Write to the Point!

A Neighborhood Studios Program at the Mark Twain House

Archive for the tag “CT News Junkie”

CT News Junkie Editor Shares Her Story With Young Reporters

By Ambriel Johnson

Writing Apprentice

Twain Studios

Many Connecticut residents have visited the Mark Twain House & Museum, and even more may have endlessly searched for a reliable local news source.

These two merged together Wednesday into one woman, the editor of CT News Junkie, Christine Stuart.

Updated daily, Stuart’s popular Connecticut news site includes original reporting on state politics, public policy, the courts, and the complexities of the health care system.

This Central Connecticut State University graduate and editor-in-chief of one of Connecticut’s leading news websites addressed a group of young journalists at The Mark Twain House & Museum.

Stuart discussed how she got her start in journalism and how the young writers can get theirs, too.

The apprentices of the Write to the Point! Neighborhood Studios program eagerly questioned Christine about everything from her favorite news story to how old she is. The answer is 36, by the way.

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CT News Junkie Editor Christine Stuart

A few months after Stuart graduated from CCSU in 1999, the Hartford Advocate offered her a position as a reporter.

She was glad to take this position. She’d spent months waiting to hear from any one of the many news organizations she’d sent resumes to after graduation.

“Being a journalist is one of the only ways you can make a living writing,” said Stuart. “You do it because you love it. You don’t do it because it is going to support you.”

Stuart told the writing group that before she started CT News Junkie, she would typically have to take on two or three jobs besides reporting, just to get by.

However, after struggling to make a name for herself in the news industry, Stuart finally landed a better job at the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.

At the Journal Inquirer, Stuart covered a variety of beats, including the city of East Hartford, the state’s trash authority and a regional water commission.

In early 2006, after spending nearly four years as a reporter at the Journal Inquirer, Stuart bought CT News Junkie from a friend. She and her husband, Doug Hardy got this news site on its journalistic feet that same year.

Regular viewers of the site, she said, check it about four times a day.

As one of only five women reporters at the Capitol, Stuart primarily covers government and politics.

When asked her advice for beginner journalists, Stuart had a simple answer.

“Go out and do it,” she said. “Offer your stories up to publications.”

So, shut up and listen.

CT News Junkie Offers Career Advice to Writing Apprentices

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Christine Stuart, editor of CT News Junkie, with the Twain Studios Writing Apprentices. From left: June Tran, Molly Miller, Rae Martin, Cecilia Gigliotti, Alan Burkholder, Stuart, Jahyra White, Indira Senderovic, Ashaya Nelson, Grant Henry, Ambriel Johnson, Meaghan Szilagyi

By Meaghan Szilagyi

Writing Apprentice

Twain Studios

When CT News Junkie Editor Christine Stuart came to talk to the writing apprentices of Twain Studios about her job, we didn’t know what to expect.

We started with simple introductions and quickly came to talking about Stuart’s start in journalism and her current job.

A 1999 graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a degree in English, Stuart said she considered grad school but decided to go straight to work.

A few months after graduation, she landed her first journalism job at the Hartford Advocate.

Later, the Journal Inquirer in Manchester gave her a reporting job covering the goings on in East Hartford.

In 2006, Stuart bought the CT News Junkie website.

She didn’t make a lot of money at first.

There was, she said, “a long road to revenue.”

She worked to bring readers to the site.

“Traffic is where revenue comes in,” Stuart said.

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Christine Stuart presents to the Writing Apprentices at Twain Studios Wednesday.

In addition to original articles, Stuart frequently gives the preview of a story from a different source on her site and provides a link. She does this to help small operations get more traffic and more revenue, as well as to provide a service to her readers.

Stuart said she isn’t afraid of losing her readership to these other blogs because she knows they are loyal. The average reader on CT News Junkie checks the site about four times a day, according to Stuart.

To Stuart, credibility and accuracy are more important than being timely.

“It’s the only thing you have,” she said. If Stuart didn’t double-check her facts as she does now, she said, her site’s “value would be diminished.”

Stuart definitely considers journalism a “blue collar profession.”

While working as a journalist, you don’t think about what you’re getting paid, she said, you just care that you’re getting paid for writing.

“You do it because you love it,” she said. “You don’t do it because it supports you.”

When giving advice to aspiring journalists, Stuart has many words of wisdom.

“When in doubt, add a period,” she said, and stick to the point.

Interviewing is “always awkward at the beginning,” she said. “You’re nervous. You’re sweating.”

But, she said, “A better conversation always makes a better story.”

Chatting with Christine Stuart was definitely an eye opener. She is personable and friendly.

And it always helps to have connections.

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