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Matt DeRienzo Partnerships bolster accountability journalism

November 25, 2018

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 is vice president of news and digital content for Hearst Connecticut Media. Contact him at matt.derienzo@hearstmediact.com or 203-842-2556.

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