CT Mirror

It seems I had written about CT Mirror ages ago, but apparently not. It should be required reading because it has saved the state of Connecticut from a black hole in news coverage. Since the Hartford Courant has been axing staff and making TV folks write news copy, there has developed a total lack of information about state government, politics, education, pretty much everything except for brief summaries of crime reports, which appear on TV and radio.

CT Mirror has saved the day by hiring several reporters from the Courant and other newspapers as well as other knowledgeable staffers. In its short history (less than a year) it has put the Courant to shame with comprehensive coverage of matters beyond the celebrity scandal du jour. True reporting and analysis can be found here. For example compare the Mirror’s “Pratt, GE escalate engine battle in Congress” (published July 14) with ? — nothing that I could find in the Courant. Or this gem, “There’s always room for pork …” with ? nothing from the Courant again as far as I could see. The legislator who raised the question about funding going to local projects took aim at a number of towns which had benefited from state largess in the form of sports fields, arts centers, a park, and so forth, noting that Governor Rell’s hometown was among the beneficiaries.

In the area of education, the Courant did publish information about the Connecticut Mastery Test results, information that was limited to the results. I had to read Bob Frahm’s “25 years of Mastery Tests helped shape state’s public education” to learn that Connecticut has served as a model for the nation. I did not realize how much real estate agents relied on the test results to drive business to the towns with better scores. The article also presented the argument against testing of this kind, which I’ve heard many times, claiming that test scores only measure how well students take tests and can’t assess true learning. The article included a marvelous graph that showed changes among different demographics between 2006 and this year. In addition to the town-by-town breakdown offered by the Courant, CT Mirror displayed an “interactive” link to allow more detailed analysis.

What’s missing from CT Mirror? Stories about the audition for “America’s Next Top Model” and the opening of a Sonic restaurant. No loss there.

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