A transition in leadership of The Day’s newsroom
New London ― Executive Editor Timothy Cotter will retire at the end of the month after 34 years in leadership roles in The Day’s newsroom.
Cotter, who was inducted into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2018, will be succeeded by Izaskun E. “Sassy” Larrañeta, The Day’s managing editor and a 24-year veteran of the newsroom, President and Publisher Timothy Dwyer announced in an email to employees.
The transition will occur April 1, with Larrañeta expected to announce other newsroom changes in the near future.
“He has been the leader of an amazingly talented group of journalists,” Dwyer wrote of Cotter. “He has recruited, hired and trained many journalists who have come to The Day right out of college and gone on to become outstanding reporters, editors and multi-media journalists, first at The Day and then on to other organizations including The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, and The New York Times.”
Dwyer cited Cotter’s “extraordinary career … as an architect of The Day’s national reputation as a newspaper that produces outstanding local news coverage” while leading the newsroom “as it transitioned from print-only to digital-first, all while managing in a time of shrinking advertising revenue and cuts in newsroom resources and staffing.”
Cotter, 66, a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, came to The Day in 1989 as a copy editor and became night city editor in 2002. He went on to serve as city editor, online managing editor and managing editor. He was appointed executive editor in January 2021.
“The Day is a special place and to be able to spend 34 years here with such a group of outstanding journalists has been a privilege I never took lightly,” Cotter said. “We have walls full of awards that are a testament to the work we’ve done. But even more gratifying is that a vast majority of our readers appreciate the role The Day plays in maintaining the quality of life in eastern Connecticut.”
Larrañeta, 46, the first woman and first Latina executive editor in company history, grew up in the Bronx, and in 1999 joined The Day as a town reporter after receiving her master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University.
“She quickly established herself as a hard-working, relentless reporter,” Dwyer wrote. “She covered courts, police and was theday.com’s first breaking news reporter.”
Larrañeta has been recognized for uncovering a mortgage scam that led to two federal convictions, and has won numerous other awards, including two New England Newspaper & Press Association Publick Occurrences awards, the organization’s highest honor.
In 2016, she became deputy managing editor, overseeing the day-to-day operation of the newsroom. In 2018, she was named Latina of the Year by the Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut and La Latina Network.
She was named managing editor in 2021, becoming the first Latina to oversee the company’s news operations.
Larrañeta serves as a trustee of the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut and as treasurer of the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government. She is a member of the New England First Amendment Coalition and secretary of The Day Publishing Co.’s board of directors.
She lives in Colchester with her husband, two children and her mother, a refugee from Puerto Rico who was displaced by Hurricane Maria.
“My love of newspapers grew from watching my father read several newspapers a day,” Larrañeta said. “He would tell me if I wanted to learn about the world that I should pick up a newspaper. I would still make that argument today.”
“If you want to know what’s going on in your community, read The Day,” she said. “We have a great group of hardworking journalists who do their best each and every day to keep you informed. It’s my privilege and honor to lead them.”
Cotter recalled that he hired Larrañeta right out of grad school and that “seeing her grow as a reporter and editor has been special to me.”
“Newspapers are going through tough times but The Day is lucky to have someone whose Bronx grit has her ready for the challenge,” he said.