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    Local Columns
    Sunday, September 25, 2022

    Multitasking to bring the news you need

    The Day’s news staff is going full tilt this fall.

    Reporters and editors are preparing for the upcoming local elections, working on stories for our next “More than a Month” special report, planning a collaboration with New London schools and continuing our Housing Solutions Lab investigation.

    All while producing a daily newspaper in print and online.

    This past week was a win from the engagement perspective. We love to interact with members of the community, listen to their thoughts and concerns and tell them how we cover local news.

    Elections

    We hosted two open houses for candidates seeking to represent southeastern Connecticut in Hartford. It’s always heartening to see the congeniality that exists among opponents whose political careers are at stake and who often disagree on issues.

    State Rep. Kathleen McCarty, R-38th District and ⁦Aundré Baumgardner, the Groton Democrat seeking election to the 41st District state House seat, exchanged a bear hug and told us their friendship transcends the party divide.

    Executive Editor Tim Cotter outlined our coverage plan while telling the candidates we consider our work around elections an important public service. Reporters are working on profiles of the candidates that will be published in our print and online editions starting Oct. 4 along with videos in which we ask each candidate to answer six questions. We’ll be publishing as many election-related letters to the editor as we can fit and are welcoming one op-ed submission, or one letter, from each candidate.

    We’re also hosting a debate of the candidates for U.S. Representative in the 2nd District on October 12 and will be publishing details on ticketing next week.

    Schools

    A few of us met with New London School Superintendent Cynthia Ritchie and her leadership team to start planning a collaboration. We want to help students learn how to consume and produce credible news stories and hopefully, interest some of them in pursuing a career at The Day or elsewhere in the news business, whether it be as a journalist or on the business side of the company.

    Members of our Diversity Committee also met with representatives from the Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot and Mohegan tribes to get ideas for the next edition of our quarterly More than a Month special section.

    We had just finished reporting, editing and producing our latest edition, focusing on Hispanic Heritage Month, when we began planning for the November edition highlighting Native American Heritage Month.

    Look for the special insert on Hispanic Heritage Month in Sunday’s print edition and online. This is our third quarterly installment of More than a Month and follows editions on Black History and Pride months. The goal is to highlight and celebrate communities we may not cover as closely as we’d like, and after reading the latest batch of stories, Managing Editor Izaskun Larrañeta, also the chair of the diversity committee remarked that the content is getting better with every edition.

    Housing Solutions Lab

    Next weekend, we’ll be publishing the latest installment of our housing investigation: stories about lead poisoning and mold contamination in southeastern Connecticut. Our summer intern, Julia Walker, found local people experiencing problems with lead poisoning and mold allergies and interviewed experts in the public health field. Legislative reporter Sten Spinella is contributing a story on a new state law that aims to reduce lead poisoning.

    We’re working on our next several installations of our grant and community-funded project, and look forward to sharing what we’ve discovered.

    Thanks, as always, for your participation in local news coverage.

    Karen Florin is The Day’s engagement editor. Reach her at k.florin@theday.com and (860) 701-4217.

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