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CT Post Building For Sale, End Of A Journalism Era –30–

June 21st, 2016 · 19 Comments · Analysis and Comment, Media, News and Events

Connecticut Post building

For sale. CT Post photo Cathy Zuraw.

A Downtown fixture since 1928, the building that houses the Connecticut Post advertising and editorial offices and prior to that predecessor papers the Post and Telegram is for sale, according to a story released by the Hearst Media Group that owns the Post and daily papers in Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk and Danbury. The sale of 410 State Street will raise further questions about coverage commitment to the state’s largest city, but Group Publisher Paul Barbetta asserts in a statement “Our commitment to the communities we serve will not change. Our news coverage remains strong and vigilant. Advertisers will continue to be served by comprehensive print and digital options to grow their businesses. Only our addresses within the communities we cover will change.” Hmmm, wonder how the editorial staff feels about this? See story here.

The article does not specify where it will house the news operation “though it plans to maintain a local editorial and advertising presence in both communities.” The building that houses the News-Times in Danbury is also on the block.

Like so many news organizations gutted as a result of corporate journalism cutbacks, local news coverage has been reduced dramatically from the days the paper was family owned before its sale in the late 1980s. The Bridgeport Post became the Connecticut Post in 1992, but news coverage is largely concentrated in Bridgeport and immediate suburbs, although in recent years there has been an increased sharing of stories among its configuration of southern and western Connecticut daily papers.

The Connecticut Post also has a printing plant in a separate building on State Street.

The Post still has a handful of seasoned journalists on staff but they are often spread thin juggling news coverage in different towns as the paper builds a growing on-line news presence to complement hard copy editions.



19 Comments so far ↓

  • Harvey Weintraub

    Let’s face it, The CT Post is just about finished anyway. A mere shell of what it used to be. People can get more info about the goings-on in Bpt from OIB and “Doing it Local” now.

  • Lisa Parziale

    You’re right, Harvey. OIB is more informing about government, and the facts are always checked out by Lennie. Hey Len, you’re like me, we said bye bye to them all. We’re still standing. Right?

  • Jeff Kohut

    I hate to take a pessimistic view of Bridgeport’s fortunes, but this does not portend anything good for Bridgeport. The Post and the building are a downtown institution that seem to serve as one of the last glowing embers in the dying heart of the city. And for the Post to admit it can’t sustain bricks and mortar any longer speaks to their fading fortunes. (Next Peoples will announce they’re leaving and the Barnum Museum will announce they’re moving to Bethel.)

    This is not good for the Post or the city. Pretty soon all our increasingly scanty local news will come from The Patch. WICC gave up on news years ago and NEWS 12 carries mostly news overviews/sound bites.

    As Lisa pointed out, Lennie is the only reliable source of timely local news these days–virtually the only source of reliable Bridgeport political news.

    The collapse of the institutional Fourth Estate in Bridgeport has been tracking the collapse of Bridgeport. The Internet edition of the Post created from remote, sanitized locations just isn’t going to serve the Post or Bridgeport as it needs to be served. Pretty soon we’ll buying single sheets of hard-copy “news” from computerized vending printers. (Although this latter situation renders the possibility of continuously updated hard copies — providing that journalists are available 24-7.)

    Lennie, maybe this is a chance to restart a 21st Century version of The Bridgeport Light, with OIB as it’s special daily feature.

    In any event, more news about the deconstruction of the downtown can’t be good news.

  • DougDavidoff

    This is all about the economics of daily newspapers. It is not about “the last glowing embers in the dying heart of the city.”

    What has happened to The Bridgeport Post (try as hard as I can, I cannot get myself to enjoy calling it “The Connecticut Post”) is typical of corporate newspaper interests.
    – Gannett sold the headquarters buildings of The Indianapolis Star, whose “information center,” (neé newsroom) now inhabits space in the Circle City’s former Nordstrom building. The newspaper building is becoming housing.
    – Copy that for the newspaper building in Yonkers, N.Y.; it’s being transformed into housing right now.
    – The Boston Globe, which moved from “newspaper row” downtown out to Morrissey Boulevard on Dorchester Point, is now selling its building and hopes to move the newsroom back downtown.

    Newspapers own big and obsolete iconic downtown structures. One by one, newspapers discover the highest and best use for these behemoths is in the hands of a housing developer. And so the buildings get sold.

    This is about newspapers. It is not about Bridgeport.

    I agree with Lisa and Jeff about the fractional breakup of media institutions. It’s the same all over, but far worse in Fairfield County. The savvy news consumer really has to work hard here. And yes, OIB makes the hard work much easier for many of us. (Thank you, Lennie.) Statewide, I appreciate the Connecticut Mirror (with a new publisher coming on board) and CT News Junkie.

    But I disagree with the dystopian views of Jeff Kohut. Downtown is not that bad and I’ve argued before it is reviving, not dying. I think Jeff’s views are fascinating and rooted in a deep devotion to Bridgeport’s innovation and manufacturing past. I agree with his point that Bridgeport’s future is tied to its past; I disagree with Jeff on the future that past implies. We actually have much in common, but we are led to pessimism in his case and optimism in mine.

    • DougDavidoff

      I’d add The New Haven Register has left so many buildings, it amounts to the longest-established permanent floating newsroom in the Nutmeg State.

      • Marshall Marcus

        “so many buildings,” really?????????
        I’m a New Haven native and in my 60-plus years the Register was on Orange Street, built a much larger building on Long Wharf and recently the new owners decided to print upstate and they moved the newsroom to North Haven.

        Leaving two buildings in over 60 years is SO MANY?

        This is in no way a defense of the Rag, a vile paper.

    • Pete Spain

      Doug Davidoff,
      Interesting points. Thank you.

      You stated, “This is about newspapers. It is not about Bridgeport.”

      Could it be about both? Imagine the taxes on that building!

  • Bob Walsh

    Nice touch, Lennie. I wonder how many people know what the –30– is all about. I can remember that from when I used to type Press Releases up, carbon copy it and run them down to the CT Post. And hope a reporter was still around before they headed out to a downtown watering hole.

  • Bob Walsh

    And guys, let’s not suck up to Lennie too much. The news portion of this story links back to the CT Post story. And Lennie will also reference stories in the CT Mirror or the Hartford Courant.
    Lennie does have time for a lot of his own investigative reporting.

  • Donald Day

    Lol, I was going to say that, Bobby.

  • Harvey Weintraub

    LOL at Bob.

  • Tom White

    An end of an era, but we should not be surprised. Technology has changed how information flows and the old newspaper industry is testament to that. The SNET buildings adjacent to the CT Post building once housed switches and staff for the telephone technology once used. Lots of empty office buildings downtown.
    Best we could hope for is they have a presence downtown in rented space but that is unlikely.

  • John Marshall Lee

    For some years now, Lennie has offered OIB as a relatively free space where interested members of the community can become investigative reporters (and know their story can see the light of day with readers’ eyes), or have a personal opinion column opportunity and everything in between. OIB is a public service, at a reasonable price for most, and the people have come. It is also a “community” that has been encouraged to develop a variety of viewpoints as well as necessary facts in which to operate respectfully. Thank you Lennie. We observe older forms in process of change.
    I have advocated a role for the City Council to work that has not connected well with many members of that body. Too bad, for the public loses. However, the role of WATCHDOG has seemed comfortable to some and so, by July 1, 2016 there will be an additional site, examining, recording and featuring Bridgeport City governance issues. Like everything else, it will be a work in process and another “open space” for your mind, voice and words to find expression for the good of the larger community. How will it work out? Time will tell.

  • Bob Walsh

    Maybe Lennie and OIB will buy the building with a little financial assistance from Uncle Sal.
    It will be the new corporate offices of Only In Bridgeport.
    How’s that for going full circle?

  • Jeff Kohut

    “This is all about the economics of daily newspapers. It is not about ‘the last glowing embers in the dying heart of the city.’” I will agree with your first sentence here and remark that indeed, it is all economics, the latter of which is contraindicative of the ability of our downtown to make a comeback via the current game plan. The economic environment for all downtown Bridgeport businesses is precarious, at best. And why doesn’t Hearst consolidate all its Fairfield County operations in Bridgeport if there are such “positive indications for the city and region”? (Actually, the economy of the region is also unwinding, ask GE. The Stamford/Norwalk-centric development policies of the state; really, the total lack of a viable, long-term state development game plan, are guaranteeing the whole state will continue its economic decline.)

    Doug: I appreciate your determination to depict the evolution of Bridgeport’s downtown in a positive context, but if you take note of what has been happening in our downtown for the past six decades, it can only be called a deconstruction. Even new attempts at stabilizing the downtown have faded and disappeared (e.g., the Lafayette Plaza mall, which had a very auspicious beginning and good run for several years). The new housing hasn’t yielded any economic stability and has been on life-support itself, from the get-go.

    Even if all the new housing comes to fruition and can be stabilized itself, all it will yield is a new neighborhood, not the “downtown” that is essential for the rest of the city’s comeback.

    The only thing that will save the city and the downtown is a vast amount of new commercial and industrial (manufacturing) tax base and tens of thousands of living-wage jobs, so residents and businesses won’t be hobbled and driven out by cripplingly high taxes and will have the disposable income to patronize downtown retail/entertainment-cultural-hospitality offerings.

  • Mojo

    *** Is the building in good shape that with some alterations it could become the Burroughs Library Annex a block down? ***

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