First Ann DeMatteo intern named at New Haven Register

5 Dec

Adam Stuhlman has been named as the first participant in an annual paid internship program at the New Haven Register established in the memory of longtime editor and reporter Ann DeMatteo.

Adam Stuhlman

Adam Stuhlman

“Adam is looking to gain more experience to break into the field full-time,” said New Haven Register Managing Editor Mark Brackenbury. “He is just the kind of person Ann would have taken under her wing, so I think she would be pleased that he is joining us for the next couple of months.”

The program was announced earlier this year, after DeMatteo passed away at the age of 56 after a battle with cancer. DeMatteo worked for 34 years as a reporter, bureau chief and editor at the New Haven Register. She was named managing editor of its sister daily, The Middletown Press, in the fall of 2012.

For many years, DeMatteo ran the internship program at the New Haven Register, training dozens of future journalists.

Ann DeMatteo

Ann DeMatteo

Stuhlman is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has worked as a freelance reporter for the New Haven Register,, the Middletown Press, the New Britain Herald and the Hartford Guardian.

He is also active with the Veterans Art Foundation, which uses art therapy to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Donna Doherty’s retirement dims spotlight on New Haven arts

25 Nov

Donna Doherty is retiring from the New Haven Register this week, on the day before Thanksgiving. We’re not sure what to do about it.

Donna Doherty

Donna Doherty

As arts editor since 2005, Donna has become an authority on a segment of life and culture that is hugely important to our community. We’re not sure how to replace her, because we know we won’t be able to match what she contributes to our newsroom. And if we’d been smarter about realizing what we had in Donna, we would have given her a team of minions to smartly explore the richness of the arts scene around Yale University, New Haven, the Shoreline and beyond.

The remarkable thing about Donna is that this role was just the latest diverse gig in the career of a Renaissance woman.

Decades ago, she was a sports reporter for the New Haven Register. She went on to serve as editor of Tennis magazine. She covered courts at one point. Here’s her account of covering the Black Panthers trial for the New Haven Register as a 20-year-old student at Northeastern University, and how the intensity of that assignment prompted her to go for a “change of pace” and try sports.

Our newspaper has been enriched greatly by Donna’s work, off and on, from the time she wrote as a student more than 40 years ago to her role covering the richness of the New Haven area arts scene. And we’ve been enriched to work beside her.

We’re making poverty a full-time reporting beat

8 Nov

Brian Charles

The gap between the country’s wealthiest and poorest is at its highest point in the past 100 years. The gap between white and minority Americans is far greater. For every $1 in assets held by the average white family, the average black family has 15 cents, and the average Hispanic family has 17 cents.

Poverty in Connecticut has a profound impact on education, health care, crime, housing and economic development. It looms over those issues. It’s why some aspects of them seem unsolvable.

At a recent conference at the UCLA School of Nursing, Jessica Bartholow of the Western Center on Law and Poverty said that in terms of a child’s long-term health and well-being, “exposure to poverty in utero is more dangerous than exposure to cocaine.”

We’re making poverty a full-time reporting beat, and we’re excited to announce that Brian Charles will be joining our staff in that role on Monday.

Brian was recently named Journalist of the Year for Digital First Media‘s mid-sized daily newspapers, partly in recognition of his work investigating a police shooting of an unarmed black teenager for one of our sister newspapers, the Pasadena Star-News, in California.

He is a New York native who graduated from Purchase College with a bachelor’s degree in 2005 and Antioch University-Los Angeles in 2010 with a master’s degree in creative writing. During his time as a reporter in California, he was active as a member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists and as an executive committee member of the Black Journalists Association of Southern California.

Brian will be based at the New Haven Register, but we expect his work to have a statewide impact and also appear in The Middletown Press, The Register Citizen, Connecticut Magazine and other publications.

He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @jbriancharles.

Shako Liu joins Register Citizen reporting staff

1 Nov

Shako Liu starts today as a staff reporter for The Register Citizen in Torrington, and will be covering the Northwest Corner region of Connecticut for Digital First Media publications including The Register Citizen and Litchfield County Times.

Shako Liu

Shako Liu

Liu graduated in May with a master’s degree in journalism from the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California, and she recently relocated from Los Angeles to Torrington.

At USC, she was active in the Asian American Journalists Association and the Online News Association. Previously, she graduated from the Beijing Language and Cultural University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in English literature.

For the past year, Liu contributed video journalism projects to L.A. Weekly and produced articles and radio pieces about China and North Korea for The Atlantic and KCRW, a National Public Radio affiliate in California, respectively.

Liu is a native speaker of Mandarin and Cantonese, and is proficient in Japanese and English.

She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @shako_liu.

Jessica Glenza is going places

30 Oct

Like many companies, ours has a probably-wise-but-at-time-frustrating policy of not providing detailed references, good or bad, on former employees. So I’m going to say some good things about Jessica Glenza while she still works for us.

Jessica Glenza

Jessica Glenza

Jessica’s last day as a reporter for The Register Citizen in Torrington is tomorrow. Family commitments are taking her to Straus News, a group of weekly newspapers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where she has accepted an investigative reporting job.

Soon after joining us in February,  Jessica broke one of the most significant stories The Register Citizen has covered or has been written about Torrington in recent memory. She uncovered widespread social media bullying of two 13-year-old girls raped by a group of 18-year-old Torrington High School football players.

Subsequent reporting by Jessica over the course of the year has brought to light a total of seven players associated with the Torrington High School football team who have been charged with rape in a number of different cases, a culture of bullying in the school district and a pattern of inattention and inaction by school district officials.

Jessica’s initial story became national news within hours. We were proud of the work she and Register Citizen editors John Berry, Tom Cleary and Tom Caprood did on this story because of the significance of what was uncovered, but also because the reporting was rock-solid. We braced for “shoot the messenger” criticism from local school officials, but there was little to none about the facts of the story, because the reporting was accurate, thorough, careful, measured.

That didn’t stop some local sources from shutting Jessica out due to anger that the story was reported in the first place. She kept digging, kept beating other local and national media, and kept moving the story forward as the details and revelations got worse and worse.

Meanwhile in her relatively brief career at The Register Citizen, she’s broken stories about questionable spending decisions in the Torrington School District (here, here and here, for examples) and produced some gems in her coverage of local courts, including this piece on a man who has received a $129,000-a-year state taxpayer-funded salary while a murder case against him has dragged out for more than 13 years.

Straus News is lucky to have Jessica Glenza, recruiters out there should keep an eye on her career, and those of us who at times worry about whether good journalism will carry on with the next generation of reporters can take heart in the example she sets.

Public officials with bad stuff to hide are going to be happy about Jessica’s departure from The Register Citizen. That’s a pretty powerful testament to the kind of journalist she has become.

UPDATE (Dec. 11, 2013): I’m psyched to update this post with news that Jessica is back working for our company, as a producer in our “Thunderdome” national news office in Manhattan.

UPDATE (April 17, 2014): Digital First Media names Jessica “Journalist of the Year” due to her work in Torrington.

Journalists play role in Bonnie Foreshaw’s release

10 Oct

Connecticut’s Board of Pardons and Paroles granted clemency yesterday to Bonnie Foreshaw, who had spent 27 years behind bars for “premeditated murder” in a case that should have probably been prosecuted as manslaughter and carried a fraction of the sentence.1374234_10151964200475775_626371659_n

I’d like to think they would have come to the same conclusion regardless, but am proud of the work Andy Thibault, a contributing editor to our Digital First Media newsrooms in Connecticut, did on this case.

Thibault uncovered the existence of what has become known as the “Blue Note,” a letter outlining a huge miscarriage of justice in the case that was written 24 years ago and ignored for more than two decades by public officials who could have addressed it.

Thibault was also instrumental in getting the Department of Corrections to move yesterday’s clemency hearing to a location easily accessibly by the public and media.

Other journalists who gave the Bonnie Foreshaw case the attention it deserved included staff at Connecticut’s WNPR radio station, who devoted a full episode of the “Where We Live” program to the case and provided live coverage of yesterday’s hearing.

Georgia case is powerful argument for keeping crime scene photos public

9 Oct

A case involving the death of a 17-year-old Georgia student athlete should offer great insight as Connecticut lawmakers as they consider whether crime scene photos should be public documents in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last year in Newtown.

In June, the Connecticut General Assembly voted to make all police murder scene photos and video exempt from the state’s Freedom of Information Act. Parents and family of the 26 Sandy Hook victims had urged the change, fearing that out-of-state online news outlets or websites would publish graphic images from them.

Media and First Amendment advocates argued that responsible news outlets never do this, and that such records must be public as a key safeguard against abuse of police and government power.

Well, in the Georgia case, CNN obtained photos of the death of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson. They didn’t publish them, but they did bring them to experts who contradicted a medical examiner’s office report and police decision that the death was accidental. Police are still insisting the case is closed, but I’d bet this is going to be the start of a murder investigation. If Georgia had exempted these kinds of photos from the Freedom of Information Act, someone would have gotten away with murder.


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