Earlier this year, WestportNow celebrated its 15th anniversary.
Since 2003 the site has provided readers with political news, police reports, coverage of community events like library talks and fundraisers, obituaries, photos of sunrises and sunsets, and the immensely popular “Teardown of the Day.”
The founder, editor and publisher is Gordon Joseloff. He gave up his editor’s post between 2005 and 2013 — that’s when he served 2 terms as the town’s 1st selectman — but he’s been back at the helm ever since.
Gordon Joseloff (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)
Joseloff’s journalistic chops are real. He worked for UPI. Then, during 16 years at CBS News, he rose from a writer for Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather to correspondent, senior producer and bureau chief in New York, Moscow and Tokyo.
Joseloff covered the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the downing of Korean Air Lines flight 007, the assassination of India Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (for which he won an Emmy Award in 1984), the Bhopal gas leak, and the overthrow of Philippines President Fernando Marcos.
And he’s a Westport native. His family’s roots run deep: They owned downtown property including the Fine Arts Theater, a very popular spot for over 8 decades. (Today it’s Restoration Hardware.)
Joseloff was a teenage reporter for the Westport Town Crier, and helped create the predecessor of Staples’ WWPT radio station, broadcasting at Compo Beach.
Prior to running for first selectman, Joseloff served 14 years on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) — 10 of them as moderator.
A member of Westport Rotary and an honorary member of the Westport Historical Society advisory council, Joseloff is also a volunteer firefighter, and a former Emergency Medical Technician.
Congratulations on 15 years to WestportNow — and thanks to Gordon Joseloff, its founder, guiding light, and this week’s Unsung Hero.
As justice/homeland security correspondent for CBS News, Jeff Pegues has special insight into the police/community relations crisis that’s dominated American headlines for the past couple of years.
As an African American man, he’s got a different — but very important — perspective too.
Which is why the 1988 Staples High School graduate’s new book — Black and Blue: Inside the Divide Between the Police and Black America — is such a crucial addition to this national debate.
Earlier this week — in the midst of tracking down sources for the still-developing Russian-presidential-campaign-hacking story — Pegues talked about his project. We had not spoken for 3 decades — I was his youth soccer coach, before he became a Staples football star, earned a scholarship to Miami University in Ohio and rose through the broadcast ranks to WABC-TV news, then 3 years ago CBS national news — but he was eager to chat.
Jerff Pegues, reporting for CBS News.
His parents grew up in the Deep South — Montgomery and Birmingham — during the heart of the civil rights movement. He’s related on his mother’s side to Rosa Parks.
During his 25 years in the news business, Pegues worked on many law enforcement stories. He’s developed strong relationships with police officers, commanders and federal investigators.
As he covered a string of police shootings – from Ferguson through Tulsa, Charlotte and more — he realized he was in a unique position.
“It’s important to dispel myths, and get all sides of the story in one place,” Pegues says.
“With Twitter, Facebook and other social media, people get information from sources they agree with. They reinforce their opinion. They don’t question it.”
He admits, “I’m not Shakespeare. But I know how to interview people, and get honest answers. That way everyone can see the issues, study them and start to solve problems.”
Speaking with hundreds of subjects — officers, police chiefs and union leaders, community activists, even FBI director (and fellow former Westporter) James Comey — Pegues offers an unbiased view from both sides of the cop-community divide.
Police speak about the pressure to enforce laws, involve themselves in social issues and work in neighborhoods that have been neglected for years. Black citizens talk about confrontations that have happened for decades; finally, they say, there is proof that they are being singled out, harassed, even killed.
A police chief remarks that officers feel there are targets on their backs. “I thought, ‘a lot of African Americans feel the same way,'” Pegues says. “But they can’t take that ‘uniform’ off.
“I want the truth out there,” he adds. “Folks in the black community need to understand stop-and-frisk. Cops need to talk about the disrespect they feel in some communities, as they try to help. There are good people on both sides.”
However, he adds, despite similar concerns about issues, “in this politically charged atmosphere, there’s not a lot of listening.”
Pegues plays it right down the middle. “I have friends and family on both sides,” he says.
Writing about a subject with new headlines nearly every week — though the book will not be published until spring — is not easy. For example, Pegues says, earlier this week the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police apologized for historic mistreatment of minorities by police. That came too late to include in Black and Blue.
But stories like those will bring readers to his book. Once there, Pegues’ clear, coherent and constructive approach to cop/community relations will draw them in.
And — whether they are police officers, black activists or any other American — Jeff Pegues’ book will get us all thinking.
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Paige Kendig was hired 4 days after she applied to the CBS News page program.
That’s a company record. And it had nothing to do with the fact that Paige was a page.
The 2000 Staples High School grad has been with CBS News ever since.
She started as “The Early Show” weatherman (and Weston resident) David Price‘s assistant. Her tasks ranged from getting his coffee and walking his dog, to traveling around the world with him and learning to be a producer.
Paige was always a quick study.
Paige Kendig, at the 2008 presidential inauguration.
“I spent the summer before sophomore year in high school in Kenya,” the former ski team member, diver, lacrosse player and Peer Advisor says. “That piqued my interest in the world. But I was too young to grasp everything.”
At Colgate she double majored in peace and conflict studies, and anthropology. Her thesis was on Rwandan genocide.
Though David Price was not a hard-hitting journalist, “I asked the producers questions like a 3-year-old,” Paige recalls. “They took me under their wing, and taught me.”
During Katrina, Paige sat in a small room for hours, watching feeds. She wanted to be ready for the next hurricane.
Four years ago, she was promoted to producer. Working with “Early Show” anchor Harry Smith, Paige started with light stories. But she moved on to the Gulf oil spill, presidential debates and the Haiti earthquake.
Every day is different. There are stories to plan, camera crews to assign, interviews to arrange and conduct, footage to log, scripts to write.
Paige Kendig is “CBS This Morning” cultural correspondent Wynton Marsalis’ producer. She touches up his makeup, as Paul Simon — yes, that Paul Simon — looks on.
Last January, the “Early Show” morphed into “CBS This Morning.” It was envisioned as more news-oriented than other morning offerings. Paige now works with co-anchor Charlie Rose.
And “work” is the right word.
One Saturday, the staff decided to interview King Abdullah II of Jordan. By Thursday, Paige was on a plane to the Mideast.
She’d had just 4 days to devise a 100-page document envisioning the entire trip. Who else would be interviewed? Where? She also helped create 80 or so questions for the king.
Paige Kendig in Iraq.
How does Paige know what to do?
“I don’t!” she laughs. “A lot of this you make up as you go along.”
Highlights of her career include 2 trips to Iraq. “I have such huge respect for the military,” she says. “It was incredible meeting people my age, who dedicate their lives to this.”
Brad Pitt’s interview was exciting. But nothing compares to her “dream story”: a sit-down with President Obama in the White House.
“That was amazing,” Paige says. “It was so rewarding. Producing a presidential interview had been my goal, and there I was.”
Being a morning show producer means insane, unpredictable hours — and lots of them.
President Obama posed with Paige Kendig, and her CBS crew, following this summer’s interview. (Official White House Photo/Pete Souza)
“Your personal life can suffer,” Paige notes. “But I’m still young. I can hop on a plane just like that.”
Being young, she’s still got plenty of goals. Being a “60 Minutes” producer would be great. Right now, though, Paige is loving “CBS This Morning,” and taking each show one day at a time.
One action-packed, unpredictable, newsworthy day at a time.
(One of Paige’s projects is “Note to Self” — a series in which famous people write letters to their “younger” selves. Click here for a recent clip that kept Paige working until 3 a.m.)
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