Matt DeRienzo has worked in local journalism for more than 25 years, as a reporter, editor, publisher, teacher, regional and corporate news director, and journalism nonprofit executive director. He writes a monthly column about the media industry for Editor & Publisher magazine.
As vice president of news and digital content at Hearst Connecticut, his newsrooms produced a nationwide investigation into sexual abuse connected to Boys & Girls Clubs in the summer of 2019, and reporting that proved police and city hall corruption and absentee ballot fraud in the city of Bridgeport. He oversaw the launch of six daily newspapers’ first digital subscription program, while growing overall audience and traffic at the same time.
As the first full-time executive director of LION Publishers, he helped establish a nonprofit organization supporting hundreds of local independent online news organizations across the country. He worked with major foundations and big tech platforms, including Facebook, to raise money for the organization and develop programming to train, mentor and support its members.
Previously, 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. He also 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.
Matt is a full-time single dad who lives in Litchfield, Connecticut, with his two kids, Marley, 12, and Cash, 10.
He has taught journalism at Quinnipiac University and the University of New Haven, and serves on the board of directors of the Susan B. Anthony Project, an agency advocating for and serving victims of domestic and sexual violence in Northwest Connecticut. He is a former longtime board member of the United Way of Northwest Connecticut, and 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.