What You Should be Reading: Newtown 911 Tapes

This week the state FOIC ordered Newtown police officials to release the 911 calls made during the attack.

State prosecutors have pledged to appeal the decision in a higher court.

This isn’t the easiest conversation to have with anyone. For Connecticut, it’s a big deal. Actually, it’s more than that.

Papers across the state have been writing about this since the tragedy took place last December.

Do you think the tapes should be released? If not, why?

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What You Should Be Reading: Newtown and FOI

via salon.com

via salon.com

I’ve debated about doing this post since I found out about the secret formation of this bill.

I’m worried about what this could mean for journalists and the general public.

Even the state police union had some words to say about this bill, in favor of everything.

My editors and I have been talking about this bill since we found out about it.

To be frank, they aren’t happy and I don’t blame them.

One of them said there should be a lawsuit “if there isn’t one already.”

While all of this is going on, the FOI Commission is ordering the release of Newtown records. The AP had requested documents, shortly after the shooting, in December of last year.

Newspapers across the state have been writing editorials on the release of the records for months now.

It’s not often you see all of them in agreement, but go here, here, here and here.

Where is the trust in the public? Why was this done in secret, against normal procedures? Where was the public hearing process that normal legislation runs through?

The precedence this sets is immeasurable right now, but it’s something to keep an eye on. And, if I know Connecticut newspapers, this won’t go away anytime soon.

From people that I’ve spoken with, many have said they don’t see a problem with the release of the Newtown records.

What do you think?

Jonathan

What You Should Be Reading: Newtown updates

via l.yimg.com

via l.yimg.com

A lot has come out in the last week or so about Adam Lanza and the Newtown Massacre. Several warrants were released on Lanza and his mother’s (Nancy Lanza) home.

This isn’t for the faint of heart. This is the real deal. I highly encourage you to see the warrants for yourself, but I must caution you that it’s sickening.

For a summary, the Connecticut State Police provided a news release on the warrants here. It’s the longest release I’ve ever seen from the state police in my time, by far.

As for the investigation, state police provided an explanation that included:

“As mentioned, this is an active, ongoing investigation. No conclusions have been reached and no final determinations have been made. The estimation of completion in the summer remains. After the investigation is complete, I will prepare a report regarding the matter which will include an evaluation of the crimes committed and whether or not there will be any prosecutions as a result. Myself and the investigators ask that the investigative process be respected.”

For a great recap of the new details and Lanza himself, check out the NYT

The Hartford Courant’s editorial from Thursday is, frankly, a must read.  If you read anything today, that should be it.

It’s been a crazy week for Lanza news. It seems like every other week there are new stories about the shooting and Lanza himself. Everyone, even everyone in the newsroom, is on edge with the Newtown news. It’s not easy to think about it, nevertheless read the news about it. But, it’s something we have to live with now.

It’ll never go away.

Jonathan

Another Service for Newtown

via washingtonpost.com

via washingtonpost.com

What more is there left for me to say?

On Tuesday night, I covered another vigil. Planned quickly in Coventry, the service had a decent turnout at the high school.

I knew what to expect, but I was completely unaware of just how sad this one was going to be.

In my head, I was anticipating something a bit more cheerful and full of hope. I envisioned local legislators and town officials calling for time to heal and to slowly start the process of moving forward.

I was wrong. I almost lost it a few times that night.

Walking into the auditorium, you saw 26 electric candles with 26 names in front of them. I had to stop and catch myself before I started talking to people. That alone set the tone for the rest of the night. It ended up being a great story.

And again, I didn’t talk to any person who was crying. I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Almost everyone who spoke was overcome with emotions. I really can’t blame them. It’s been gut-wrenching to cover these and I have another tonight in Lebanon. It’s getting both easier and harder to write these. Easier because I know what my editors are looking for and harder because it’s like I’m reliving last Friday all over again.

I’m not dreading tonight’s service, but I have my guard up.

I think I’m going to do a post next week as a roundup on the three vigils. It won’t be a summary, but rather a reflection of what I’ve learned about myself and the communities that we cover. It’ll be another tough one to write, but it’s important to get that on here. It’s one thing for me to give some insight, but its another to really get into what I’m learning and doing, while on the job.

At least this week is almost over.

Jonathan

Tragedy in Newtown, Conn.

I’m not going to say anything about what happened. We all already know. I just wanted to share a few things that I have found this morning.

Thank you for visiting today. Tell the people you care about most that you love them.

Jonathan

Piers Morgan Explodes At Gun Advocate: ‘How Many Kids Have To Die’ Before You Change Your Mind?

Via newseum.org

Via newseum.org

via Newseum.org

via Newseum.org

 

Awkward and Tough

It’s been over a year since Newtown. I wanted to write this post before Dec. 14, but I thought better of it. I knew I needed to wait. I didn’t have a reason why (I still don’t), but I needed to wait.

I’ve written about Newtown before and it hasn’t been easy.

Some of my best writing has come from Newtown, which is awful to say, but covering three vigils last December and the story package we had this past weekend was something to remember.

It’s never easy to broach the conversation, but, I feel, it’s good for people to talk to someone, other than a family member or friend, who just wants to hear what you have to say.

At the Chronicle we came up with the idea to do something a bit different with our Newtown coverage. To localize it, we decided to interview parents of elementary school-aged children in our districts. We asked them if they felt their children were safe and how they, as parents, have possibly changed since last December.

Before I even called anyone, I was freaking out. I had a gut feeling no one was going to talk to me. I figured, since they are parents, they just wouldn’t want to. Newtown affected each person a bit differently. Many people are still grieving. And that’s more than okay. What happened in Newtown, though I have yet to go into the town, haunts me each day (that’s another post).

I got my list of parents and I started calling. For many, I left long, awkward messages asking them for a bit of their time to talk about the safety of their children in the shadow of Newtown. For some, I got the mothers right away and we just started talking.

What I thought were going to be five-minute conversations turned into half-hour scrolls of how they handled it that day with their children to how nervous they get out in public. It was simply amazing.

These were the interviews where you didn’t have to ask any questions. Once you told them the topic they took it and ran with it. It was something I will never forget.

Mike had Louisa and I work on it together, effectively splitting up our “Big 5” towns and getting as many parents as we could. The story that came out of those interviews is easily one of my top five best stories of my life

You can read it here:

Keeping Newtown close to their hearts Local parents continue to cope with the tragedy.

I’ve read it probably 10 times and I just remember covering all of the vigils and memorials last year. Whether it was 26 bells at a church in Lebanon or 26 candles at the high school auditorium in Coventry, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget the 26 people who were gunned down last year.

This story is about the healing process and how it’s not as easy as turning a new page in life. Safety and security mean more to parents than ever before.

These were mostly children. Babies. They were just babies…

Jonathan