The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

May 22, 2012

Online news site broadens efforts to engage the public

Posted by Donna Jolly

The Connecticut Mirror is a Knight Community Information Challenge Winner for its website which provides news, information and analysis about Connecticut state government and public policy. Donna Jolly, vice president for communications and marketing at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, writes about its progress. Above: the Connecticut State Capitol, photo credit: Flickr user J. Stephen Conn.

I don’t have any children graduating this year. But, I do feel a little like a proud parent. Let’s start at the birth:  On Jan. 25, 2010, Connecticut Mirror, an online news site was launched to provide professional, unbiased news and analysis about state government and politics for residents of the state. The Hartford Foundation was a proud funder, along with Knight Foundation and The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven

This spring, at the ripe old age of three, the Mirror broadened its efforts from informing the public to also engaging the public. And, we were right there with them. In March, the Mirror, with funding from the Hartford Foundation, hosted a forum on early childhood education. 

Nearly 200 people attended the event, which featured experts who discussed how high-quality early childhood education can have a profound impact on a child’s academic success and on society as a whole. In partnership with the Mirror, the foundation also hosted a pre-forum event with the speakers and key community leaders from the Capital Region.

Today, the Mirror launched a separate website about that forum and early childhood education. It includes taped versions of each presentation and links to news stories and nonprofits that focus on this issue (including the Hartford Foundation’s, where we show videotaped interviews with two of the speakers). And, together we’re planning another forum for the fall on the achievement gap.

Connecticut Mirror has accomplished so much so quickly and has so much potential because of its dedication to accurate, professional journalism and its understanding of consumers’ changing news habits. It embraces technology, as well as good, old-fashioned face-to-face gatherings of people hungry for news and information – so that they can go out and make the world a better place. 

I couldn’t be prouder.

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