Burke: Town the better because of Times reporter

By Vin Burke

The Darien Times and local journalism is losing one of the most honored, most respected investigative reporters the town of Darien has seen in a very long time.

He’s moving on to greener pastures, as well he must after earning a wall full of investigative awards while covering the news in Darien. We are all the better for his time here.

Good investigative reporters are hard to find, harder to keep in small markets. DesRoches thrived because ownership backed him and believed in his reporting. They are to be commended for standing by him while some in town were calling for his head. Ownership never wavered, nor did the parents of special education kids who knew their sons, their daughters were receiving less than federal laws demanded. DesRoches was a bulldog.

He spent days, hours, cultivating sources; parents took a risk and shared their stories with him. He never let them or us down. He spent hours digesting information, made himself knowledgeable about the law and what it meant to our town. What he got in return for his stories was classic push-back: the stories are “killing the town,” “fire him,” “Find some ‘real news.’” The pushback was real. It was concerted. It still is! Bottom line: the Hersam Acorn organization stood by him, and their stories, as they have in the past whenever local loud-mouthed pols tried to silent reporters or editors.

Truth prevailed. So did the backbones of the Hersam Acorn organization. I salute them for their steadfastness and their continued support for quality journalism in all the towns of Fairfield County where they have newspapers.

Just one other item of interest. No reporter ever works alone. No one. Susan Shultz, Josh Fisher and the Hersam family never wavered.

Neither should we.

I thank David DesRoches for his quality reporting, and I thank the Hersam family for standing by him when the dilettantes tried to back their reporters off the story.

Thank you, David. All the best — to one hell of a reporter.

Editors note: the author of this letter is a former vice president of news for the ABC owned & operated TV stations and a multi-award winning investigative reporter and a member of the founding advisory board of this newspaper. 

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