Part­ner­ships bol­ster ac­count­abil­ity jour­nal­ism

Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - Opinion - Matt DeRienzo is vice pres­i­dent of news and dig­i­tal con­tent for Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia. Con­tact him at matt. [email protected] hearst­medi­act. com or 203- 842- 2556.

Tax­pay­ers end up pay­ing more in com­mu­ni­ties that lose lo­cal news­pa­per re­port­ing ...

News­pa­pers have long ar­gued that scru­ti­nized gov­ern­ment means bet­ter gov­ern­ment. Now there’s re­search prov­ing the point.

Tax­pay­ers end up pay­ing more in com­mu­ni­ties that lose lo­cal news­pa­per re­port­ing, ac­cord­ing to a study au­thored by pro­fes­sors at

Notre Dame and the Univer­sity of

Illi­nois ear­lier this year. They found that gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials were more likely to en­ter into ex­pen­sive or in­ef­fi­cient fi­nan­cial con­tracts if jour­nal­ists weren’t around to re­port on what they were do­ing.

This is highly rel­e­vant to Con­necti­cut’s fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion, with state gov­ern­ment fac­ing an­other mas­sive bud­get deficit this year, as well as long- term pen­sion and debt obli­ga­tions.

Jour­nal­ists’ role in con­fronting these prob­lems is all the more cru­cial af­ter the midterm elec­tion in Con­necti­cut be­cause one po­lit­i­cal party will be dom­i­nant in con­trol­ling the Gen­eral As­sem­bly, gov­er­nor’s of­fice and un­der­ticket.

We’re bol­ster­ing our state­house cov­er­age in a sig­nif­i­cant way at Hearst’s Con­necti­cut news­pa­pers in re­sponse.

This week, we en­tered a new part­ner­ship with CT­NewsJunkie. com for state gov­ern­ment re­port­ing, on top of a previous part­ner­ship we formed with CT­Mir­ror. org. Both are staffed by vet­eran jour­nal­ists with ex­per­tise on the state bud­get and pub­lic pol­icy ques­tions.

CT­NewsJunkie, led by Edi­tor Chris­tine Stuart and a team of writ­ers, will pro­vide us with “up- to- the minute cov­er­age of the leg­is­la­ture — ev­ery­thing from bud­get pol­icy to mu­nic­i­pal aid, civil rights and the so­cial ser­vice safety net, la­bor ne­go­ti­a­tions, state bond­ing, the econ­omy, and more.”

In ad­di­tion to these new part­ner­ships, Hearst Con­necti­cut has more than dou­bled its own staff cov­er­age of state gov­ern­ment over the past few years, with state pol­i­tics re­porter Kait­lyn Kras­selt and state­house re­porter Em­i­lie Mun­son join­ing vet­eran po­lit­i­cal edi­tor and colum­nist Ken Dixon. We also have in­ves­tiga­tive re­porter Bill Cum­mings scru­ti­niz­ing some of the big­gest state agen­cies and is­sues, and colum­nist Dan Haar writ­ing about the in­ter­sec­tion of state gov­ern­ment, pub­lic pol­icy and busi­ness.

Part­ner­ing with CT­NewsJunkie and CT Mir­ror on some of the day- to- day news out of the Gen­eral As­sem­bly and state gov­ern­ment will free our team to look in places where no one else is look­ing and go deeper into the most vi­tal is­sues fac­ing our state.

Matt DeRienzo

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