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As Courant Loses Statewide Juice, Hearst Newspapers Becomes A Player

January 2nd, 2013 · 7 Comments · Analysis and Comment, Media

CT Post

It used to be the Hartford Courant was the dominant media force in Connecticut and then there was everyone else. No more. The Courant is now a splinter of its former self, like so many newspaper outlets around the country, as its parent Tribune Co. www.tribune.com emerges from bankruptcy with a plan to recast itself as a television makeover while potentially selling off its print publications. As the Courant fades, Hearst Newspapers, parent of the Connecticut Post, has positioned itself as a relevant media player in the state.

The Courant, historically featured the most efficient journalists in the state, solid news gathering combined with strong writing. Over the past decade many scribes were dispatched to the unemployment lines as advertising losses forced layoffs. Some scribes reinvented themselves or managed to find work at other publications. The massacre in Newton is just one example of the Courant no longer having the horses to saturate a story with an army of journalists.

The bloodiest gun assault on school children in U.S. history occurred in Newton in Hearst territory. There was a time, with that kind of high-profile story, the Courant would say make way boys, we’re here: L’Ambiance Plaza collapse in Bridgeport, Mianus River Bridge collapse in Greenwich, public corruption cases, exclusive interviews, enterprise stories–the Courant dominated. The Hearst coverage of Sandy Hook was more comprehensive than the Courant’s. The Courant still has top-notch journalists such as Ed Mahony, Dave Altimari and others, whose work on the shootings was outstanding.

Hearst owns four daily newspapers in southern Connecticut as well as a bunch of weeklies. The Greenwich Time, The Advocate in Stamford, Connecticut Post and Danbury News-Times all are Hearst publications sharing regional stories, front page designs with the dailies printed in downtown Bridgeport. If something big happens in its southern Connecticut circulation area Hearst can deploy journalists to the task. Of course, if you talk to the scribes individually about local coverage they will privately lament cutbacks, meow about vacant newsrooms, they don’t do this right or that. It’s the nature of the beast in an unappreciated world.

If you think Mayor Bill Finch’s administration is tight lipped about things, Connecticut Post reporters by comparison are clams sunk deep into the Long Island Sound mud. Journalists report the news, they don’t like being it. “We can’t talk to you about what goes on here,” yadda, yadda.

The person tasked with overall editorial supervision of Hearst Connecticut papers is Barbara Roessner, former managing editor of the Hartford Courant who was part of a team that won a Pultizer.

Coverage improvements are underway at the Post. Hopefully, it will last. Journalists do important work. Without them, it’s like ringing the dinner bell for sneaky pols.

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7 Comments so far ↓

  • Mojo

    *** Living in the past of its former self has finally caught up with the skeletal remains of the CT Post! What now awaits this moderate ragtag of a newspaper that has swayed away from what it did best? *** TIME WILL TELL ***

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Maybe the Courant doesn’t want to be a player.
    www .youtube.com/watch?v=-Rhf5n27BGc

  • Joel Gonzalez

    “Finch said his administration has been in contact with three or four people interested in running the city’s schools.”

    Why has the city been in contact with three or four people interested in running the city’s schools if the majority of BOE members decided to delay the national search for school super? Who is authorized or responsible for selecting the school super, the BOE or the administration?

    Read more: www .ctpost.com/local/article/Input-sought-from-parents-on-city-schools-4160085.php

  • Ron Mackey

    Joel Gonzalez, I bet those three or four people interested in running the city’s schools Finch said his administration has been in contact with are all down with Vallas.

  • Jimfox

    Finch said his administration has been in contact with three or four people interested in running the city’s schools.
    What happen to the BOE?
    Did the YES Vote win?
    Are we being hoodwinked again?

  • The Fixer

    Following up on Lennie’s feel-good New Year’s story about Val Sorrentino and her friend who gave her a kidney. Even though it would be the ultimate act of hypocrisy, I think they should receive some recognition at a City Council meeting. Now what brave City Council person will make the motion?

  • John Marshall Lee

    My personal compliments to the CT Post for the two articles regarding governance issues in Bridgeport. Brian Lockhart shares Tom White’s story that developed during the Finch/McCarthy administration, a time period when the City Council has become less relevant, to the point of toothlessness!

    Sue Brannelly had an opinion that was solicited by Brian Lockhart, but it is the first I have seen any sharing with the public what “planning” went on in terminating White and hiring Boyer to assist the Council in whatever role they perceive they have in local governance. I have given Sue Brannelly, one of my two district Council persons, high praise during the past year for pushing to have the City MONTHLY FINANCIAL REPORTS placed as standard agenda items on the Budget & Appropriations monthly agendas. However, based on the failure to review the first June report in 20 years in any manner, to accept delayed reports months after they are due from Finance/OPM, and her unwillingness to answer questions respectfully and patiently asked of her by email (as well as to all other members of the Council) over a several-month duration, I call on her to share with us her understanding of the needs of each and every Council member for research on pending matters, for review of Charter and Ordinance Council responsibilities, and for assistance with matters raised by her constituents. How is the Bridgeport Council supported relative to other cities? Is it effective?

    And the Keila Torres Ocasio article indicating the Mayor is working overtime on the issue of education reform. Has the Mayor inquired of the elected BOE what their State mandated purview is? And checked to see his office does not have the power he sought to become ACCOUNTABLE, unless it is by assuring financial resources are made available with tax dollars and/or City Departments taking on new responsibilities for certain school matters? And then, Mayor Finch’s young education czar tells us listening to the public must be underlined. But Josh, the Charter Review group did not wish to provide that opportunity to the public in their normal meetings, and the City has routinely ignored responsibilities for sharing information on City finances and then listening to the public. And to tell us there is no agenda when the Mayor is sharing “education reform” ideas (none of which are objectionable necessarily, if they are raised in the BOE process) is less than a “half truth,” Josh.

    Both articles are revealing scenarios of the way some elected and appointed people wish to tell a story. Many of us know the role of journalism is to dig up information that puts a larger truth in the public eye. It may not be easy or pretty, often, but the digging and the writing is necessary. It means someone cares. And that caring considers the details, what is said and what is done. Whether the care is “to graduate all students “college ready” and prepared to succeed in life,” or help your kid “get in the middle class,” or listening to alarms going off at night, preventing sleep, with concerns about failing schools a lot more listening is necessary certainly, but so it is the role of those in the know to inform others. So a New Year salute to the January 2, 2013 CT Post because of the two stories on page A5. Will we have more of this grassroots work? Time will tell.

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