CT Journalism Hall of Fame: Carter H. White

Carter H. White, the late publisher and chairman of the board of The Record-Journal Publishing Co. of Meriden, was inducted into the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists Hall of Fame for his part in the struggle for open government and a free press.

White pushed for laws that would allow public access to government records.

His efforts as a state senator in Hartford and as the chairman of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information helped secure passage of the state Open Records Act in 1957 and Freedom of Information Act in 1975. White fearlessly wielded his editorial pen as publisher of the Record-Journal on behalf of causes he believed in.

In 1972, White wrote: “Right-to-know laws are not mere technicalities for the benefit of a few or of the press, but are designed as the policy of the state legislature to insure in a democracy the availability of all possible governmental information to all of the citizens for the better and fuller participation in their own government.”

White graduated from Meriden High School in 1934, Harvard University in 1938, Harvard Law School in 1941, practiced law as an attorney in Meriden from 1942 to 1952, served as a state senator from Meriden from 1947 to 1948, and advised the city as its corporation counsel from 1947 to 1950.

He became general counsel to the Record-Journal in 1949, publisher in 1967 and chairman in 1974. During that time, he encouraged his reporters to pursue aggressive watchdog journalism.

Shortly after White’s death, John Harvey, former Southington editor of the Record-Journal, wrote this about his publisher in the Record-Journal: “Carter White was something quite rare: an independent publisher who cared more about readers than revenue.”

Mr. White died in 2000.

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