The Connecticut Mirror was honored with a number of awards at the New England Newspaper & Press Association’s recent annual convention, including a first-place award for its coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and seven other first-place awards.
The awards, announced earlier this month, went to stories published from August 2019 through July 2020.
“I am very proud of our staff and gratified that their hard work is so well recognized,” said Executive Editor Elizabeth Hamilton. “The COVID pandemic was especially challenging to cover, as it involved a complete reshuffling of the newsroom to respond to a crisis we never could have imagined — and challenged us to provide a deeper level of service to our readers.”
In addition to the award for its COVID coverage, first-place honors went to:
- Jenna Carlesso, Health Reporting, “Complaints pile up against health care sharing ministries as state mounts a defense”
- Kelan Lyons, Social Issues Feature Story, “Should police be social workers?”
- Mark Pazniokas, Human Interest Feature Story, “She worked at a hotspot. Did coronavirus follow her home?”
- Mark Pazniokas, General News Story, “The night Covid-19 silenced the slots at Foxwoods”
- Keith Phaneuf and Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, Government Reporting, “Lawmakers waived appointments to secure Dalio funds for CT schools”
- Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, Investigative/Enterprise, “Invisible Walls : Separated by Design”
- Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, Education Reporting, “A quarter of CT students went MIA when COVID closed schools. Could holding live, online classes lure them back?”
Second-place honors went to Jenna Carlesso, Keith Phaneuf and Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, Investigative/Enterprise, for “The state doesn’t track how many nursing home workers have coronavirus.” Third-place honors went to Kelan Lyons, General News Story, “Inmates seeking compassionate release face laws not built for Covid-19.”
In the feature photography category, Yehyun Kim won two awards: first place for Magical Merry-Go Round and third place for Much Needed Haircut.
In November, Carlesso also received NENPA’s Publick Occurrences award for her coverage of the COVID crisis in Connecticut’s nursing homes.
In addition, the Education Writers Association announced this week that the CT Mirror’s “Invisible Walls” series, reported and written by Jacqueline Rabe Thomas and published in conjunction with ProPublica, won first place in its National Awards for Education Reporting in the Investigative Reporting category.
Judges in the EWA contest, which recognizes the best education journalism in the United States, said Rabe Thomas’ work is an example of “Outstanding reporting, showing why more education reporters should leave their silos and report at the intersections of their beats and other social inequity issues.”
The series explored the connection between long-standing systemic housing and school segregation in Connecticut, exposing the many reasons Black and Hispanic residents have been boxed into the state’s poorest neighborhoods and prompting a statewide conversation about the role local zoning boards play in cementing segregation.