Charles Kochakian, the editorial voice of the New Haven Register for 36 years, is hanging up his pen-turned-keyboard.
Kochakian (at left in photo with Chamber prez Anthony Rescigno at the 2009 Smilow Cancer Hospital ribbon-cutting) will retire Friday as the daily newspaper’s editorial page editor. The company was eliminating his position.
Kochakian is 68 years old. He started working at the Register in 1976 as a general assignment reporter, then an investigative reporter. He took over the helm as editor of the paper’s conservative-leaning editorial page in 1986 and has served in that role ever since.
The elimination of his position comes amid a broader, ongoing reinvention of the Register in the digital age.
“I’m ready to retire. It’s been great,” Kochakian said Tuesday. “I appreciate the opportunity to have done [the job] as long as I have. The paper’s evolving. Obviously it’s going to continue to change. This is part of the change.” Kochakian said he believes that the 21st-century daily newspaper will have a “continuing need for strong editorials to shape public opinion and encourage people to act in the public’s interest.”
Register Editor Matt DeRienzo said an as-yet-unnamed board of existing editorial employees will write the paper’s editorials “on a rotating basis.”
“We’re still going to have an opinion page. We’re still going to write editorials,” DeRienzo said.
He called Kochakian a “voice of calm,” something “we need more than ever.”
“He’s had an incredible career. He’s someone the entire newsroom has looked up to and learned from,” DeRienzo said. “He has been a steady voice of reason on that editorial page. Even when you disagree with his conclusion, his editorials have been rooted in dispassionate, careful examination of facts.”
posted by: PH on January 22, 2013 4:54pm
A conservative editorial page in a liberal city. One of many reasons the Register was doomed to fail. The current iteration of the Register is so intolerable with its flashing banner ads and miserable layout that I can’t bear to read an article, even on those few occasions when they produce an article that might be worth reading. The Register might have a long history and a well-known name, but the Independent now puts it to shame.
posted by: Edward Francis on January 22, 2013 7:51pm
For over three decades Charles Kochakian has given the readers of the Register many editorials that were on target and then there are some that many, including myself, would not agree with. He has always expressed his opinions based on the facts as he knew them. I always looked forward to who the Register would endorse in various political campaigns. At times I voted the other way based on the facts that I knew. I found him to be very dedicated to his work and wish him well in his retirement.
posted by: jackwynnekramer on January 23, 2013 6:19am
Just wanted to use this forum to congratulate Charles on his well earned retirement. As Charles’ former boss, he was someone who had my total trust, respect and admiration; a true pro who always represented the Register and its editorial policies extremely well. I was proud to work alongside him all the years we did.
posted by: leibzelig on January 23, 2013 10:07am
Congratulations to Charles on his long and distinguished career as a reporter and editorial writer and editor.
We go back a long way, to when Charles was a reporter on the Hartford Times and then moved to New Haven, as I did when the Jackson family killed the Times.
He is one of the brightest people I know and I am glad he is leaving this newspaper.
The Register’s decision to write editorials by committee and by people who have other responsibilities is fraught with danger because a newspaper’s opinion, its voice, is so vital in a city and area that faces so many perils.
But as I did many years ago, Charles, if he wishes, can now have that monthly pension check as his only relationship to a sinking organization and daily paper.
Best of luck Charles and enjoy your retirement. I am sure you will find it a busy and rewarding time of life for you and your family.