Tag Archives: WestportNow

Remembering Gordon Joseloff

If they’re very lucky, people have a career they are good at, and love.

Gordon Joseloff had 3.

For more than 20 years, the Westport native was an award-winning journalist who reported from London, Moscow, Tokyo and other spots around the world, for United Press International and CBS News.

Gordon Joseloff

He served 2 terms as Westport’s first selectman (2005-2013). That was the culmination of his involvement in town affairs. Before that, he spent 14 years (7 terms) on the Representative Town Meeting. He became deputy moderator in his 2nd term, and was elected moderator the next term. His 10 years as RTM leader are matched by only one other person in history.

Joseloff was an integral part of many other organizations, including the Westport Historical Society and Westport Rotary. He was also a volunteer firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician.

Joseloff was also active in other community affairs, including serving as an honorary member of the advisory board of the Westport Historical Society, and a member of the Westport Rotary Club and the League of Women Voters of Westport.

Joseloff’s 3rd career — which both preceded and followed his service as 1st selectman — was as founder, editor and publisher of WestportNow. At its start in 2003, the platform was one of the nation’s first community news sites. It has won numerous journalism awards, and continues to inform and entertain thousands of readers.

Gordon Joseloff died this morning, 3 years after being diagnosed with a rare blood cancer. He was 75 years old.

For a full obituary, it is fitting to click here: WestportNow.

Gordon Joseloff (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

In May of 2018, “06880” cited Gordon Joseloff as Unsung Hero of the Week. I wrote:

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.

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.

Then-First Selectman Gordon Joseloff (right) praised Tommy Ghianuly, owner of Compo Center Barber Shop, at their 50th anniversary celebration.


“06880” Honored By Journalists

I don’t care much for writing awards*. So I’ve never submitted “06880” for any.

But Fred Cantor and Neil Brickley — longtime readers, and much-longertime friends and former Staples High School classmates — did.

Without my knowledge, they sent 3 stories to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Connecticut chapter Excellence in Journalism contest. All told, there were 842 entries, in 39 categories.

Last night — at the annual meeting in Berlin — one of those stories earned a 1st-place award. It was for “Reporting Series.”

The story — “This is ABC” — was a photo essay done with my sister, Susan Woog Wagner. It explored Westport’s great A Better Chance program, through the eyes of scholars, host families, resident directors, drivers, founders, tutors and others. (Click here for the first story in the series.)

Study time at Glendarcy House — the A Better Chance of Westport residence on North Avenue. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)

I’m proud and honored that Fred and Neil did that on my behalf. And excited to have won, for sure.

The one award is nothing compared to WestportNow. The local news site enters the contest every year, and picks up passels of honors. Last night founder/editor Gordon Joseloff, writer James Lomuscio and photographers Dave Matlow, Helen Klisser During and Anna-Liisa Nixon shared 6 first-place, 4 second-place and 4 third-place awards.

Other local winners included Justin Papp (1st place) and Sophie Vaughn (3rd place), both of the Westport News.

Local journalism is alive and well. The awards are nice — but serving Westporters is even better.

*Though the Pulitzer Prize is very impressive.

(For a full list of winners, and more information, click here.)

Dinnertime! (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)

Honoring A Post Road Hero

Yesterday’s Post Road car crash near Stop & Shop was harrowing.

It was also heroic.

As first reported by WestportNow in a compelling story, several people from Vautrin Auto Service rushed to help.

So did Aaron Tucker.

The 32-year-old  was on a bus from Bridgeport to Norwalk, for a job interview. The driver said he’d leave him there. But, Tucker told WestportNow, “I had to do what I had to do.”

He took off a new dress shirt, and used it as a tourniquet. He also turned off the ignition, preventing a possible fire.

Tucker gave up a lot by sacrificing his shirt — and his job interview.

Aaron Tucker (Photo courtesy of WestportNow.com)

WestportNow said that he lives in a Isaiah House in Bridgeport — a halfway facility — after spending 22 months in prison on a weapons charge. When he helped save the accident victim’s life, he had just $1.75 in his pocket. He also has a 21-month-old son.

“I’m determined to change my life,” he told WestportNow. “I just want to support my son and his mother,” Tucker said.

He added, “I’m looking for any kind of job –- construction worker, landscaper, restaurant worker. I’ll do a good job.”

WestportNow editor Gordon Joseloff got these quotes — and got to know Tucker — as Joseloff gave him a ride back to Bridgeport.

Tucker worried that he would be unable to vouch to his halfway house supervisors for missing the Norwalk job interview — or explain how he lost his new shirt.

When Joseloff explained to the supervisors what happened, one told Tucker, “you did God’s work.”

WestportNow posted that job offers or financial assistance could be sent to editor@westportnow.com, for forwarding to Tucker.

Today, town groups jumped in to help too.

Kami Naraghi Evans reports that contributions — money, clothes, toys for his Tucker’s son, whatever — can be dropped off starting tomorrow (Friday) evening at the Westport Arts Center (51 Riverside Avenue), and at the Christ & Holy Trinity Church office (Myrtle Avenue and Church Lane), from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

WestportNow reported today that Tucker is headed to the Trumbull Mall, to pick up job applications.

Let’s hope he puts “life saver” as one of his skills.

Deer Me!

Earlier today, WestportNow.com posted a very intriguing aerial photo:

Deer map

It’s an infrared radar survey of Westport’s deer population. Of course!

The 5-hour nighttime survey was taken March 10 by Vision Air Research of Boise, Idaho. According to WestportNow, 589 deer were found in 203 groups, ranging from “1-8 individuals.”

A few thoughts:

  • I did not know that deer were “individuals.”
  • If there is no turquoise dot near where I live, who is eating my bushes?
  • Why are deer only in Westport, and not Weston, Fairfield or Norwalk?