CTSPJ posthumously inducts two esteemed journalists into Hall of Fame

Lisa Chedekel and Denise D'Ascenzo

The Connecticut Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is proud to announce the posthumous induction of two highly distinguished journalists into its Hall of Fame: Denise D’Ascenzo and Lisa Chedekel. Both journalists made significant contributions to the field of journalism and left an indelible mark on the state of Connecticut.

Denise D’Ascenzo, an eleven-time Emmy Award winner, earned her place among the most revered journalists in the state of Connecticut. Her unwavering dedication to her craft and her incredible talent led to her election to the Silver Circle by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2013. Two years later, she made history as the first woman to be inducted into the Connecticut Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.

D’Ascenzo’s career spanned an impressive 33 years as the anchor of WFSB Channel 3. Her charismatic presence touched the lives of viewers across the state, making her a beloved and trusted figure in the world of journalism. Her commitment to excellence and numerous accolades are a testament to her exceptional career.

D’Ascenzo died Dec. 7, 2019, at her home in Branford at the age of 61.

Lisa Chedekel made an enduring impact through her fearless reporting. Her work was characterized by relentless coverage of city mayoral administrations and issues affecting residents from all walks of life. As a reporter at the New Haven Register, she showcased a deep commitment to the betterment of her community through her stories.

At the Hartford Courant, Chedekel’s work was nothing short of groundbreaking. She played a pivotal role in the coverage of the CT Lottery Corp. shooting, which ultimately won the Pulitzer Prize. Additionally, her lead role in the investigation into the military’s flawed mental-health policies led to Congressional hearings and significant policy changes that reduced suicides in combat.

Chedekel’s journalism was recognized with a multitude of awards, including the George Polk and Selden Ring awards, the Worth Bingham Prize from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard, and many more. Her dedication to exposing wrongdoing and advocating for positive change was unyielding.

In her later years, Chedekel co-founded C-HIT alongside fellow Connecticut Journalism Hall of Fame member Lynne DeLucia. As the lead reporter, Chedekel continued her impactful work by exposing misconduct in nursing homes, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations. Her reporting on prescription abuse among nurses and doctors in Connecticut even led to criminal investigations, highlighting her lasting influence on investigative journalism.

Chedekel died Jan. 12, 2018, at the age of 57.

The family and friends of D’Ascenzo and Chedekel will accept the honor at the Connecticut SPJ’s annual gathering on Dec. 6 at the Hawthorne, 2421 Berlin Turnpike, Berlin. At the dinner, the winners of the Stephen A. Collins Public Service Award, the Theodore Driscoll Award for Investigative Reporting and the First Amendment Award will also be recognized.

Click here for more information and to register for the dinner.

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