Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Get Your Best Work Ready for the Contest!

We're going digital!

Start collecting your best work.
Scan it.
Make a PDF.
Enter your information online.
Upload your entry.
(Books and magazines may still be sent in hard copy format.)

Deadline for Connecticut entries: January 27, 2014 (no exceptions)

Deadline for National Federation of Press Women Contest: March 17, 2014* 
*Must be a first place winner in the Connecticut contest and a member of NFPW. Check out for membership information.

More details about the contest to follow. Just get ready!                             203-968-8600

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

More Winners for TV News

Congratulations to News 12!

On the Scene Report: News

1st Prize: “Stamford Christmas Day Fire.” News12 Connecticut. Frank Recchia and Dan Renzetti.

Judge’s comment: “Persistence paid off in solid reporting, including exclusive footage and a scoop on the victims’ identities, in this account of a fatal fire.”

2nd Prize: “Stuck on the Tracks.” News 12 Connecticut. Aaron Mesmer, Dan Renzetti, Lori Golias.

Judge’s comments: “This well-edited spot report made effective use of visuals and sound to evoke the accident scene.”

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Contest Winners - TV News

Congratulations, News 12!

Special Programming: Public Affairs
Winner: Julie's Journey by Gillian Neff, Stacey Pattberg and Robert Cook
Judge's notes: A touching story. Products find a compelling subject and present the tale in an emotional heartfelt way. Important topic handled responsibly.
2nd Messages by Amy Packham and Robert Cook
3rd Pet talk: Conservation Special by Lauren Collier and Jim Ballard

Prepared Report: Investigative
Winner: Stolen from the Grave by Courtney Cane, Melissa Taberna and Dan Renzetti
Judge's notes: This Haunting story revealed the horror of a stolen child and provides a glimpse into the shadow world of Santeria.
2nd Don't give up for a friend by Kristi Olds and Christopher Wood
3rd Teardrop meets Raindrop by Frank Recchia and Matthew Cyr

Sports Prepared Reports
Winner: Kidcaster by Fred Certeiny and Robert Cook
Judges Notes: The reporter found a unique story in the young sportscaster and old told the story in a humorous and fast pace manner.
2nd Chrushen Russian by Kristi Olds and Dan Renzetti
3rd Can you do that? By Christopher Wood and Mark Sogofsky

Prepared Report: Feature
Winner: The Survival of Stanley by Gwen Edwards and Jim Mennino
Judge's notes: This story is one that you feel as it is being told. It is a story from the heart and it is one where the footage captures the essence of what happened.
2nd Documenting the Dead by Matt Kozar and Jim Mennino
3rd Decade of Enduring Spirit by Aaron Mesmer and Jim Mennino
HM One Word: Art by Sarah Hagen and Dan Renzetti

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bradshaw Smith, RIP

Bradshaw Smith, producer of Broadway Beat, died Monday, January 16 of a massive stroke. He was 57.

Born on April 14, 1954 in Derby, Bradshaw attended Ansonia High School and Western Connecticut State University. He moved to New York in the mid-1970s and did cabaret at Don't Tell Mama. He received the first MAC award for Best Male Vocalist and the Backstage Bistro award.

Bradshaw also thrived behind the scenes with his award winning cable television show, Cabaret Beat and later with Broadway Beat, which documented thousands of theatre professionals during rehearsals, performance, interviews and fundraisers. Funeral services are private and a memorial is being planned. Contributions may be made in his memory to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Phone Phobia

I run a writer's group and need help. The problem is that most of the people who say they are willing to help have become phobic about using the telephone to contact speakers for our programs. Regardless of age, they rely on email. They think it's faster and quicker. Shoot off an email and wait for a reply. And wait. And wait. And wait.

The truth is that many emails do not get to their recipients, especially if the intended recipients rely on corporate emails. The term blacklisting has not been retired since the days of Joe McCarthy. I've been working at the same newspaper for more than 10 years and my emails are sometimes lost in the company's email system. Similarly for a magazine for which I freelance regularly. In fact, the managing editor's daughter's emails get lost in the company's spam folder. Why? Some domain names are automatically classified as spam. Some services, such as Constant Contact, are classified as bulk emailers and, therefore, get automatic rejections. Sometimes emails from people and organizations I've accepted for years go into my spam folder. I don't know why it happens, but it does. What was most annoying was when I had AOL as my email provider and I would get daily emails about Viagra and penis-enlarging pills. Despite that, AOL would reject emails sent through domain names in the days when some people still used dial-up only. Go figure.

When I get a chance to look at journalism boards, I see the postings of writers who ask the same questions all the time. What's the email format at Such and Such publication? At The New York TImes, it's often lastname at But not always. How do you get the correct email? Pick. Up. The. Phone.

What I find so surprising is that this issue is huge among writers. What do they do when they have to interview people? Unless they're doing a face-to-face interview, they have to disclose in the article that it was a telephone or email interview. Person-to-person is preferable because the interviewer can note body language and, depending on the locale, get a better handle on his subject. Even phone is preferable to email, even with the risk of not getting a quote accurately. The interviewer can at least get a sense if the subject is trying to evade an answer or is articulate and well-prepared.

Journalists, like artists and salespeople, often expect rejection and perhaps that's a main reason for their phone phobia. The vast majority of people are insecure about what they're doing, especially in fields where every assignment is new and perhaps different. We never really know what to expect. The upsides of that are that it's hard to get bored and that we always get another chance to improve our technique.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Best Websites and Blogs

Web Site Edited by Entrant -- Category 22

1st Place -- Lauren Yarger -- Connecticut Arts Connection

2nd Place -- Analiese Paik -- Fairfield Green Food Guide

3rd Place -- Barbara Wilkov and Laurie Newkirk --

Blogs -- Category 35B

1st Place -- Stephanie Webster -- Your Guide to Great Food in Fairfield County.

2nd Place -- Sherry Shameer Cohen -- Metrojournalist Blog, 365 posts.

3rd Place -- Barbara Wilkov and Laurie Newkirk -- Blogging with Barb (and sometimes Laurie)

Friday, March 4, 2011

History in the Making

Congratulations to

Cathryn J. Prince for winning 1st prize for A Professor, A President, and a Meteor: The Birth of American Science


Woody Klein for winning 2nd prize for The Inside Stories of Modern Political Scandals: How Investigative Reporters Changed the Course of American History

Note: all entries were judged by members of the Pennsylvania Press Club.