Facebook page fuels investigative editor’s work on missing persons

Police indifference and incompetence in the handling of adult missing persons cases was the first major topic Michelle Tuccitto Sullo tackled after she was named to the new position of investigative editor at the New Haven Register in December.

Among the tools she used in reporting the story was to set up a “Missing in Connecticut” Facebook page.

At first, it was used just to post links to the stories Michelle was writing. But there is a whole community of family and friends of missing persons who organize themselves through social media and the web, and they almost literally took over the page. Since then, it has been dominated by family members exchanging information and links with each other. It’s been a virtual support group. And it’s connected Michelle with new sources and new leads in pursuing the topic.

And Michelle’s reporting is starting to pay off. On February 15, the Connecticut State Police announced the formation of a special unit dedicated to missing persons cases.

About mattderienzo

Matt DeRienzo has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter, editor, publisher and corporate editorial director and has been recognized nationally for leading newsroom innovation. Most recently, he served as group editor of Digital First Media's publications in Connecticut, including the New Haven Register, Middletown Press, Register Citizen and Connecticut Magazine, and Northeast regional editor for Digital First Media. Previously, he served as publisher of The Register Citizen, Middletown Press and a group of weeklies in Northwest Connecticut, and before that was corporate director of news for small dailies and non-daily publications for the former Journal Register Company. In early 2011, The Register Citizen was named one of Editor & Publisher magazine's "10 Newspapers That Do It Right," and DeRienzo was named to its annual "25 Under 35" list of leaders in the newspaper industry. In the fall of 2011, The Register Citizen was awarded the Associated Press Managing Editors Innovator of the Year Award in recognition of The Register Citizen Newsroom Cafe, an "open newsroom" launched in Torrington, Connecticut, in December 2010. He led a team of more than 100 journalists in covering the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in late 2012 and 2013, and has been honored for his editorial writing and leadership of public service and investigative reporting. In 2014, his efforts at the New Haven Register were recognized with the APME's and ASNE's Robert C. McGruder Award for Leadership in Newsroom Diversity. DeRienzo is a longtime board member of the United Way of Northwest Connecticut, and has served as co-chairman of the United Way's annual fundraising campaign in 2009 and again in 2011. In 2011, he received the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award.
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