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.

…welcome to my portfolio…

Featured

This is where my stuff lives (at least as long as I pay my bill to WordPress). I work as an education reporter for WNPR public radio in Hartford, Connecticut. As part of this position, I also teach journalism and media literacy to high school students.

Stories are available on the main menu above. Feel free to visit me on LinkedIn, or check out my past work with The Darien Times newspaper. You can also scope The Ferguson Files, which is an archive of the work I did in Ferguson, Missouri, soon after a police officer shot-to-death an unarmed teenager.

If you’d like to send me news tips, or an encrypted message using PGP, my email address is davidoftherocks[at]gmail[dot]com

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.

Awards

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.
Continue reading