Through this extraordinary year, we adapted. We found ways to make a difference, and we stuck together. The way friends do.
MARCH, 2021: It’s been a year since COVID 19 entered our state, forced us into lockdown and began to re-arrange nearly every aspect of our lives. As a community, we experienced previously unimaginable loss and uncertainty together. As things shut down, we kept our distances and covered our faces and washed and cleaned to keep each other safe. We worried, protested, prayed, voted and adapted as best we could. We celebrated little things, and discovered new depths of gratitude.
And we kept on working. As 2020 began, we quickly responded to the COVID-19 pandemic sending nearly all Connecticut Public employees home to work remotely. They stepped up in ways none of us thought possible. During this challenging year, we increased our local news coverage, launched new shows and exploded our content onto more platforms reaching more people in Connecticut than ever before. We also added talented new people, perspectives and voices to our staff.
Because of YOU and your financial support, your participation in events, calls, comments, likes, follows and shares – and all of your watching, listening and learning – we are already well on our way bringing you exciting new content and programming for 2021!
With heartfelt thanks and best wishes,
Mark G. Contreras
President and CEO, Connecticut Public
We covered the important stories of 2020, and we shared the special things that make Connecticut home.
During 2020, Connecticut Public’s team of journalists and storytellers delivered local stories and national programming in every way we watch, listen and learn. We expanded our staff to cover the local impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, racial and social justice issues, institutional disruptions, and the 2020 election – alongside national and international journalism from NPR and PBS.
We broadened our local conversations, adding Audacious with Chion Wolf and Disrupted with Khalilah Brown-Dean. Connecticut Conversations and local documentaries explored the issues in deeper, more substantive ways.
On the digital front, we created a daily COVID Updates newsletter and a weekly Learning Snacks email; we curated Learn At Home resources to assist parents and teachers with remote learning; and we developed new weekly lesson topics for Thinkalong to help teens learn media literacy skills.
At the beginning of 2021, we presented live coverage of the historic inauguration of a new administration in DC and the turmoil of a second impeachment of the former president. (Colin McEnroe brought back the Pardon Me impeachment podcast for a second season!)
We launched a new monthly local program, Cutline, which focuses on current issues, ideas and events that are top-of-mind for Connecticut residents. Recent topics have included Mental Health During Covid-19, how we stay connected through food and tradition, the impact of the pandemic on student athletes and sports, and what it’s like to experience “everyday white supremacy.” Cutline’s March and April episodes continue to take stock of what COVID has cost us — personally, emotionally, and economically.
In February we collaborated with community partners to hold a fascinating virtual discussion with local pastors around the premiere of the landmark, multi-hour, Henry Louis Gates’ documentary, The Black Church.
We launched a weekly, online Spanish-language news wrap-up, Las Noticias de Esta Semana with reporter Brenda León.
Look for the refreshed the brand presentation of our long-running, award-winning local talk show, Where We Live, hosted by Lucy Nalpathanchil.
of new, original TV programs
of live streaming national news events
regional and national
Live streaming COVID-19
updates from Governor Lamont
Stories or program
on the coronavirus
Journalists and producers
added to staff
*All values estimated January, 2020 through March, 2021.
"Last fiscal year, through all funding sources, $8.1 million was raised to support our journalism efforts, engaging programming on television, radio and digital, and our educational resources for families, students and educators. We are thankful to each and every member, donor and grantor for sharing our commitment to public media."
— Gregory Butler, Chairman, Connecticut Public Board of Trustees
We’re listening to new voices who are helping us grow.
Connecticut Public is deeply committed to engaging audiences who are demographically, ethnically, racially and culturally diverse – and who hold a multiplicity of perspectives.
During the COVID-19 quarantine, new audiences discovered our digital platforms where their favorite radio and TV programs are available on-demand and streaming live. With new digital products and engagement strategies, our digital audience has surpassed that on linear TV and radio.
1,079,897 avg weekly audience
+53% Passport members
+44% Digital users
+11% Email subscribers
+6% Social media followers
+123% Livestreaming TV viewers
*All values represent January 2021 year-over-year growth
We invested in education for today, and generations to come.
Distance learning changed education drastically overnight – and Connecticut Public stepped forward to lead the way.
We’re restoring public trust in journalism.
The Accountability Project (TAP) is Connecticut Public’s initiative to support an investigative journalism unit to cover issues affecting Connecticut and provide citizens with facts they can use to make informed decisions.
We gratefully acknowledge the inaugural supporters of The Accountability Project:
Francisco L. Borges
Gregory Melville and Susan Fox
Melville Charitable Trust
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
PRODUCER’S CIRCLE ($100,000-249,999)
PRESIDENT’S CIRCLE ($50,000-99,999)
Tom and Melanie Barnes Family Fund at Main Street Community Foundation
Susan and Peter Kelly
Newman’s Own Foundation
Jo-Ann N. Price and Michael P. Price
Smart Family Foundation of New York
Penelope Miller and Victor Sitty
Mr. Radha Radhakrishnan and Mrs. Mallika Radhakrishnan
More notable donations include:
Members Jay Keiser and Pamela Rehrig, contributed a generous matching gift resulting in 59 new sustaining members.
Nick Donofrio established the Donofrio Media Internship which selects students from the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system to work with our media professionals to gain first-hand experience.
Connecticut Public Trustee Radha Radhakrishnan’s recent pledge supports the creation of a new investigative journalism unit called The Accountability Project.
Alec Baldwin continued his support this year through a challenge to match memberships dollar-for-dollar during our October drive. The matching gift from the Alec and Hilaria Baldwin Foundation helped us knock it out of the park!
Danielle Drazen is a donor who is dedicated to our kids. Danielle remembers, as a young person, listening to NPR in the back seat of her parents’ car while being driven to activities and errands. Now a school teacher in Connecticut, Danielle has not only donated her own car through our Contribute-a-Car program, but is the youngest member of our Legacy Society, ensuring that generations to come will be able to experience those inspirational, edifying “driveway moments” that made such an impact on her life.
Cars donated last year
We amplified and expanded the impact of local and national foundations.
Report for America is a national service initiative of The GroundTruth Project which provides funding that is matched by local grantors and donors. RFA places journalists into local newsrooms like Connecticut Public’s, to report on under-covered issues and communities. We are honored to host two RFA reporters: Brenda León (above, on previous panel) who covers the Latino community in Connecticut and Ali Oshinskie who reports on the Naugatuck River Valley.
Connecticut Public is grateful for leadership support from Access Health Connecticut Small Business and Hoffman Auto Group along with additional funding from Tara and Arthur Diedrick, Jay Youngling and Susan Jordan, Joe Zimmel and the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund.
The Connecticut Health Foundation has funded Connecticut Public health reporter Nicole Leonard’s second year with the Health Reporting Project. Nicole covers health care policy at the local, state, and national levels to explore its impact.
"The Connecticut Health Foundation is pleased to support in-depth reporting projects from Connecticut Public that reflect the racial and ethnic disparities that are central to understanding health in Connecticut. We value coverage of issues including access to care, the impact of housing and other resources on health, and the ways COVID-19 has affected communities of color."
— Tiffany Donelson, President & CEO, The Connecticut Health Foundation
Thanks to Connecticut Public's supporters, we're facing a bright future!
Connecticut Public’s staff continues to work primarily from their homes. We have joined the ranks of the Zoom-fatigued masses who are, nevertheless, grateful for the technology, the caffeine, and the good will and humor of our colleagues and our audiences who kept us going.
As the spring of 2021 approaches, we are starting to get vaccinated, to venture out a little more, and to make hopeful, ambitious plans for the coming year.
New local programs are in development, including another season of compelling discussions with our Conversations on the Green partners; a new PBS documentary about the life of iconic American writer Ernest Hemingway; and a new PBS KIDS series from Fred Rogers Workshop called Donkey Hodie — in which our heroine shows us how to dream big, set goals, and most importantly — to stay creative and persistent!