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WSHU launches podcast chronicling 10 years since Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting

Josh Joseph

On Monday, Dec. 5, WSHU Public Radio, in media partnership with The Newtown Bee, launched an 11-part podcast series called Still Newtown, chronicling the life of the Newtown, Connecticut community a decade after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Insightfully reported and deeply researched, the podcast reveals a community’s strength and resilience since the tragic loss of 20 children and six educators. Outsiders have sought to tell the story of this tragedy. Still Newtown seeks to elevate local voices and allow the people of Newtown to tell their own stories.

WSHU General Manager Rima Dael said, “One of the most important tenets of WSHU’s work is to bear witness: to show proof that something exists and is true. We chose to tell this story because we wanted to give our community, our region and our country the most thoughtful, in-depth, sensitive exploration of the tragedy and its aftermath. We feel that the journey from trauma to resilience and eventually healing is a story that demands to be told, and which may help so many people.”

The podcast was created by veteran WSHU reporter Davis Dunavin, who covered the Sandy Hook shooting 10 years ago when he was the editor of Newtown Patch. The series will feature 11 episodes, each interwoven with interviews and first-hand accounts of Newtown residents including former Sandy Hook students who were present that day, grieving parents who lost their children, and faith leaders who helped guide their community.

“Our goal was to center the voices of the people affected by this tragedy,” said WSHU Senior Director of News and Education Terry Sheridan. “We knew the only way to tell this story right was to ask for the help and partnership of the local journalists who have told it for Newtowners. The Newtown Bee has given us invaluable advice, guidance and local perspective. Together, we created a thoughtful narrative to reflect on the town’s resilience over the past 10 years.”

Listen to the full podcast here.

A full list of the episode descriptions can be found below:

  • "In the Midst of That Morning": In the preamble to our series, two students and a mother remember the events of the tragedy ten years ago.
  • "Please Care About This": Two former Sandy Hook Elementary School students found new purpose in high school — as activists against gun violence.
  • The Isle of Skoo: A puppet show about a six-year-old lighthouse keeper allows a mother to honor her son’s memory — and help children deal with complex emotions.
  • Squeezing the Lemon: Teachers, therapists and mental health experts have found many ways to help children address their trauma over the last ten years.
  • Three Words: A Sandy Hook mother honored her son with a school program — used around the world — that teaches children to choose love.
  • "To Be Humble, To Be Kind": A Sandy Hook father and daughter embark on a shared musical journey — and make an important promise.
  • Not Defined by One Day: Newtowners celebrate their history, traditions and the spirit of kindness that makes this town special.
  • "What You Say Will Live Forever": How do you report a story like Sandy Hook or Robb Elementary? What role should journalists play? Including a sobering perspective from someone who covered both tragedies for local public radio stations.
  • "Tell All Your Friends That I Am Kind": A mother is honoring her daughter — who loved “all the animals,” from dogs to butterflies — with an animal sanctuary in Newtown.
  • How the Light Gets In: Many Newtowners turned to their faith after the tragedy. One faith leader became a prison chaplain to work on rehabilitation. Another postponed retirement to see the community through another few years.
  • Sacred Soil: In our final episode: how Newtown made its staggering number of gifts part of the permanent memorial to the tragedy.

All episodes are available for download and are accessible on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and all major streaming platforms. The series is supported in part by a grant from CT Humanities.

Born and raised in the Boston area, Janice spent the early part of her career managing the marketing communications efforts of entrepreneurial, high-tech companies in Massachusetts. After moving to Connecticut, she discovered WSHU and quickly became an avid listener. These days, she’s much happier communicating about public radio than tech widgets. She extends a big thank you to every listener who contributes…even a little.