Susan Shultz leaves Darien Times editor for new role

Photo of Katrina Koerting

DARIEN — For 16 years, Susan Shultz has served the community as a reporter and editor, writing on all facets of the town and its residents.

This week, she’s stepping down as editor to take a new role within Hearst Connecticut Media Group as a sponsored content producer in the marketing division.

“The Darien Times has the most passionate and engaged readers I have ever encountered, so all I can say is ‘Thank you,’” Shultz said. “Thank you for your support. ... Thank you for enjoying and caring about this paper. Thank you for your kindness to me. This paper has only been as good as the people and community I’ve covered.”

Shultz joined the Darien Times as a reporter in 2005, before becoming the assistant editor in 2011 and the editor in July 2012.

Journalism wasn’t her first career. She was originally an executive assistant, but has always been drawn to writing — she’s also a published poet and horror novelist — and decided to go back to school for it. She earned her master’s degree in journalism at Quinnipiac University in 2005.

“I love to write in any capacity,” Shultz said. “I was curious about tapping into a different writing muscle with journalism and I immediately fell in love with it — specifically community journalism. There’s a difference in community journalism than the more intense daily beat.”

Community journalism offers a variety of topics that have driven Shultz over the years.

“I can do a story on zoning law and watch sheep getting sheared within the same hour,” Shultz said. “You learn about everything and meet the most incredible people. That love had only grown and continues today.”

Shultz said she’s enjoyed covering the community she once called home. She now lives in Wilton with her two daughters, who are both in middle school, but is still drawn to Darien.

The people she met and the relationships she built were among her favorite aspects of serving as the Darien Times editor. She said it’s been a “privilege” for them to trust her with their stories, which were sometimes difficult.

One example was a story about the opioid epidemic and a family who knows the devastation of it first hand. She won a first-place award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists for it and also formed a connection with the family.

“Under her leadership, the paper has grown to promote education and awareness on a myriad of issues, including ones that had been considered too taboo to have an open conversation about,” Elizabeth “Betsy” Higgins Jones, a reader and the mother featured in the story, wrote in a letter to the editor. “She was both professional and very kind to me and her article on our family’s loss, a tragedy that so many other families have also experienced, was one of the most impactful articles that I have ever read in the Darien Times.”

And like most communities, Darien was hit by COVID, affecting almost every aspect of life.

“In the last year, I have been privileged to tell many first-hand COVID stories, including those of Darien residents and their ordeals, Darien first responders and nurses, sharing resources for the community and connecting many with those resources in ways that never made it near a story or a paper,” Shultz said.

Hearst Connecticut is actively recruiting a new Darien Times editor. Brian Gioiele will be managing the publication until a new editor is hired. He can be reached at Brian.Gioiele@hearstmediact.com