Tribute To Lisa Chedekel, An Extraordinary Journalist

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Lisa Chedekel was a treasure who found me. We launched the Conn. Health I-Team in 2010 after working together for over 30 years, first at the New Haven Register and later at the Hartford Courant.

Today she leaves a rich and powerful legacy that touched so many of us in Connecticut. That legacy includes all the aspects of what a journalist is. Her facts—often unearthed by relentless determination—were always spot on.

To Lisa, the writing was as important as the facts: She would not rest until her words were not only coherent, but also lyrical.

Beyond all of that, there was her unending curiosity.

When she got in her mind to write a story about military suicides—long before much larger news organizations did – she persuaded the Hartford Courant to send her all over the country with fellow reporter Matthew Kauffman to develop the first military suicide database.

At C-HIT, Lisa’s in-depth reporting of systemic problems in the health care industry has been a force of change. She saw our journalism as a way to illuminate the plight of people who struggled to get access to health care. Her work put our tiny nonprofit website—C-HIT—on the map in Connecticut.

Over her 30-years-plus journalism career, Lisa was honored with numerous awards. She was a member of the Hartford Courant’s reporting team that won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. She also won the 2006 George Polk Award for military reporting, the 2007 Worth Bingham Prize for investigative reporting, and the 2007 Selden Ring Award for investigative reporting, among others.

At C-HIT she received a 2017 Publick Occurrences award for her reporting on the story “Desperate Choices: Trading Custody for Care,” two special citations from the Association of Health Care Journalists for her work on the state’s practices of disciplining doctors and fees paid to high-prescribing doctors, and six awards from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists for her investigative work. Lisa and I were honored by the CT Women’s Hall of Fame in 2016 for C-HIT’s coverage of women’s health.

The awards are a reflection of her work, her incredible talent, and her undiminished desire to uncover truths.

She was kind, generous with her time and listened to my every whim.

She relished coaching at our summer high school journalism camps and later became a mentor to many of our ‘camp graduates.’

To her family, whom she adored—her wife, Isabel, and twins, Bernard and Evelyn, aunts and cousins—I extend my heartfelt sympathies.

My heart and the hearts of so many colleagues and friends are broken over this loss.

Knowing and working with Lisa made me a better journalist—and a better person.

I’m lucky she found me.





23 thoughts on “Tribute To Lisa Chedekel, An Extraordinary Journalist

  1. I am shocked. Lisa came to my home in Okla. in 2006 to take to me about the death of my son Jeffrey in Iraq. She treated me great and always had time to listen to me. I am so sorry to hear this.

  2. Thank you, Lynne and C-HIT. I knew Lisa only through her writing and reporting. She comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable.

  3. Beautiful tribute, Lynne. I’m so sorry for your terrible loss, which is a loss to journalism as well.

  4. Lynne, I just learned of this from your post. My condolences to you, her family and friends. I knew when she started at the Register that she was a superstar. I was glad to reconnect with her on social media after all these years. This is such tragic news. She was way too young and had many years of important work ahead of her.

  5. Beautifully said, Lynne. This is a sad moment for any of us lucky enough to have known and worked with Lisa, but it must be especially difficult for you, which makes this tribute all the more poignant.

    Sending heartfelt condolences. She was truly one of a kind. I think we should start a scholarship in her name.

  6. An incalculable loss for your fine publication, her colleagues and all of us who care about truth, the hidden stories, and good writing.

  7. She loved working with you, Lynne, and she was so devoted to helping young people see themselves as journalists.

  8. Thank you for this beautiful tribute, Lynne. Lisa was the best of the best, and irreplaceable. It was a privilege to know her.

  9. Lynne, what a lovely tribute to a fine journalist and a wonderful woman. I’m sorry for your loss and appreciate the legacy she leaves.

  10. I worked with Lisa at the New Haven Register from 1984-88. I had such respect for her — she was hard-working and set high standards that she always lived up to. Her life was far too short. My heart goes out to her family and friends. May her memory be for a blessing.

  11. Thank you for the lovely tribute to Lisa.

    Lisa’s wonderful mom, Evie, was the younger sister of my late husband Mark Laurence Waterman’s mom. Lisa was Mark’s favorite cousin. Mark died of osteosarcoma at the age of 34, 34 years ago. I still have all the cards and letters Lisa wrote him the year and 9 months he was sick.

    God Bless Lisa, Aunt Evie, Mark and all who knew and loved them.

    Maurene Waterman Bencal

  12. What a beautiful tribute. I am so sorry for your loss as well as for the loss to journalism and the public.

  13. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful soul. One of the best journalists I have ever been blessed to know.
    My heart hurts for her family, and for another incredible voice now silent.
    God speed, Lisa.

  14. Lynne: I know you and Lisa went to do great work at Courant and C-Hit but when I heard this shocking news immediately thought back to our younger days together at Register where we all cut our teeth as reporters. I was always in awe of Lisa’s talents – such a great writer but a nicer person.

  15. Lisa, was a great reporter and a nicer person. I lost tract of her in the last year or so. We develop some good lead story together during our younger years when she was at the Register. I can say that she was truly my friend. May her life be a blessing to all that cross her path.
    I pray that her family find peace in knowing that many people respected her style of writing. Rest in peace my friend.

  16. My heart goes out to you Lynne, and to Lisa’s family and friends. I was proud to work with you and her in C- HIT’s early days and see how your joint vision evolved and thrived. I’m grateful for the chance to meet and work with Lisa. Peace and comfort to all those she leaves behind.

  17. Beautiful tribute Lynne ! I didn’t’t know Lisa well, but I always admired her groundbreaking, terrific work and her unassuming, humble approach. I always wished I knew her better ! It was such a shock last week to learn that she was so sick and so close to death.. I know you two were incredibly close and have been thinking of you and all her close friends and family. It’s such a tragic loss of someone who was so clearly in her prime … My heart goes out to all of you .., with sympathy and love.

  18. I am so very sorry to hear about Lisa. She was one of the most generous and helpful people I met, especially as I was starting out in the non-profit journalism world. She was a thoughtful, kind journalist. I am so very sorry for her family.

  19. When I worked with Lisa at the Register, her talent was obvious and her good nature brought light to the newsroom.

  20. Warren, This is a beautiful tribute to an extraordinary reporter and person. I also read what you wrote on Lisa’s Legacy site….about who knows how many soldier’s lives she saved. It says so much about Lisa that you feel this way about her and that you were willing to talk with her about your son’s death in Iraq for her investigative series in the Courant. Lisa was a close friend and beloved colleague at BU and I have the honor, and privilege, of writing her “in memoriam” for the School of Public Health. The faculty loved and admired and respected Lisa. She is irreplaceable. I hope it’s okay with you if I quote this posting. Sara (my email, should you care to respond, is