WNPR

David DesRoches

Reporter

David covers education and related topics for WNPR, and also teaches journalism and media literacy to high school students.

His coverage of systemic civil rights violations by a public school system against students with disabilities landed him an Education Writers Association award for investigative reporting in 2013, which was soon followed by state legislation to address some of the flaws he exposed. He was also twice named Reporter of the Year for New England’s six-state region, in 2013 and 2014. In total, he’s received 20 national, regional and state awards since his reporting career began in 2009. 

In addition to education coverage, he’s reported on prosecutorial misconduct during a hate crime trial; the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting-death in Ferguson, MO; a federally-funded pesticide program that put waterways at risk of contamination; the dangers of lightly-regulated use of biosolids on farmland; and he’s reported extensively on the presence of toxic PCBs in the nation’s aging public schools, which led to an investigation and calls for stronger oversight by U.S. senators. His work has appeared on NPR, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, and numerous local and regional newspapers. 

David was first published at 8 years old for a story he wrote about the importance of air bags. He got his first taste of journalism as a columnist for the George Street Observer while attending the College of Charleston, where he covered the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He began his career with the Central Virginian newspaper, before moving to Connecticut where he worked for the Darien Times prior to transitioning to public radio at WNPR.

Before journalism, David ran a flyer distribution company, started a non-profit media organization in Ethiopia, and taught songwriting to people with physical and intellectual disabilities. He believes in the Freedom of Information Act, the First Amendment, transparency, accountability, and journalism as a public service.  

Ways to Connect

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

High school English class is usually a time to read books and write essays. If you draw pictures, you might get into trouble. But not in James Shivers’s English class at CREC Public Safety Academy in Enfield -- he actually asks his students to draw.

U.S. Navy

The community of Watertown, Connecticut is mourning the loss of Tan Huynh, who was among seven U.S. Navy sailors who died when their destroyer collided with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan on Saturday. 

Jacqueline Rabe-Thomas/CT Mirror

A judge has temporarily halted the state’s plan to allow more minority students into Hartford-area magnet schools. The decision came after a three-day court hearing in the ongoing Sheff vs. O’Neill case.

Jacqueline Rabe-Thomas/CT Mirror

Martha Stone is a lawyer for the plaintiffs in the Sheff v. O'Neill case, which settled over 20 years ago. She said the state's current position threatens to harm Hartford students. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The long-running Sheff vs. O’Neill school desegregation case heads back to court this week. 

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