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Mark Brackenbury named Editor of the Year by Local Media Association

8 Apr

New Haven Register Managing Editor Mark Brackenbury has been named Editor of the Year by the Local Media Association, an organization representing hundreds of newspapers across the United States and Canada.

Mark Brackenbury

Mark Brackenbury

Brackenbury was recognized for his distinguished career in Connecticut journalism as well as a remarkable recent tenure of leadership in which he guided the Register’s newsroom through coverage of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, a hurricane, blizzard, Boston Marathon bombing, a plane crash and two historic elections.

“Mark is an unsung hero of our newsroom, and Connecticut journalism,”  read the nomination letter that helped earn him the honor. “Unsung because over the course of his 27-year career at the New Haven Register, he has done the work while shunning every opportunity at the spotlight. Time after time, people in positions below him or above him get credit for the work and leadership he has put into award-winning and policy-changing journalism.”

Friends and colleagues will see the award as evidence that sometimes, nice guys do finish first.

“He has been the rock to which the newsroom is anchored through so many changes in the industry and our company,” the nomination said. “He has strong convictions about the news and journalism, and has quietly and consistently held us to them. We once polled newsroom veterans to see if anyone could remember Mark raising his voice. There were only two documented cases in 27 years, and the facts were in dispute.”

“We came to realize just how valuable Mark Brackenbury is and always has been as a newsroom leader when the New Haven Register journalists experienced one of their most difficult years in modern times.”

Brackenbury is a Rhode Island native and Penn State grad who worked as a reporter in New Hampshire and Connecticut before joining the New Haven Register’s staff in 1986 and advancing to the position of managing editor more than a decade ago.

His work and the work he has inspired and guided journalists at the New Haven Register through has been recognized numerous times over the years, including dozens of awards from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists last year, and recognition from Digital First Media and the Local Media Association in breaking news and numerous other categories this year.

A newspaper company comes together to cover Newtown

23 Dec

There will be a lot more to say – at some point – about what has been both the worst and best week of our careers in journalism. Our main concern right now is to make sure that the rest of the story of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and its aftermath is told. That’s going to take quite some time, and quite a bit more effort and resources. And to make sure that the people on our team, after nine days of interviewing witnesses to unspeakable horror and covering 6-year-olds’ funerals, are dealing with their own grief and trauma.

But I wanted to pause and take note of how remarkable it was for us to see our entire company come together to help us cover this story. More than 100 journalists have been involved in the New Haven Register’s Newtown coverage over the past week, including 55 reporters, 17 photographers and 10 main editors on the ground in Connecticut contributing to our coverage.702194314 A number of Register reporters and editors worked straight through from first word of the shooting Friday morning to the editing of the story about the final funeral eight days later.

Digital First Media sent 29 reporters and eight photographers from 17 different daily newspapers in Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Colorado and Connecticut, including a team of six from the Denver Post, six from the York Daily Record in Pennsylvania and five from the Lowell Sun in Massachusetts.

The company’s national news office, “Thunderdome,” sent five reporters, five editors, two web producers and a video specialist, and devoted more than a dozen others to help from afar on editing, web production, data and interactives.

And throughout, we had access, advice and assistance from company leaders who’d unfortunately done this before.

Jim McClure, editor of the York Daily Record and East Region editor for Digital First, organized the influx of support from out-of-town journalists for us and was on the ground in Connecticut drawing on his experience covering a 2001 machete attack on a Pennsylvania elementary school. Photographer Tom Kelly IV of the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pa., came with experience covering the Nickel Mines Amish elementary school shooting in 2006.

Helping at our makeshift newsroom just outside of Newtown this past week was Mike Topel, national editor at Digital First Media’s Thunderdome office in New York. He helped lead the AP’s coverage of Columbine in 1999.

706117785Frank Scandale, Digital First’s vice president of print production, helped lead the Denver Post’s Columbine coverage as metro editor. He offered advice from afar and then arrived in New Haven mid-week to help plan a special print edition encapsulating more than a week’s worth of coverage for the Sunday newspaper.

And we were also able to turn to Denver Post Editor Greg Moore, who led intense coverage of the Aurora movie theater shooting earlier this year, and Digital First Editor-in-Chief Jim Brady, who was leading WashingtonPost.Com during the Virginia Tech massacre.