May 5, 2009

Courant suffers another major blow?

The news in today's Hartford Courant that its two top editors have been given the heave-ho and that an "interim editor" will be reporting to someone with the title of "senior vice president in charge of news content" for the Courant and Channel 61 leaves me cold.
Sure, the paper's new publisher, Richard Graziano, has already made quite a splash on the news since his arrival in town a month ago. But what he's doing to the news is what really matters.
And it doesn't look pretty so far.
The Courant reported today that it has lost 45 percent of its newsroom personnel in the past 16 months. That's just a little short of half its reporters, editors, copy editors, photographers, sportswriters and so on. So it's no wonder the paper can't even begin to do the wide range of stories it had not so long ago.
I don't have the answers to stop newspapers from sliding away into oblivion, but I'm quite sure that putting TV people in charge isn't the solution, that slicing away experienced hands won't help and that gutting the core mission of the newspaper doesn't exactly appeal to those who read it.
Those of us in the newspaper racket desperately need to experiment, to see what new things might catch on, to integrate the web with what we do much more seamlessly and holistically, but there seems to be a feeling in the executive suites that the problem with newspapers is that they want to cover news.
And the one thing I'm sure about is that if the only way to keep people interested in newspapers is to gut them, then the hell with 'em.
I'm having a hard time believing that a publisher who thinks driving drunken young women around in the middle of the night is a good idea is the guy with the answers to the problems afflicting our state's flagship newspaper.

PS: You can read the relevant letters to Courant staffers on CT News Junkie.

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
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Anonymous said...


I know you are extremely sympathetic to the news world and the declining worth of the print news business in general, but isn't this a good thing for the Press and the Herald? Let the Courant decline into oblivion, who cares. The Courant has not cared about Bristol in quite some time. Since the Press and the Herald are both in the Courant's marketing and distribution bullseye, it can only be a good thing for our local paper's circulation. Maybe Stan Simpson will be loooking for a job soon.

Steve Collins said...

The demise of the Courant might help the Press, but it would still sadden me. We're kind of all in this together.
It's true, though, that the Courant has largely given up on Bristol.

Rick Hancock said...

Hey Steve,

You and I haven't had a good rumble in a minute or two, but this isn't the end of the world stuff. Everybody calm down, everything is going to be just fine. I promise the world isn't going to come to an end if newspapers go away. A lot of fingers have been pointed at the "TV people takeover," but newspaper folks need to look in the mirror and ask themselves a few hard questions first before they blame others for most of their problems. It's easier and safer to blame TV and the Internet for newspaper woes, but the real "bad guys," are the readers who have abandoned print. I haven't seen much said or written about blaming the news consuming public for walking away from newspapers.
That said, I really hope you guys can make a go of it in Bristol and continue to wish you and the new owner the best!

Steve Collins said...

Hmm... where'd I put those boxing gloves anyway? Lemme take a look around for 'em....

Anonymous said...

Ted Kennedy?

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen much said or written about blaming the news consuming public for walking away from newspapers.

May 5, 2009 12:14 PM

Maybe the readers are too educated to waste their $$ to read the slanted coverage by the print media .

I wonder if they would regain subscribers if they were to point out the miserable failures of the democrats in this state and nation .

Sure , they can get elected by means of their contacts in the unions , but they sure are trashing this nation from within .