Connecticut’s sacred cows a target as new columnists debut this week

24 Sep

Susan Campbell will kick off a new daily lineup of featured news columnists when The Register Citizen and The Middletown Press unveil redesigned print editionson Wednesday. And no topic is off the table.

Susan Campbell (Photo by Chion Wolf/WNPR)

Campbell developed a strong reputation in her years as a reporter and columnist at the Hartford Courant for seeking to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” As a new weekly columnist for our daily newspapers in Torrington, Middletown and New Haven, she’ll have free rein to go after the things she feels are harming Connecticut politics and society and to celebrate some of the bright spots.

Her debut column tackles “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” and what she sees as the religious right’s increasingly militant attempt to enlist congregations in political activism.

Campbell will be followed on page 3 and online each day by similarly strong voices.

Norm Pattis (Photo by Arnold Gold/New Haven Register)

Always outspoken and frequently controversial Connecticut defense attorney Norm Pattis will write on Thursdays, and doesn’t hold back in his debut column about Antonin Scalia and his “originalism” philosophy of interpreting the Constitution, calling it an “ideological hoax.”

The work of Terry Cowgill, a familiar face to The Register Citizen’s readers in Northwest Connecticut, will be featured on Fridays.

Columns by Sarah Darer Littman, a novelist and former securities analyst, and Heath Fahle, policy director for the Yankee Institute and former executive director of the Connecticut Republican Party, will alternate on Saturdays.

Ann DeMatteo, newly named managing editor of The Middletown Press, who as a cancer survivor shares others’ stories of inspiration and overcoming adversity, will write on Sundays.

Susan Bigelow, a librarian, author and former operator of the CT Local Politics website, will write on Mondays.

And Andy Thibault, a former Hartford Courant and Register Citizen editor, Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission member and investigative reporter, will write on Tuesdays.

The addition of Cowgill, Littman, Fahle and Bigelow are part of an expansion of our partnership with CTNewsJunkie.Com. Since March, we’ve carried its excellent coverage of Connecticut state government and politics, and are happy to be extending that relationship now to their team of columnists.


20 Responses to “Connecticut’s sacred cows a target as new columnists debut this week”

  1. Boosa September 25, 2012 at 12:46 am #

    A bunch of liberals. What a surprise.

  2. MrLogical September 25, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    So, print media is on the decline and papers everywhere are shuttering or severely trimming staff (as the Courant wisely did with Ms. Campbell….) as they struggle to stay in the black. Frankly, average Americans are turned off by the MSM which no longer tries to hide its liberal bias. So what does DeRienzo do? He goes out and hires a flock of the most left-biased ‘jouranalists’ and commentators he can find to somehow bolster his readership.

    Yeah, the advertisers are gonna love that; targeting a bunch of latte-swilling people with purple hair, nose rings and tongue piercings in need of a bath and who can barely afford to pay their share of the rent much less actually buy something the advertisers are selling.

    Good luck with that.

    What surprises me most is that CTNewsJunkie has associated themselves with this endeavor. I thought they had more sense.

  3. MrLogical September 25, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    Methinks that the executive management of the Journal Register needs to come up with a new ‘rescue’ strategy, and they may also want to look for a new group editor.

    Not really sure who dreamt up this latest strategy twist (esp. hiring a bunch of castaways from the SS Courant), but this dog ain’t gonna hunt.

  4. Ed Avila September 25, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    Explain to us why this will help a failing newspaper, More leftwing writers? Who knew we were running a deficit of Leftist media outlets…Heheheh. Epic Fail.

  5. sick and tired September 25, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    How do I get linda to stop calling my phone and polluting my house??

    • Jimmy Boggs September 25, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

      Become a wrestler?

  6. ConcernedInCT September 25, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    I must say I am a little surprised Mr. DeRienzo hasn’t bothered to respond to these comments and explained his thinking behind these choices. The paper has surely taken a noticeable and hard lean to the left with these picks when it the past column choices have been pretty balanced between the right and the left.
    The readers deserve to know the reasoning behind these decisions, especially since the biggest paper in Connecticut did not see fit to keep one of Mr. DeRienzo’s choices on staff. Staff should also be given a reason. As far as I know, they have not been told.
    So much for transparency.

    • mattderienzo September 25, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

      Good evening,

      Been a little busy today with the launch of our redesign in Torrington and Middletown.

      If you want to break down our new columnists in terms of left vs. right, which is not exactly a fair box to put people in, Susan Campbell and Norm Pattis would certainly be described as more left-leaning. But Terry Cowgill is a conservative, and Heath Fahle is policy director of the conservative Yankee Institute and a former executive director of the Republican Party. Sarah Littman and Susan Bigelow fall somewhere in between. Andy Thibault will take shots at both liberals and conservatives indiscriminately.

      So, no, I wouldn’t describe that has a hard lean to the left, and even if it was, you have to take into account the voices that we already carry, including arch-conservative national commentators such as Michelle Malkin and conservative Connecticut columnists such as Don Pesci and Chris Powell.

      As far as the one columnist you single out, I’ll tell you that without question, our newspapers will be better on Wednesday than they were on Tuesday with the addition of Susan Campbell. Contrary to your statement, she decided to take a voluntary buyout at the Courant, it was not that they “did not see fit to keep” her. Go back and read some of the reaction from staff and readers to her departure and you will see the following that she had and that she will surely bring to our newspapers. Beyond that clear benefit to our business, if you want to look at it that way, she’s got important things to say and her voice needs to continue to be heard in Connecticut.

      • ConcernedInCT September 25, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

        Semantics, Mr. DeRienzo. Susan Campbell would not have been offered a “voluntary buyout” if the Courant had wanted to keep her. You are getting quite good at putting your own spin on unpopular decisions. I must hand you that.
        And while I have your attention, you are not keeping up with the challenge of a couple of weeks ago. I see that you aren’t. Others do too.

      • guest October 18, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

        I am absolutely no fan of the NHR and not particularly a fan of many of these columnists but ConcernedinCT is way way off base about the downsizing of the Hartford Courant.

        Any reader can see the quality of the Courant sunk fast following it, so, I am sure I am wasting my breath explaining the obvious, but here goes:

        The Courant’s buyout was not offered to its most junior staff, it was offered to its most experienced, most qualified mid, and late career journalists. It affected the very core of talent it had cultivated over many decades.

        Among those caught in the massacre of buyouts and layoffs were national award winners — Pulitzer prize winners, on down.

        The quality of the company and the paper dropped overnight.

        Stories that were in the works at the time (the massacre got under way for real in 2008) were killed and no one, not NHR not anyone, picked up those dropped stories for their colleagues. NHR couldn’t even understand some of the stories because some of them required major brainiacs with major independence, neither of which NHR has.

        So, you’re just plain wrong about the Courant. The Courant was a very good paper, not the very best in its circulation category in America — it lacked the guts to make that cut — but it was very, very good. Nationally it was the top of the second tier in quality, in its circulation category in my estimation. So it was solid.

      • ConcernedInCT October 22, 2012 at 10:36 am #

        You precisely made my point that if the Courant had want to keep Mr. Campbell then management would not have offered her a buyout. It was not necessary for the buyout to only be offered to senior staff. That was a choice of management which meant that in their estimation senior staff was not work keeping either in monetary terms or for the sake of readership.
        I am also glad to see that near the end of your defensive piece that you said “in my estimation.”. The Courant was once a great paper but that has not been the case for at least 50 years. In fact in the last 50 years there have been quite few great papers in this country. We had great papers when many were still independently owned or owned by families that had a lifetime invested in them.v Corporate greed and the pack mentality of journalism killed great newspapers. That includes the Courant. (Please do not take offense that I did not put our JRC papers in that category Mr. DeRienzo. We have never been great and only in rare times have we been good or mediocre.)
        That is in my estimation.

  7. Longtime Reader September 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    It’s great adding more columnists, regardless of their leanings, but I think the Journal Register is missing the point. What their readers want is more local news and more local columnists writing about local issues.

  8. HERBERT VAN ALPHEN September 28, 2012 at 8:15 am #


    • W Bush September 28, 2012 at 11:40 am #

      foolish notions

  9. sampiroton September 28, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    I really like to see bashing happen here. Really do. Know what? In Belgium for instance, readers have absolutely no clue about journalist’s politic preference. We (sometime) can assume, but it’s not the most important. If Susan Campbell has talent, writes well, has a following, moves the discussion forward, why should RC disregard hiring her?

    I’m a big USA fan, but when i see those games left vs wing vs hard left vs hard wing, bashing instead of supporting an entrepreneur’s move, that confuses me a lot.

    Anyway. My 2 cents.

    • Boosa October 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

      Well, part of what you’re missing is that here, the writers don’t cover the news correctly — they slant it to fit their political ideologies. So, if you read something written by, say, Susan Campbell, even if it’s well written, it’ll still be full of spin and unchallenged untruths. And that bias leaks over into the news coverage. The papers in the US won’t tell you what actually happened, they’ll slant it so you think it happened the way they want you to think it happened, so that you will think their ideologies are the proper path.

      I get where you’re coming from, but I don’t think you get the journalism landscape in the US.


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  2. Journal Register Newspapers Adding Some Familiar Names « The Laurel - September 25, 2012

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