CTSPJ appoints four journalists to legislature’s task force

June 18, 2013 — The Connecticut Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists voted to appoint four journalists to the Connecticut task force on public information and privacy, created by the state legislature as part of the Newtown public records legislation this month.

The four CTSPJ appointees are:

  • Don DeCesare, President and General Manager of WLIS-AM in Old Saybrook and WMRD-AM in Middletown. DeCesare is past chairman of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association. DeCesare is a 40-year broadcast veteran, and spent several years at CBS in New York City, where he went from editing radio broadcasts to overseeing television news coverage. He is a past treasurer for CT-N, and is a member of the Media Center Advisory Board at Middlesex Community College. DeCesare helped push for a Connecticut Shield Law.
  • Klarn DePalma , Vice President and General Manager for WFSB-TV 3 Hartford and WSHM-TV 3 Springfield. DePlama has spent the last 20 years at WFSB, starting as an entry-level account executive in 1993. He was named Vice President and General Manager in 2005. DePalma is the chair of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association.  He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Connecticut Science Center and Channel 3 Kids’ Camp.
  • Brian Koonz, Metro Editor for the Connecticut Post in Bridgeport, a Hearst Connecticut newspaper. Koonz has spent the last 26 years in daily journalism in Connecticut. In addition to his role at the Connecticut Post, he has also worked as a sports reporter and columnist at The News-Times in Danbury, and has reported for the Register Citizen in Torrington, The Day of New London, The New Britain Herald and the Republican-American in Waterbury. Koonz, a Newtown resident, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing for his coverage of the Newtown school shooting.
  • Jodie Mozdzer Gil, president of the Connecticut SPJ board and assistant professor of multimedia journalism at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. Mozdzer Gil is also a freelance reporter for her former employer, the Valley Independent Sentinel, as well as other online news sites, including the Connecticut Health Investigative Team. Mozdzer Gil is a member of the national SPJ Digital Media Committee. Prior to her time writing for the Valley Independent Sentinel, she previously reported for the Hartford Courant and the Republican-American of Waterbury.

The appointees represent print, radio, television and online media.

“Our board is pleased to find four journalists who are enthusiastic to serve on this committee and who represent CTSPJ’s views — that transparency and public access to records is paramount in a free and open society,” said Cindy Simoneau, immediate past president for CTSPJ.

The task force includes 13 other members, including a representative from the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information and the executive director for the FOI Commission.

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Brendan Sharkey, and president pro tempore of the Senate, Donald Williams, will select two chairpersons for the committee.

The task force is asked to meet between July 1, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014, at which point a report with recommendations will be sent to the Connecticut General Assembly.

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