Saturday, August 18, 2012

As a newspaper building, the Register is going to make a heck of an exhibit hall for Artspace's alternative weekend

By Ed Stannard, Community Engagement Editor

NEW HAVEN — As the New Haven Register looks forward to selling our 42-year-old plant and moving downtown, the old newspaper plant and shirt factory is going to be host for one last extravaganza.

Artspace’s annual Alternative Space Weekend, part of the City-Wide Open Studios Festival, will be staged in the Register’s Long Wharf building Oct. 20-21. More than 100 artists will bring their work — and create new works inspired by the space — to our press room and other areas where we once printed, folded and bundled the paper for delivery.

“We’re going to be inviting artists to exhibit and create work in the factory parts of the building,” said Helen Kauder, executive director of Artspace New Haven. The artists will use “six or seven of the spaces that were used for printing and to put together the paper.”

That will include the press room, which has a high ceiling and walking areas on two levels. Artspace will install “innovative hanging systems that will be set up so that artists can hang their work,” Kauder said.

While we stopped printing the paper in our Long Wharf Drive plant earlier this year (it’s now printed by the Hartford Courant), the news, advertising, circulation and business operations are still there as we await a buyer. Recently, the city rezoned the area to allow for a retail business.

An empty hallway lined with lockers at the New Haven Register will become an exhibit space Oct. 20-21. (VM Williams/Register)
When artists look at a space, they see something different from what others might. So, for example, a hallway with a row of lockers becomes an exhibit space; box trucks used to deliver newspapers become traveling studios.

“We’ve had a longstanding interest in thinking about mobile studios,” Kauder said, seeing “the opportunity with those lovely silver trucks.”

City-Wide Open Studios is celebrating its 15th year this year, and Kauder said a theme of this year’s exhibit will be the traditional 15th wedding anniversary gift of crystal, which Kauder said fits with the newspaper’s ideals of “transparency, clarity.”

The Alternative Space weekend has used several industrial buildings in the New Haven area, including the Pirelli building (in front of Ikea) and the Smoothie corset factory (now residences).

City-Wide Open Studios Alternative Space exhibit was held in the Smoothie building in 2000. (Mara Lavitt/ Register)
The Register building at 40 Sargent Drive was built in 1970 by Gant Shirtmakers on land that was reclaimed from New Haven Harbor. It was described by the late Elizabeth Mills Brown in her book “New Haven: A Guide to Architecture and Urban Design” as “landscaped, well-groomed and of inexpensive construction — the model modern, suburban factory.”

But the Gant factory closed just nine years later and the Register (as well as the former New Haven Journal-Courier) moved there from its longtime location at Orange and Audubon streets in 1981.

It was perfect for the Register at the time, because the publishers had planned to buy new presses and build an addition to house them that would have made Audubon Street a dead end. That plan angered the neighbors.

The Sargent Drive plant fit the newspaper well: executive offices in the front, the high rear section for the presses and the vast middle for the rest. The only drawback was its location by Interstate 95: good for visibility, not so good for visitors. Over time, though, the 200,000-square-foot plant has become far too large for the Register. Once it’s sold, the paper will move to a new location back downtown.

Before that, however, the arts community will bring the empty spaces to life for a weekend.

“This organization is such an important part of the arts community and we’re excited to be part of it this year,” said Connecticut Group Editor Matt DeRienzo. As the Register plans for its 200th anniversary celebration later this year, DeRienzo said it’s a great opportunity “to show off the space that has birthed so many editions of our newspaper over the past 30 years.”

If you're interested in exhibiting during City-Wide Open Studios' Alternative Space weekend, contact C.J. Randall at

Friday, August 17, 2012

Followup: We have no shortage of names for our news van

By Ed Stannard, Community Engagement Editor

Wow! Our new news van certainly doesn’t lack for potential names.

So far, 21 of you have suggested more than three dozen names for the mobile news van we’ll be using to improve our news and sports coverage and to make it easier to connect with you, our readers.

Many of you were thinking along the same lines: Reggie (a nickname for Register) was a popular pick. Bill Day pointed out that Reggie harks back to Reggie Jackson, which in turn conjures up the Jackson Newspapers, the company that once owned us. Others who suggested Reggie were Mike Bilischko, who added “the News Van that can,” Julie Corrone, Joyce Bondos

Reggie? Rolling Register? Happenings? What name do you think would be best.
Another popular choice was a play on the word Rover: The Register Rover, the Roving Register, Register’s Roving Reporter. Adam Debernardi, Sheila Spera, Linda Leo and Melanie Petro were among those who wanted us to go roving. They may have gotten the idea from TC Rover, the Pioneer Press’ van that covers the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

There were several that had a casual air about them: "out and about newsvan" by Audrey McClure, Rolling Register and Register on the Move by Sally Hopkins, The Register’s News Cruise by Jane Snaider. Someone who didn’t leave their name offered Cruisin’ Newsroom. That last suggester also offered Special Delivery and Rolling Papers, adding “I’m guessing you're not going to use this one.” Yeah, you’re probably right about that.

The idea of speed and movement inspired Linda Krausz (Register Expressway, Register Bypass, Register on the Move), Ana Nieves-Winn (News on the Go!!) and Pam Landry (Register Dream Ride Express, Register Newsline Express, Register News to Go).

Marcia Kravitt thought Happenings was snappy, and Anita Bennett came up with Now.Here.Reporting, based on our initials, NHR.

We’ve got a lot to ponder, so keep the names coming. Maybe yours will be our choice!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Help us name the Register's new mobile news van

By Ed Stannard, Community Engagement Editor

We’re about to go on a roll at the Register.

Plans are under way for us to outfit a van as a mobile newsroom, which we can bring to breaking news events, football games, town fairs, anywhere. And we need a name for our rolling force of nature.

The van will have wifi, tables and chairs, maybe a coffee pot. Everything a roving journalist needs. You’ll be able to join us under the awning to talk to me or one of our reporters about how the Register is doing in covering your community, to get help setting up your own blog or to share a story idea.

The Register's mobile newsroom will be outfitted with wifi and a generator.
Of course, our reporters and photographers are out in the community every day. Certainly you’ve seen them if you go to a Town Council meeting or a ball game.

But we haven’t had a good way for you to sit down with us, to talk about how you think we’ve done, what you’d like to see us covering.

Once our van gets rolling, we’ll be able to park, put out the awning and set up shop on the go.

They’ve done this at our sister paper, the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minn.. They call their van TC Rover. You can see photos of the van and its team at the Minnesota Vikings training camp in Mankato.

We’ll be outfitting the van in the next month, but to really get moving, we need a snappy name. Register on the Road? (Too much like Jack Kerouac.) Register Roadshow? Vincent? Then again, you probably have a better idea. Let us know! Give us a name … or five. Send your nominations—no limit—to, or post them in the comments section below.

And we’ll see you on the road soon.


Friday, August 10, 2012

New blogs: Moe the camera-toting dog, and a Voice for Victims

By Ed Stannard, Community Engagement Editor

Have you seen Moe, the dog with the camera on his back? He’s the star of photographer Melanie Stengel’s new blog, Ruff Cuts.

Melanie has recruited Moe, her Basenji mix housemate, as collaborator and camera-pooch. Their “Tales of Greater New Haven” seen from a dog’s-eye view, is just one of the new blogs launched by New Haven Register staffers recently.

The blogs are pretty diverse. Moe, webcam attached to his back, will portray the New Haven area’s world of dogs “and maybe a few cats,” according to Stengel.
Jesse Haight, a waitress at The Place in Guilford, takes a photo of Moe, who is is also filming her. (Melanie Stengel, New Haven Register)

Another new blog is much more serious in tone.

Michelle Tuccitto Sullo, the Register’s investigations editor, has launched A Voice for Victims, which offers support and resources to those who have been victimized by crime or in some other way. Michelle, who recently reported about how convicts may apply for pardons without the knowledge of their victims, also runs the NHR Investigations blog.

There have been other blogs launched recently by our staff. There’s New Haven Eats by multimedia journalist Mara Lavitt, which focuses in pictures, video and text on a different city restaurant each week. East Haven and Branford reporter Jennifer Swift also recently started a blog, The East Haven & Branford Notebook, intended to increase conversation about the issues and events in those two shoreline towns.

Our staff-produced blogs, along with the dozens in our Community Media Lab, total more than 100 on subjects ranging from sports to family issues to politics. You can find them at

If you have a blog you’d like to include in our media lab, or if you’d like to start one on a topic you’re passionate about, let me know. Email me at or call me at 203-789-5743.

And, as Stengel says in her introductory Ruff Cuts video, “If you want a camera dog with his paw on the pulse of the pet community, just say Moe.”


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

University of New Haven student to blog from Republication convention

WEST HAVEN – Simone E. Quartey is a registered Democrat and grew up in a liberal family. The University of New Haven junior, however, will be spending the last two weeks of August in Tampa, Fla., attending the Republican National Convention.

Simone Quartey's blog will be published at
A political science major from  Highland Mills, N.Y., Quartey was selected for a UNH scholarship to attend the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, an independent, nonprofit organization serving hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States and other countries by providing selected students challenging opportunities to work and learn in Washington, D.C., for academic credit.

She will participate in a two-week course examining the role of national political conventions in the process of nominating and electing a party’s candidates for president and vice president for the United States.

The Washington Center program provides students not only with seminars but also places them in volunteer fieldwork positions with the party, convention committee, host committee, media and others.

The Republican National Convention takes place from Aug. 27-30. Quartey had her choice of going either to the GOP convention or to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Sept. 3-6.

“I’ve been around progressive politics all my life and now I wanted to be involved with something new,” she says. “I think the Democratic convention is just going to be a formality naming the incumbent. When I chose the Republican convention, I thought it might be fractious but even though there is a preferred candidate, I think it will be interesting. I’m thrilled to be going.”

While she is there, Quartey will be blogging about her observations and the New Haven Register will link to her blog.

Quartey says she has never worked for a candidate but has avidly watched conventions and follows election news.  She hopes to eventually become an attorney and perhaps become a political consultant.

“I don’t really want to run for office myself,” Quartey says. “But I’d like to cultivate and tutor people who are talented and have solution-based goals.”

Quartey, who is working closely with Gary Fetzer, a lecturer in political science at UNH, is receiving support to take part in the program from Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. Additional funding came from a stipend given to President Steven H. Kaplan when he received the William M. Burke Presidential Award for Experiential Education by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) earlier this year.

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