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Letters to the Editor - Winsted Journal - 8-11-17

Thoughts and emotions at newspaper’s closing

I heard the news that The Winsted Journal would soon no longer exist in its current form, and I immediately felt multiple feelings intensely, including pity and sadness, personally and professionally.

I felt pity for the residents of Winsted, New Hartford, Colebrook and Norfolk because there is no possible way that a section in The Lakeville Journal, which will serve to cover the towns that had previously been covered by the Winsted paper, will be able to do justice to the towns’ thousands of residents and the myriad issues they face, many of which are unique to each town.

The Journal has, for years, informed residents of the happenings in the towns it has served in a personal way that will simply no longer be the case, at least not as extensively in-depth. From the heartwarming coverage of Winsted’s various colorful and sometimes quirky parades to much more serious issues including when public service and criminal corruption have intersected, and everything in between, The Winsted Journal has kept residents informed on all of it.  

How the towns and their residents will be affected by being less informed than they have been in decades is unclear, but it can safely be said that the public has not historically benefited from being less informed, but this type of decision is not based on public benefit or serving the public, but dollars and cents.  

Along with my empathy for the residents of the towns that The Winsted Journal has served, I also felt sadness and loss, both on personal and professional levels.  The Journal has played a significant role in the direction my life has gone and is going, and that began on a March day in 2014 when a seriously stressed-out and frazzled-looking man came into a Journalism Club meeting I was attending at Northwestern Connecticut Community College. 

The gentleman introduced himself as Shaw Israel Izikson, editor of the Winsted Journal, and he needed writers and photographers to help cover local stories.  He said anyone who wanted to could get paid to write and take photos, and I had loved doing both for years, never having been paid a dime to do either before, and I jumped at the chance.

I was attending NCCC pursuing my Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts, not really knowing what direction I wanted to go into after that, and had not previously considered the field of journalism. About a month after starting to report for the Journal, I found myself passionately involved in covering a story about an environmental disaster in Torrington.  It was then that I saw and felt the impact I could have as a member of the press.  

After enthusiastically spending far more hours covering the story than I ever intended, resulting in multiple front-page stories published that shed light on something that some parties involved were trying to keep in the dark, I said to myself, “I have never come close to being this passionate about anything that someone has given me a couple dollars to do.” Shortly thereafter, I made the decision to major in journalism once I transferred after graduating from NCCC.  I am currently a couple courses away from graduating with Honors from CCSU as a journalism major.  

During the time I spent reporting for The Winsted Journal, I evolved personally as a journalist, but I also developed a relationship with its editor, Mr. Izikson, and learned immensely from him, both by him making the effort to share his knowledge and experience with a budding journalist and as an example of a dedicated and tireless editor and reporter.   

I got a distinct view of him and his work ethic over the years working for and with him, and this view was solidified when I would drive or walk past him walking through feet of snow on unshoveled Main Street sidewalks on his way to cover stories or going to or from the Journal office when the roads were too treacherous for driving.  His dedication to his job and the towns he covered also came across clearly during the weekly editorial meetings when he would go around the room asking who of the reporters could cover stories like meetings at Town Hall or blood drives or local high school happenings, and when none of us could fit them into our busy schedules, Izikson always took on what we could not or would not.  

There were times when I thought for sure there would be no way he would be able to get to all of what he said he would, and then interview the key players and write the stories, along with editing all of the other stories in the weekly issue, but then I would pick up the next issue and there would be Shaw’s byline on story after story.  

Anyway, I wanted to share some of the feelings that flooded in when I heard the news about The Winsted Journal, along with how the paper has impacted my life. I truly hope that the new form that it takes, as a section in The Lakeville Journal, is able to do justice to the residents of the towns that The Winsted Journal has served for more than 20 years.  

Ryan Callinan

Kensington

Callinan is a former stringer for The Winsted Journal.

 

Grateful to Winsted Journal

No doubt many subscribers are as disappointed as we are with the recent announcement that our local newspaper, The Winsted Journal, will be closing in August. 

We have been grateful for this generally superior weekly but it was the work of the editor, Shaw Israel Izikson, and the columnist Dick Ahles, that made it so really outstanding for us. In today’s print media climate, close to miraculous!

These two journalists are so far and above what passes for “news reporting”  elsewhere as to be in a separate category altogether. 

We have really appreciated the breadth of their knowledge, ability to report complexities conscientiously and accurately, provoke thought, be witty and entertaining but at the same time not miss a beat in conveying worthy and often inspiring goals with dignity and sincerity. 

In fact, we often delayed reading the front page and other material and went right to the editorial page!  

While we  are truly saddened that The Winsted Journal will close,  we are heartened to know we can still subscribe to The Lakeville Journal and we want you to know, we will.    

Tom and Carol Beaudoin

Barkhamsted