Edward Cotter Jr., was photographer for the Evening Sentinel and the New Haven Register for more than 55 years, before his death in January 2012. He was 91.
Eddie Cotter set the standard for journalists in the lower Naugatuck Valley. And, he paved the way to make sure the public always got to see what was happening in their communities – including with emergency services.
Several newspaper reporters and editors recalled their time working with Cotter in news articles about his death. Former New Haven Register editor Michael Foley said when Cotter walked into the newsroom late in the day with a photo, it meant one thing ― tear up whatever the editors had planned for the front page.
Cotter’s photos were up close and dramatic. On more than one occasion the editors at the Register had to meet to discuss whether to publish Cotter’s photos.
“It could be raw stuff,” said Foley.
John Ferraro, the state editor at The Hartford Courant, worked with Cotter in the early 1990s at the Register’s Valley bureau. Ferraro said he and Cotter would often run out to cover crashes and fires. At times Cotter would take photos, hand Ferraro the camera to take back to the office, then either step in to fight a fire or drive an ambulance.
“He thought that people had the right to see what was going on in their communities,” Ferraro said. “Part of that was showing what rescue people did.”
The Naugatuck Valley press corps and the community have benefited from the access to emergency services. First responders in the Valley have an expectation that what they do is public, and should be shared with the community. That is a result of Cotter’s influence.
Edward Cotter contributed immensely to journalism and to the public in Connecticut. We are honored to induct him into the Connecticut Journalism Hall of Fame.