Here’s some good news for journalists, the state, and the state of journalism in the state.
An online investigative*** news operation is taking shape in Connecticut, with former Courant Assistant Managing Editor Michael Regan in charge. Providing some of the reporting horsepower will be Mark Pazniokas, veteran Courant political reporter and iconic layoff victim.
“We hope to get going around the first of the year,” Regan says.
Alumni do not need to be reminded that Regan was the editor who oversaw the investigation that changed former Gov. John G. Rowland into federal inmate John Rowland. It is also important to note that he is married to Lynne Tuohy, probably the most knowledgable and well-connected legal affairs reporter the state has ever had. Both left the paper during a major staff reduction last year.
No one could understand how the Courant could have gotten rid of Paz, of course. His dismissal stood as a symbol of everything that was going wrong at the nation’s oldest continuously published newspaper.
Here’s how the operation describes itself in its ad for a chief administrator:
The Connecticut News Project, Inc. CNP was established in July 2009 to develop an on-line news service to address the growing void in coverage of Connecticut’s government. CNP’s Board has hired an award-winning editor to oversee all aspects of the news operation and to recruit a staff of experienced, professional journalists. Together, they will help restore high-quality, in-depth news reporting about issues affecting the state; the actions of Connecticut’s Governor and other constitutional officers, legislature, courts, and the state agencies; and the performance of those entrusted by Connecticut’s voters to serve the public interest.
And here’s the list of people on the nonprofit organization’s board of directors:
The Board of Directors currently has five members: Marcia Chambers, MA, MSL (Research Scholar in Law and Journalist in Residence at Yale Law School); William Cibes, Jr., PhD (Chancellor Emeritus of the Connecticut State University System); Jeannette DeJesus, MSW, MPA (Executive Director, Hispanic Health Council); Shelley Geballe, JD, MPH (Distinguished Senior Fellow of CT Voices for Children, Lecturer at Yale Law School and School of Public Health); Robert Hohler (Executive Director of the Melville Charitable Trust).
For the sake of democracy and good governance in Connecticut, and for a lot of unemployed journalists, I wish this operation the best of luck.
***A slight correction from Regan: “This isn’t a purely investigative effort. Our goal is to cover politics and government in the state. As you noted, of course, that has involved a fair amount of investigative work in recent years, but that isn’t our sole focus.”