Quality journalism matters — more than ever

News Match is the largest grassroots fundraising campaign for nonprofit journalism ever. More than 100 newsrooms across the United States, including The Connecticut Mirror, are working together to raise $6 million dollars —or more— by the end of 2017. NewsMatch.org, the home of the campaign, is an innovative new hub where people can search for trustworthy journalism outlets by geography or topic and then give to multiple newsrooms with one donation. The effort is designed to mobilize thousands of new people to donate to local news and investigative reporting.

Is CT-N’s ‘legislative-coverage-only’ policy legal?

After a week of reruns, CT-N is back on the air [as of yesterday] after the Office of Legislative Management hired some former employees of the Connecticut Public Affairs Network (CPAN), the non-profit that operated CT-N since 1999.  Legislative leadership says that CT-N, which is operating under a radically reduced budget, will focus its cameras on the General Assembly, largely to the exclusion of the executive and judicial branches.  Leadership says that this narrow focus is consistent with CT-N’s original mission.  But as Christine Stuart reports on CT News Junkie, leadership’s understanding of CT-N’s original mission is just plain wrong.  Coverage of all three branches of state government was always part of CT-N’s mission.

Castrating CT-N

As our state lawmakers wrench their shoulders patting themselves on the back for finally writing a budget (four months late), let’s stop for a moment. Put down the champagne and ask ourselves: What really happened here?

Thank a journalist this Labor Day week

Workers across Connecticut are enjoying a shortened week, thanks to the Labor Day holiday.  But as we honor the work of everyday men and women, let’s give a special thanks to one group that’s had a tough time recently: local TV news reporters and producers.  It’s a job that, despite what the president says, isn’t at all “fake news!”

The big bang of journalism in America

The demise of objective journalism is less a result of a news source trying to push an agenda and more about economics. A leading research organization covering the media industry published a summary of a well-known media survey from a few years ago by describing the media as “Biased, Frivolous, And Liberal.” Unfortunately, this is correct.

The media landscape is a mess, Commissioner Pai

An open letter to Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai: As you have probably noticed our media landscape is a mess. With only five companies owning the bulk of media, especially the news media Americans consume, every day we witness a fragmented message. And it is only going to get worse.

Privacy in the age of Facebook, Comcast and Trump

Why did our government give away our rights to our browsing histories? We have a president who admires despots like Putin and Duterte and doesn’t believe in free speech unless it’s his own on Twitter. Could the search histories of today be used for blackmail tomorrow? With a warrant, the government can request our histories, but who will have access to it tomorrow? Your employer, your insurer, your neighbor? And what will constitute a crime in the future?

A ‘conspiracy’ for higher ratings — at Newtown’s expense

NBC’s newest multi-million-dollar anchor is about to give America – and Connecticut in particular – a lesson in journalistic ethics. It’s a fight that pits the network’s need for ratings and publicity against the pleas of Sandy Hook parents not to cause them more pain. This weekend, Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly plans to air an interview with conspiracy website author and radio host Alex Jones. In one of his more outlandish theories, Jones has called the monstrous shooting “a giant hoax.” No one died there, the theory goes. Instead, the government hired actors to pretend there was a shooting, in order to increase support for gun control, Jones claimed.

A free press supporting informed and engaged communities is at risk

Thomas Jefferson sued the Hartford Courant for libel. (He lost.) But Jefferson still believed that, given the choice of government without newspapers or newspapers without government, “I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers, and be capable of reading them.” Today, however, Jefferson’s vision of a free press supporting informed and engaged communities, the prerequisite to a well-functioning democracy, is at risk. The good news is there is hope, and everyone has a role to play.

‘Shop local’ when it comes to TV news

“Shop Local” is a phrase you hear a lot when it comes to shopping for food and holiday gifts. The theory is that you get higher-quality products when you buy from people you know, and help support the local economy at the same time. But “shopping local” could soon be a lot more difficult when it comes to watching TV news in Connecticut.

DeStefano poisons public opinion, betrays agents, by calling ICE ‘jerks’

I am writing in response to a recent article that appeared in the New Haven Independent and was then reprinted by the CT Mirror. The article was entitled “Ex-Mayor: ICE Raids in Immigrant Friendly New Haven Likely Again.” In the article, former Mayor John DeStefano was quoted as stating in a presentation at Yale University that “The federal government is going to do exactly what those jerks did in Fair Haven.” The “jerks” he was referring to were federal immigration officers. After serving as an FBI special agent for 23 years, and working with ICE agents in numerous cases, I want to object to Mayor DeStefano’s use of the word “jerks” in describing these officers.