Meet Jordan Otero

oteroJordan Otero is a town news multimedia reporter at the Hartford Courant, covering the towns of South Windsor and East Hartford.

She was previously a town news reporter at the Republican-American and has been a member of the Connecticut SPJ board since 2015.
She is from Southington, Conn. and holds a degree in communication arts with a journalism concentration and a minor in political science from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She is a caffeine addict, amateur baker and bookworm.
Connect with her on Twitter @je_otero or via email at jotero@ctspj.org.

Dodgeball Tournament Postponed

The dodgeball tournament fundraiser that we had scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, has been postponed due to snow. The Central Connecticut State University campus has issues with parking during the snow clearing process. So we figured it was better to postpone than to try to squeeze it in today. We do, however, plan to reschedule. We will post more information about the new date once it is set. Thank you for your understanding.

Advocates urge more access to police records as legislature considers bill

The legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee held a public hearing Friday on H.B. 6570, which would restore public access to police records to its level prior to the state Supreme Court’s ruling in Commissioner of Public v. Freedom of Information Commission.
That ruling requires police departments to only make available to the public booking information and one other item, be it an arrest report, incident summary, or basic press release, while an investigation remains pending. HB 6750, though, would make all documents available with the exception of specific exemptions.
Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane testified that the additional information required under the proposed bill could potentially harm witnesses or victims, hamper police investigation, and even disgrace defendants who are later found not guilty. That Connecticut Police Chief’s Association raised similar concerns in its testimony. Kane said the State’s Attorney’s Office is currently working on a blanket policy for state, and even local police, and urged legislators to wait for it before deciding if more steps are necessary.
But FOIC Executive Director Colleen Murphy said the state’s FOI statutes and the commission’s interpretation granted exemptions for police when the release of information posed an actual harm. She said the burden was placed on police to claim the exemption, but the FOIC rarely questioned police when basic proof was provided. She also said that legislation would be much strong that policy, which police could change whenever they wanted.
Others, including CT SPJ, the Connecticut Council on FOI, and the CT ACLU, testified that access to this information is crucial for those who wish to hold police departments accountable. They also said that waiting for a case to resolve could take years, at which point the information may not longer be relevant to public discussion or concerns.

SPJ National Convention poll

Take our poll:

Code of Ethics – Following a meeting last week, the board recommended that the delegates of EIJ14 adopt the latest revision of the Code of Ethics. It further recommends that the delegates vote to strike the following passage: “Be cautious about reporting suicides that do not involve a public person or public place.”
For more information on the Ethics Code revisions, click here.

Name Change – Regarding changing the name of Society of Professional Journalists to Society for Professional Journalism, the board recommended “Whereas, the name change task force concluded there is little support for the name change, this board recommends to the delegates that the name remains the Society of Professional Journalists.”

Join the CTSPJ Board

CTSPJ needs your help. Members are needed to serve as chapter officers or on the Board of Directors for 2014-15. Positions open include: president, vice president, vice president if communications, treasurer, secretary, and one and two-year-terms on the board. Can you spare some time to help serve the Connecticut journalism community? Interested members should send a resume to Nominations Committee Chair Cindy Simoneau at csimoneau@ctspj.org by Feb. 26.

College journalists reporting in the Information Age

A free one-day conference on the ethics and responsibilities of reporting is open to all college students and instructors.

The conference, being held at Colby College on Oct. 27, is hosted by Goldfish Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, along with the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting.

For more information and the brochure, please click here.

Boston Globe announces 2014 internship program deadline

The Boston Globe runs one of the top internship programs in the nation, giving 10 interns the opportunity to work as reporters, as well as photographer, designer or copy editor.

The 12-week paid internship places reporter-interns in our Metro, Business, Living/Arts, and Sports departments; the photo intern shoots stills and video for all sections, the design intern creates sections fronts and information graphics for print and online, and the copy editing intern works on local, national, foreign and business copy. We provide guidance and direction, as well as a writing coach dedicated to the interns. Globe interns produce every day and finely polish their journalism skills over the summer.

The application deadline is Nov. 1. More information on the program and an application can be accessed from our website:www.bostonglobe.com/newsintern.

How Connecticut Media Responded To Newtown Shooting

A collection of reflections and articles on how news organizations in Connecticut have covered the school shooting in Newtown Dec. 14.

Newtown Bee Coverage

CTMirror: At the Newtown Bee: Reporting While Grieving 

Poynter: How The Newtown Bee Is covering Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting

Slate: Newtown Bee: “Please Stay Away From The Victims”

Journalists Reflect

Matt DeRienzo: A newspaper company comes together to cover Newtown

CJR: A laurel to the Hartford Courant

Michael Bellmore: Last night I wasn’t happy

Dwight Silverman: A journey to Newtown

If you know of other reflections from Connecticut journalists, please send a link to CTSPJ Vice President of Communications, Jamie DeLoma, at jdeloma@ctspj.org.



Letter to our members: Chapter conducts independent review into Paresh Jha’s contest entries

June 29, 2012

Dear Connecticut SPJ members:

As current officers representing the Connecticut chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, we are writing to inform you of recent actions taken concerning possible fabrications in entries to the 2011 Excellence in Journalism contest.

As you may know, former New Canaan News reporter Paresh Jha was dismissed from his job. The action followed the discovery that he had fabricated sources and quotes in published reports.

Upon learning of these developments, the Connecticut SPJ Board of Directors realized that Jha was recently selected for two awards in the 2011 Excellence in Journalism contest sponsored by the chapter. Jha won a third place award for feature writing and a first place award for in-depth reporting.

We immediately contacted Hearst Connecticut Newspapers, owner of the New Canaan News, asking if any portion of these award-winning entries were fabricated. David McCumber, editorial director for Hearst Connecticut Newspapers, who responded within half an hour, said that their investigation verified facts and sources in the feature story. Their investigation, however, found fabrications in one of the three stories in the series. Meanwhile, the Connecticut SPJ board began deliberations on whether to rescind the award(s) and/or to conduct our own independent investigation of the entries.

On Thursday, June 28, the board voted 10-1, with one member not voting, to conduct an independent investigation of these entries.

Today, the board further voted 10-1, with one member not voting, to authorize Roy S. Gutterman, a media lawyer and Syracuse professor, to conduct the independent investigation. Gutterman, a member of SPJ, is authorized to contact any individuals or organizations necessary to complete the investigation and make recommendations to the board on possible actions on the awards.

We expect the investigation to be completed and a report completed by July 31. After that, we will consider whether to act on the awards.

Connecticut SPJ is dedicated to preserving the integrity of our long-time contest, and to ensuring the continued confidence of journalists in our future contests.

We condemn all unethical practices and continue to applaud all media organizations for their swift action on ridding the industry of any violators.

Over the past year, we have been increasingly dismayed to see the on-going lapse in good journalistic practices. This is the third journalist to lose their job in the state over plagiarism or fabrication. (See Middletown Press and Fairfield Minuteman.)

We are so concerned about these matters that we are considering professional programs on this topic. Your input on this matter, changes to our contest and any other SPJ- or journalism-related matter is valued by the Connecticut SPJ board.

Please take time to give your feedback on these issues. You may email us at contest@ctspj.org.

We will inform you of any future action taken on this matter. We hope see you at a future program.

Please check the chapter website at ctspj.org for updates on all future programming and news.

Cindy Simoneau, president
Don Stacom, vice president
Jamie DeLoma, vice president/communications
Jodie Mozdzer, treasurer (and president-elect)
Cara Baruzzi, secretary
Jerry Dunklee, past president

Edward Cotter

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.

Copyright 2010-2017. Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists, P.O. Box 5071, Woodbridge CT 06525