Harriet Jones | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

Harriet Jones

Managing Editor

Harriet Jones is Managing Editor for Connecticut Public Radio, overseeing the coverage of daily stories from our busy newsroom.

As a reporter she's covered such diverse issues as the opioid crisis, immigration policy, homelessness, workforce development and income inequality.

In 2011, she created the station's Small Business Project as a way to tell stories about the companies that make up 90 percent of our economy, but often get overlooked in the media.

She is the winner of an Edward R. Murrow award for her reporting on Connecticut's 2010 floods.

Harriet joined WNPR in October 2000 as Morning Edition producer and reporter. Born in Scotland, she worked for the BBC for much of her early career.

She has also taught broadcasting for the BBC at some of their international schools in Eastern Europe, delivering courses to journalists in Romania, Albania and Bosnia.

She was news director at Scotland's largest commercial radio station, ScotFM, and was lucky enough to cover that country's two biggest political events in 300 years - the referendum which delivered a new parliament, and the subsequent elections.

Harriet lives in Stonington with her husband, Bob Statchen, and their three children.

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Special Note to Readers and Listeners: 

June 30, 2020

Our newsroom works hard each day to be thoughtful about the news and how we cover it. Here, and throughout public media, we take pride in being non-partisan, accurate, impartial, and independent. In pursuit of those aims, we also hold ourselves accountable. 

Harriet Jones has been a trusted voice at Connecticut Public Radio for years. She is currently managing editor -- which means she runs our daily news operation. On June 25, 2020, her husband, Bob Statchen, began active campaigning as the Democratic candidate for the 18th state senatorial district in the 2020 election.

In an effort to avoid real and perceived conflicts of interest, and after earlier consultation with NPR, we are taking the following steps:

  • Jones will not report on, or edit reports on, Connecticut’s 2020 statehouse races.
  • She will not participate in her husband’s campaign.
  • She will not cover or edit political issues of concern in her husband’s race.

I'll be responsible for the newsroom duties from which Harriet is recusing herself. 

This follows our practice from 2018, when we developed similar plans after careful consideration internally and with guidance and advice of NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices and the NPR ombudsman.

Transparency is an essential part of our work. That’s why we’re sharing this with you now. We’ll obviously revisit this issue as the campaign season progresses, and we welcome your feedback.

Jeff Cohen
News Director
Connecticut Public Radio
jcohen@ctpublic.org

The resurgence of Connecticut’s housing market continues with news of soaring numbers of housing starts in the state in September. The Department of Economic and Community Development says the 649 permits issued in September in 104 towns around the state was an 84 percent increase over the same month last year, and the highest of any September going back to 2006. An influx of buyers from New York and other parts of the country has put pressure recently on existing housing inventory, driving up demand for new construction.

The Connecticut Department of Labor says it's now received more than a million applications for unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic. Commissioner Kurt Westby describes that as “a milestone no one wanted to get to.” The Department says it has distributed more than $5 bn in benefits across both state and federal programs. Just under a quarter of a million people remain on unemployment currently. Westby said over the seven months of the crisis his department has received more applications than it normally would in eight years.

Pratt & Whitney has told the town of East Hartford to expect hundreds of job cuts at its facilities this week. In all it's thought some 450 salaried positions may be at risk across its Connecticut locations, although the company hasn't confirmed those numbers publicly. The cuts come as parent company Raytheon, based in Massachusetts, seeks $1 bn in savings in the next four years, and also battles the disastrous falloff in commercial aerospace business as a result of COVID-19.

The Connecticut Mirror reports that the Supreme Court has declined to hear a case brought by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, alleging that President Donald Trump violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. That clause prohibits self-dealing by federal officeholders. The Democrat along with many of his fellow lawmakers had asked the court to review a ruling by a three-judge panel of the D.C.

Reuters reports that Purdue Pharma, the Stamford-based maker of OxyContin, is nearing an agreement with federal authorities to plead guilty to criminal charges. The plea would be part of a broader deal to resolve U.S. Justice Department investigations into its alleged role in fueling the nation’s opioid crisis. Reuters' sources say the deal could be unveiled within two weeks, and would include billions of dollars in both criminal and civil penalties. Connecticut is one of the states that continues to pursue a case against Purdue over the costs of the opioid epidemic.

CT Newsjunkie reports that state elections regulators want the Inspector General for the US postal service to look into the late arrival of ballots in Enfield’s primary in August. 234 absentee ballots arrived at the Town Hall two weeks after the primary election date. The State Elections Enforcement Commission, which investigated the issue, says it found no problems with Enfield’s election officers.

Marc N. Belanger / Wikimedia Commons

Norwich Public Schools along with Norwich Free Academy will return to remote learning for two weeks because of a spike in coronavirus cases in the area. Town and health officials held a press conference Thursday after the COVID-19 positivity rate spiked to six percent. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Less than a week after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, her vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court has set up what is sure to be a contentious battle among legislators on how to proceed.

However uncertain that process may be, the court is still set to hear arguments beginning a week after the presidential election for a case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. 

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Tributes to the life and work of late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have come in from across Connecticut.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

To play or not to play full-contact high school football? That has been the question in Connecticut for weeks. The state Department of Public Health says no. Coaches like House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D) say yes. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The Norwalk Police Department says it’s investigating a claim by state Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff that he’s recently been subjected to harassment and intimidation from Norwalk police officers. Duff says the officers objected to his vote for the police accountability bill, which passed in special session in July. 

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

Severe thunderstorms swept through Connecticut Thursday, knocking out power to more than 50,000 homes and causing areas of significant damage, particularly around the towns of Hamden and Branford. Gov. Ned Lamont announced he was deploying National Guard troops to help with storm cleanup, clearing downed trees and allowing utility crews to secure power cables. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Utility regulators say they will consider whether civil penalties should be applied if Connecticut’s electric companies are found to have botched the response to Tropical Storm Isaias. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority Thursday outlined the scope of its investigation into the response that was requested by Gov. Ned Lamont. 

Hospital staff thank local fire, police departments, and EMS as they pay tribute to the health care providers at Saint Mary's Hospital who are on the front lines taking care of patients with COVID-19 on April 10, 2020 in Waterbury, Connecticut.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order Friday creating a presumption that workers who became infected with COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic contracted it on the job and are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Gwen Carr
Harriet Jones / Connecticut Public Radio

Eric Garner died during an arrest in New York City six years ago -- in a police chokehold, saying the words “I can’t breathe.” In the years since, the Black Lives Matter movement has become a national force, and Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, has become an activist, speaking out across the country against police brutality. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Events across Connecticut Friday marked the commemoration of Juneteenth, the day in 1865 when news of the end of the Civil War reached Texas, marking the true end of chattel slavery in the U.S. -- two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

A protest encampment outside the Bridgeport Police Department completed its fourth day Tuesday.

The protesters, who’ve maintained a 24/7 presence in colorful tents, have issued a list of 11 demands, including calling on the city council to defund the police department and reinvest the money into community initiatives.

Carmen Baskauf / Connecticut Public Radio

New Haven has become the latest municipality in Connecticut to announce it will remove a statue of Christopher Columbus. The statue, in Wooster Square, is in the center of the city’s traditionally Italian American neighborhood.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

On March 8, 2020 Gov. Ned Lamont announced the first declared case of coronavirus in a Connecticut resident. 

Just 12 weeks later, the death toll in the state surpassed 4,000. In between, life had radically changed for everyone in many different ways. 

barbershop haircut
Harriet Jones / Connecticut Public Radio

This story has been updated.

Cat Thibodeau opened the doors of Modern Barber and Shave Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. -- as she had consistently advertised on social media. 

And the line of at least six customers on her porch in Pawcatuck seemed to validate that decision.

“I’m feeling really good,” Thibodeau said. “I’m feeling excited to see my customers after a two-month hiatus, and catch up.”

healthcare workers
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

These past few weeks have brought unprecedented strain for front-line medical workers in Connecticut’s hospitals and nursing homes. It’s also been a period of innovation in the health care industry, as facilities both try to support their staff -- and stretch them far beyond their previous clinical experience.

PPE delivery
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

Members of Connecticut’s Chinese American community made a donation of personal protective equipment for the state’s health care workers Friday.

Local volunteers led by the Chinese Association for Science and Technology sourced 5,000 respirator masks and 15,000 surgical masks, as well as 4,000 gowns. 

postcards
Harriet Jones / Connecticut Public Radio

As recent events in Wisconsin have reminded us, this is an important year for elections, but one where we will have to explore new paradigms for political activity.

Before the coronavirus pandemic hit and we all began social distancing, election activities had been ramping up. And one cooperative effort in Connecticut is managing to keep going stronger than ever, despite physical isolation.

Small business owners across Connecticut are filling out forms, submitting paperwork and keeping their fingers crossed that they can get a slice of $349 billion being released by the federal government to support struggling companies.

amazon delivery
AP Photo/John Minchillo

People who work in service industries have been on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis in more ways than one. A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston says that means policymakers must put them first when it comes to rebuilding the economy. 

Ryan Caron King/Connecticut Public

Spring is here, and with it the growing season for Connecticut farms. As a part of the essential supply chain, they’re subject to far fewer restrictions than many other businesses, but life on the farm during coronavirus is still complicated and uncertain.

Bridgeport, Fifth State Distillery, sanitizer, coronavirus
Joe Amon/Connecticut Public/NENC

One of the very first things to fly off the shelves as people began to worry about the coronavirus was hand sanitizer. As the weeks go by, stories of stockpiling and price gouging have emerged -- but so have stories of innovation and ingenuity. 

Hanging Hills Brewery
Adam Hushin/Connecticut Public

One industry that’s positively flourished in Connecticut in the last decade or so is small craft breweries. As of January, more than 100 were open up and down the state.

But with many so dependent on now-shuttered taprooms, and on their partnerships with restaurants, they’re in the eye of the economic storm, as coronavirus takes its toll.

South Park Inn
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public Radio

As state and local governments grapple with how to keep people safe, the threat of coronavirus looms larger for people in vulnerable situations.

Perhaps none more so than people who are experiencing homelessness, who -- by definition -- cannot “stay safe; stay home,” as Gov. Ned Lamont’s new slogan has it.

cleaning service
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public Radio

While some businesses have asked their staff to work from home, other jobs can’t be done remotely. Among the most important as the nation faces a pandemic infection -- cleaning.

But many people who clean for a living say they don’t feel safe carrying out their jobs right now.

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