Middletown broadcaster Don DeCesare, a past Chair of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association and a journalist for more than four decades, has been honored with a prestigious award from the Connecticut pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (CTSPJ). CTSPJ presented DeCesare and James H. Smith, a retired journalist of 42 years who is President of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information, with its Helen M. Loy Freedom of Information Award at the organization’s recent annual awards dinner.
DeCesare is President and General Manager of WMRD-AM in Middletown and WLIS-AM in Old Saybrook. He served as the Co-Chair of the Connecticut Task Force on Victim Privacy and the Public’s Right to Know which presented its report to the legislature in December 2013. During his lengthy career, DeCesare spent many years at CBS Broadcasting in New York City, where he went from editing radio broadcasts to overseeing television news coverage.
In announcing the presentation of the award to the two men, CTSPJ said,
“DeCesare and Smith, as members of the Task Force on Victim Privacy and the Public’s Right to Know, each fought for more access to crime scene photos after the legislature passed a law exempting the records from public release. DeCesare and Smith disagreed about the best strategy to try to change the law, which was passed – behind closed doors – in response to the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Yet both men spent dozens of hours of their personal time working to change the law to allow the public to again have access to crime scene photos. For that tireless effort, CTSPJ thanks DeCesare and Smith.”
“Don DeCesare is a highly respected member of
Connecticut’s broadcasting industry, both on air as a reporter/anchor and
behind the scenes as a station manager,” explains Klarn DePalma, Chair of the
Connecticut Broadcasters Association and the President and General
Manager of WFSB-TV 3 Hartford, Conn. "Don’s
ongoing role as a member of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association Board of
Directors underscores his commitment and dedication to being an agent of change
in the broadcasting industry. His responsibilities in co-chairing the
State’s Task Force on Victim Privacy and the Public’s Right to Know were challenging and important to all journalists – print, electronic and
on-line alike. This recognition is the latest milestone in Don’s impressive
career as a journalist who champions open communication and freedom of the