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Exploring the Impact of Social Media on Local Politics


Posted 04/25/2013
Posted by David Isgur

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The Rell Center for Public Service at the University of Hartford will be presenting a program that will explore the impact of social media on politics, with an emphasis on CT politics.  The program will be held on Friday, April 26, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in the KF Room of the University’s Mortensen Library (located in the Harry Jack Gray Center).  Taking part in the discussion will be Mark Pazniokas, Capitol bureau chief for the CT Mirror.org; Christine Stuart, editor of CTNewsJunkie.com; and State Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R), who is currently serving her first term as representative for the 34th District. Nels Highberg, associate professor and chair of the University’s department of rhetoric and professional writing, will moderate the panel.

This will be the Rell Center’s fifth and final program for its inaugural year. Last fall, the Rell Center sponsored three programs: a panel discussion, “Where Do We Go From Here?” that focused on partisanship; the showing of the documentary, Patriocracy; and a panel discussion on religion and politics co-sponsored with the University’s Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies.  This spring, the Rell Center sponsored an informational panel for students on the issues on issues pertaining to the national budget.

Mark Pazniokas is the former state politics writer for the Hartford Courant and a former contributing writer for The New York Times. In the course of more than 25 years as a reporter, he has covered some of the most compelling stories in the state, including the impeachment inquiry and resignation of Governor John G. Rowland in 2004 and the nationally watched Senate race won by Joseph I. Lieberman as an Independent in 2006. He is a graduate of Boston University.

Christine Stuart became editor of CTNewsJunkie in early 2006 after nearly four years as a reporter at the Journal Inquirer newspaper in Manchester. At the JI, Stuart covered a variety of beats including East Hartford, the state's scandal-ridden trash authority, and a regional water commission, as well as other towns, police news, and politics. Prior to that, she covered education and transportation issues at the state Capitol for the Hartford Advocate. On a part-time basis, Stuart has worked as a summer youth reading and writing instructor for Our Piece of the Pie in Hartford.

Melissa Ziobron is a lifelong resident of the newly-formed 34th District (Colchester, East Hampton,  and East Haddam) and has an impressive record of community service. She serves on the legislature’s committees on Environment, Public Health and Appropriations. Most recently, Rep. Ziobron served as the first Economic Development Coordinator for the town of East Haddam. In this role she aided the start-up of new businesses, helped form the local business association, helped local businesses secure thousands of dollars in loans, and was a tireless advocate for all businesses in East Haddam.