…welcome to my portfolio…


This is where my stuff lives — as long as I pay my WordPress bill! I’m the director of community programming at Quinnipiac University, where I run the podcast program and host several podcasts, including Baffled with David DesRoches, a podcast taking a critical look at modern journalism practices (it was a finalist for the People’s Choice Podcast Award, alongside The Problem with Jon Stewart). I have also hosted Isolated Together, about life during the lockdowns, and Select+CT in partnership with the University of Connecticut, about the digital media landscape in the Nutmeg State. I’m also an adjunct professor for both the journalism and film departments at Quinnipiac, where I teach Audio Storytelling, Advanced Podcasting, and Projects in Audio Production.

Here are links to a few audio projects I reported and produced:

  1. Poison Lurking in Schools: An episode about PCBs for the show Reveal
  2. Making Sense: Deaf Children and the Choices Their Parents Face
  3. America Decoded: Forecasting Abuse. A Sundance Institute-funded podcast pilot

Prior to entering academia, I spent a decade in journalism, and for half of that time I worked as an education reporter for WNPR, the NPR member station in Hartford, Conn. I also worked for a few newspapers, including The Darien Times.

Stories are available on the main menu above. Feel free to visit me on LinkedIn, and connect with me on Twitter and Instagram. You can also visit The Ferguson Files, an archive of the freelance work I did in Ferguson, Missouri after Michael Brown was killed by a police officer.

If you’d like to send me news tips, my email address is davidoftherocks[at]gmail[dot]com


Contact me


Use the form below to contact me. You can also connect with me through LinkedIn and follow me on twitter @SavingEJ

Results of stories


Not all stories leads to something actually happening. But sometimes, with a bit of luck, lawmakers or enforcement authorities act on what you report, or people take action. That’s a good feeling, and here are two examples of that:

  1. 2016: Stories about PCBs in public schools for WNPR and for Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting led to a Congressional investigation headed by Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey, and Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy called on the EPA to improve enforcement and oversight.
  2. 2013-17: Special education coverage led to numerous resignations, program restructuring, a forensic audit that found systemic accounting problems that hinted of fraud. Afterwards, Connecticut lawmakers created the MORE Commission, and one of its goals was to examine special education across the state. A MORE Commission audit performed by the state auditor found that what happened in Darien could be happening at schools across the state.

About me

A native of central Virginia, my special education reporting in Darien, Connecticut, has been cited as one of the most comprehensive explorations of disability rights among children in the Unites States.

Special education attorney Pete Wright said: “Since passage of the law in 1975, there has been no other reporter or journalist who has written so extensively about special education issues with such a positive impact as David DesRoches. Second to David is perhaps Brent Staples, editorial board of The New York Times.”

Before journalism, I ran a flyer distribution company, started a non-profit media organization in Ethiopia, and taught songwriting to people with physical and intellectual disabilities. He often contributes to journalism seminars focused on education, investigations and First Amendment issues. When not pestering public officials, I thoroughly enjoy pestering friends at craft beer pubs, traveling to unpopular locations, exploring nature and playing music.


Special Recognition:
1. Two-time “Reporter of the Year” by the New England Newspaper and Press Association (NENPA), 2013 and 2014
2. STAR Inc. Media Award, presented by STAR Inc., Lighting the Way, 2013
3. “40 Under 40”, by Connecticut Magazine, 2015.

First Place Awards:
1. Investigative Reporting,  NENPA 2015
2. Right-to-Know, NENPA 2015
3. Investigative Reporting, Education Writers Association, 2014
4. Right-to-Know, NENPA 2014
5. Education Reporting, NENPA 2014
6. Government Writing, Virginia Press Association (VPA) 2009

Second Place Awards:
1. Education Reporting, NENPA 2015
2. History Writing, NENPA 2015
3. Human Interest Feature Story, NENPA 2015
4. Investigative Reporting, NENPA 2014
5. General News Writing (with Susan Shultz), NENPA 2014

Third Place Awards:
1. Personality Profile, NENPA 2014
2. Crime & Courts Reporting, NENPA 2014
3. Crime & Courts Reporting, NENPA 2013
4. General News Writing, VPA 2009

Additional Honors:
1. Second Place (staff award) for Special Section, NENPA 2012
2. Third Place (staff award) for Print/Online Converage, NENPA 2012

Alleged ringleader of special ed disaster retires early

After 10 years in Darien, Judith Pandolfo has retired from Darien Schools.

Pandolfo previously served as assistant superintendent, overseeing the elementary schools. However, a recent reorganization of district administration left her without a job. In a press release sent late Wednesday morning, Interim Superintendent Lynne Pierson announced Pandolfo’s decision to resign a year earlier than expected.
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