Letter to readers – May 21, 2012

First, a run-down:

CT Mirror is now well into its 3rd year. Since our launch on Jan. 25, 2010, we’ve published more than 4,000 stories, had 3.5 million web visits and more than 1.5 million unique visits.

From the start, our goal has been to offer readers information on Connecticut policies and politics – and the personalities behind both – to help residents make the best decisions possible about their lives and those of their families.

This is still our goal.  And we’ve been making a few changes to keep on track.

Partnership between The Mirror and WNPR

Our philosophies are similar: To give those interested in the news more than the headlines, more than 7-second summations of what happened that day. To give context, to go deeper.

Many of our 10 part- and full-time reporters have been guests on a WNPR talk show. Ana Radelat, the Mirror’s Washington reporter — shameless plug:  We are the only Connecticut news organization with a full-time correspondent in the U.S. Capitol — has started reporting for the station on a regular basis.

In early 2012, the Mirror moved into the Hartford office building that houses WNPR, in part to be able to develop stories – and ideas – more easily.

Our first shared story: In April, WNPR’s Jeff Cohen and the Mirror’s health writer Arielle Levin Becker worked together on a story about Connecticut residents who take care of family members requiring daily assistance because of illness or an accident. One in eight residents in the state is a long-term caretaker, though some don’t even think of themselves that way.

One reads Arielle’s powerful story of these dedicated family members, what they are thinking about, how they are coping. And in Jeff’s radio report, one hears their voices, the slight hesitations, the rueful laughs, that bring home how profoundly altered these people’s lives are.

We think this is a compelling way to tell stories, to present information, and we plan to do so more in the future.

In addition, starting in June, Neena Satija, a young Yale graduate who has worked for the New Haven Independent and is working now for the Mirror and WNPR, will start covering Fairfield County for both news organizations. Her beat will be the environment, energy, transportation and other business-related stories about the environment. Later this year, she will work from an office on the grounds of Fairfield University.

Education forums

In early March, the Mirror presented a forum on early childhood education, held at The Lyceum in Hartford and sponsored by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

Nearly 200 people attended the event, which was moderated by WNPR’s John Dankosky, and had experts discussing how strong preschool programs can have a profound impact on a child’s eventual academic success and on society as a whole.

Today, a separate site focused on that forum and early childhood education is available from our website — www.ctmirror.org. This includes a taped version of each expert’s presentation, including welcoming remarks from Gov. Dannel Malloy. We have links to news stories about the topic and to nonprofit groups that focus on this area.  There is also a video about Bloomfield’s Wintonbury Early Childhood Education Magnet School, which has one of the most progressive and exciting programs in the state.

Please take a look, and let us know what you think.

Looking ahead: We are planning three more forums on education in Connecticut. The next is planned for early October.

And, finally

Look for a change this week in our website. In addition to adjusting and improving some of the navigational tools and graphics, we have a new logo:  It’s our name, slightly redesigned, and followed by the phrase, “To inform and engage one Connecticut.”

We think it’s apt, and even a little cool.  But we may be biased.

Have a great week ….

Jenifer Frank