DARIEN — Lynandro “DJ” Simmons has been hired as the new Darien beat reporter for Hearst Connecticut.

Simmons, a native of Columbia, S.C., is a resident of West Haven. In May he graduated cum laude from Southern Connecticut State University, where he majored in journalism and minored in political science.

Before joining Hearst Connecticut Media and the Darien News, Simmons was editor-in-chief of Southern’s newspaper and website the Southern News. In this role, Simmons was in charge of producing the school’s weekly newspaper and overseeing the staff.

In his time as a reporter, he has covered a variety of issues. This includes interviewing local politicians, as well as feature stories on local artists. He has participated in documenting descendants of World War I veterans for the Connecticut State Library.

Simmons won Southern Journalist of the Year in 2018 for his work with the paper. He interned at online media site theStashed in New York City, where he covered cultural and sports-related news.

Before moving to Connecticut, Simmons attended the University of South Carolina, where he was a business major. While briefly freelancing, he has had his work published in the New Haven Independent.

Simmons replaces Justin Papp, who has worked for the paper for two years and has been named reporter for the Norwalk Hour.

Simmons can be reached at 203-842-2568 or DJ.Simmons@hearstmediact.com