute in October.

Applications are due August 31.

The institute is free and is open to any journalist working in the region. The institute runs from Oct. 16 to 18 in Dedham, Mass.

Those chosen to attend the institute will learn from some of the country’s elite reporters, editors and media attorneys, according to the first amendment coalition in a news release. Speakers at the institute include investigative journalism journalists and freedom of information experts. Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times and current editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project, will be the keynote speaker.

The following confirmed speakers are:
Robert A. Bertsche | Prince Lobel Tye, LLP
Dieter Bradbury | Portland Press Herald
Peter Caruso | Caruso & Caruso, LLP
Michael Donoghue | Vermont Press Association
Vincent Duffy | Michigan Radio
Rick Gagliuso | Gagliuso and Gagliuso, PA
Matt Kauffman | Hartford Courant
Jenifer McKim | New England Center for Investigative Reporting
Colleen Murphy | Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission
Mike Rezendes | The Boston Globe
Jeremy Singer-Vine | BuzzFeed News
James Smith | Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information
Gregory V. Sullivan | Malloy & Sullivan
Don Van Natta | ESPN
Todd Wallack | The Boston Globe
Program topics include state public records and open meeting laws, effective sourcing, database analysis and how to respond to FOI request denials. Sessions include:
Tales from the Trenches | Panelists will share their practical experience in investigative work through painstaking interviewing and use of freedom of information laws to unearth corruption and bring truth to light.
Common Pitfalls | Panelists will discuss how to accessing documents through FOI requests and how to respond to denials.
Tips for Staying Out of Legal Trouble | A team of media attorneys will explain common issues of concern in defamation and privacy law.
State FOI Law | The specifics of each state’s public records and open meeting laws will be discussed and cases will be reviewed in break-out sessions with knowledgeable attorneys and journalists from each state.
The Confrontational Interview & Transition to Audio or Video | Veteran journalists will discuss how to prepare for difficult interviews and provide strategies on how to engage viewers and listeners.
Writing Workshop and Narrative Flow | Fellows will learn narrative writing techniques and how to improve their storytelling.
Hunch to Headline | Fellows will learn the steps necessary to follow up on a lead using publicly available databases and how to turn that information into a compelling story.
Effective Sourcing | Panelists will discuss how to best develop sources and relationships, and how to evaluate information.
Sponsors and supporters of this year’s institute include The Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund, the Robertson Foundation, The Boston Globe, the New England Newspaper & Press Association and the Academy of New England Journalists.


Meet Viktoria Sundqvist

Sundqvist Viktoria (Twitter) Viktoria Sundqvist is the director of journalism outreach for Hearst Connecticut Media. She works out of the New Haven Register office in New Haven.

She has worked as assistant managing editor at the New Haven Register, executive producer, breaking news editor, managing editor of central Connecticut with oversight of The Register Citizen and The Middletown Press newsrooms, investigations editor at The Middletown Press and The Register Citizen, editor of The Middletown Press and Sunday/Features editor at The Register Citizen. 

She recently helped publish an in-depth nationwide investigation on Boys & Girls Clubs and sexual abuse and has investigated Connecticut police departments and their responsiveness to open records laws

Viktoria has a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University, where she also earned her undergraduate degree in communications and was the editor of the school’s weekly student-run newspaper, The Chronicle.

A native of Sweden, she came to the U.S. as an au pair in 1998, having already studied mass media in high school at a vocational technical-type program where she earned hands-on experience in writing newspaper articles, requesting public documents, producing talk-radio shows, film editing, photography and graphic design. She became a U.S. citizen in 2019.

Several honored by FOI council

The following is a press release from the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information:

Untitled drawing (1)

HARTFORD – The state librarian, a college professor, an NPR editor, a reporter and a retired TV news executive were honored Wednesday for their tireless efforts to keep government records and proceedings open to the public.

The Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information bestowed its Bice Clemow Award on State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, and the Stephen J. Collins Award on Meriden Record-Journal reporter Mike Savino. Champion of Open Government Awards were presented to CCSU history Professor Matt Warshauer, NPR New England Executive Editor John Dankosky, and former Channel 3 News Director Richard Ahles.

Wiggin and Warshauer were recognized for their efforts to make public historical medical records of civil war soldiers suffering from “soldiers heart,” today known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Both have been active in opening the records to the public ever since mental health advocates five years ago passed legislation closing access to those and other historical records. The measure was buried as the 37th section in a 90-section funding bill and passed unbeknownst to legislators voting on it in the last hours of the legislative session.

“The fight to open the records has gone on longer than the Civil War,” said Warshauer, who pledge to come back with a bill again next year. Wiggin stressed “the importance these records play in understanding our history.”

Savino’s award is for his coverage of open government issues while at the Journal Inquirer of Manchester. He has since moved to the Record-Journal, but wherever he plies his trade, it is with a free press “for the people,” he said.

Dankosky, recently promoted from WNPR to the New England-wide editorship, said he shares his award with colleagues Katie Talarski, Jeff Cohen, Colin McEnroe and David DesRoches at WNPR.

Ahles, vice president and former president of CCFOI was recognized for his long service to the group and his exemplary television journalism career. What is most important to him, said the Emmy-award winning journalist, is the friends he has made over the years at work and at the FOI council.

James H. Smith was presented an “Outstanding Service Award” for his five years as CCFOI president.

New officers were elected for the coming year. Dan Klau, an attorney with McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter in Hartford, was named president; Zach Janowski, director of external affairs at the Yankee Institute for Public Policy in Hartford, was named vice president. Jeffrey Daniels of Jeffrey Daniels Consulting of West Hartford and a former aide to Gov. Ella Grasso; and Michele Jacklin, a former Hartford Courant columnist, were named co-legislative chairs. Mary Connolly, retired editorial page editor of the News-Times in Danbury, and George Lombardi, general manager of WSHU radio in Fairfield, remained as secretary and treasurer respectively.

2015 CTSPJ Excellence in Journalism Winners Announced

The 2015 Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism awards were given out at the organization’s annual awards banquet on May 26. Download the spreadsheet below to view the winners.

Connecticut SPJ 2015Excellence In Journalism WinnersList

Proposed slate of CTSPJ officers and board members for 2016-2017

The following is the proposed slate for 2016-17. Members will vote on the roster at the annual meeting and awards ceremony on Thursday, May 26.

President: Michael Savino (one-year term expires June 30, 2017)
Vice President: Jordan Otero (one-year term expires June 30, 2017)
VP/ Communications: Bruno Matarazzo (one-year term expires June 30, 2017)
Secretary: Cara Rosner (one-year term expires June 30, 2017)
Treasurer: Jodie Mozdzer Gil (one-year term expires June 30, 2017)
Immediate Past President: Paul Singley (serves until another president transitions

Board of Directors:
Liz Glagowski (current term expires June 30, 2017)
Viktoria Sundqvist (two-year term ends June 30, 2018)
Andrew Ragali (two-year term ends June 30, 2018)
Leslie Hutchison (two-year term ends June 30, 2018)
Ajhani Ayres (one-year term expires June 30, 2017)
Lawrence Clark (one-year term expires June 30, 2017)

Tickets are now available for the dinner, to be held at Memories at the Tradition in Wallingford (same location as last year, just a new name).
In addition to electing new officers and board members at the dinner, the CTSPJ board will announce winners of the 2015 Excellence in Journalism Contest and award annual scholarships.
The list of finalists of the 2015 contest is now available on our website..
The board will also induct new members into the Connecticut Journalism Hall of Fame, and honor those who have fought for open government.
Click here to purchase tickets. The price for regular members is $32.50. Tables of 10 may also be purchased.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
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