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The Hartford Courant is the largest daily newspaper in the U.S. state of Connecticutmarker, and is a morning newspaper for most of the state north of New Haven and east of Waterbury. Its headquarters on Broad Street are a short walk from the state capitolmarker, and it reports regional news with a chain of bureaus in smaller cities and a series of local editions.

History

Courant building on State Street (about 1900)


The Connecticut Courant began as a weekly on October 29, 1764 and was started by Thomas Green. The word "courant" was a popular name for English-language newspapers, borrowed from the Dutch. The daily Hartford Courant traces its existence back to the weekly, thereby claiming the title "America's oldest continuously published newspaper" and adopting as its slogan, "Older than the nation." (A reborn The New Hampshire Gazette, which started publication in 1756, but disappeared and reappeared, has trademarked the title of oldest paper in the nation. It is a bi-weekly, while the Courant has not missed a week since October 29, 1764. See also, The New York Post as oldest daily, and Time magazine's view of "oldest" claims.)

The Courant was purchased in 1979 by Times Mirror, the Los Angeles Times' parent company. The first years of out-of-town ownership were described by a former Courant reporter in a book titled Spiked: How Chain Management Corrupted America's Oldest Newspaper. One criticism was that the new owners were more interested in awards, and less interested in traditional Courant devotion to exhaustive coverage of local news.

The Courant won a 1992 Pulitzer Prize for inquiring into problems with the Hubble Space Telescope (a Connecticut company was involved in the construction), and it won a 1999 Pulitzer Prize in the Breaking News category for coverage of a 1998 murder-suicide that took five lives at Connecticut Lottery headquarters.

The current building of the Hartford Courant Co.
In 2000, Times Mirror and the Courant became part of the Tribune Company, one of the world's largest multimedia companies. Ironically, along the way, the Courant also acquired the Valley Advocate group of "alternative" weeklies started by two disgruntled Courant staff members in 1973. Under new ownership, it is co-owned with two local television stations: Fox affiliate WTIC-TVmarker and The CW affiliate WTXXmarker.

The Courant is the most recent American newspaper to win the Society for News Design's World's Best Designed newspaper award (won in 2005). In 2006, the paper's investigation into mental health and suicides among Americans serving in the Iraq war was featured in the PBS documentary series Exposé: America's Investigative Reports in an episode entitled "Question 7." In late June 2006, the Tribune Co. announced that Courant publisher Jack W. Davis Jr. would by replaced by Stephen D. Carver, vice president and general manager of Atlanta, Ga., TV station WATL. In March of 2009, Tribune eplaced Carver with Richard Graziano, who was given a dual role as Courant publisher and general manager of Tribune's two Hartford television statons. In May of the same year, Tribune announced that Jeff Levine, a newspaper executive with a background in marketing, would become "director of content" and that the editor or "print platform manager" of the Courant would report to Levine as would the news director of WTIC-TV. Shortly after that, the Courant's two highest ranking editors were let go.

In recent years the Courant has offered early retirement and buyout packages to reduce staff as it continues to experience declines in advertising revenue. There have also been layoffs; the Courant announced in June 2008 that it would lay off about 25% of its newsroom staff. Moreover, in September 2008, it would reduce the number of pages in its weekday editions.

Politics

When two newspapers were published in Hartford, The Courant was editorially Republican and did not endorse a non-Republican for president until Bill Clinton. When the Hartford Times ceased publication in 1976, The Courant's editorial page took an independent stance.

While the Courant editorially has recently endorsed Republican presidential candidates, its editorial approach to state government in recent decades has traditionally been liberal and opposed to what it considers short-sighted conservatism. Its strong endorsement of former Senator Lowell Weicker was decisive in the 1990 gubernatorial election. It endorsed his Lieutenant Governor Eunice Groark for Governor in 1994. After Republican Governor John G. Rowland announced major development initiatives for downtown Hartford, the Courant endorsed his 1998 and 2002 re-election bids. In 2006 the Courant endorsed Democrat John DeStefano for Governor, but he was defeated soundly by incumbent Governor M. Jodi Rell.

The Courant's long-time law firm, Tyler Cooper & Alcorn, also happened to be the Connecticut Republican Party's law firm. That business relationship with the Republican Party ended when Tyler Cooper lawyers fought aggressively on behalf of The Courant to uncover a police report about an alleged domestic incident at Rowland's Middlebury home.

In July 2006 the Courant weighed in on the contentious Connecticut Democratic senate primary by endorsing incumbent Joe Lieberman. The Courant also endorsed his bid in the general election.

Controversies

2009 Plagiarism

In September 2009 the Courant's publisher, Richard Graziano, publicly apologized as the newspaper accepted a plagiarism charge. Competitors had accused the Courant of taking its content without permission and refusing to give proper credit.[39074]

2009 Sleepy's

In August, 2009, the Courant attracted some controversy over its firing of George Gombossy, a 40-year veteran of the paper and its consumer advocate at the time. Gombossy charged that the Courant had spiked an article he'd written about an ongoing investigation by the Connecticut attorney general accusing Sleepy's (a major advertiser in the paper) of selling used and bedbug-infested mattresses as new.

Prices

The Courant prices are: $0.75 Daily, $1.50 Sunday.

References

  1. http://www.ricksrss.com/?p=2114
  2. http://newhavenindependent.org/archives/2009/05/check_out_the_n.php
  3. http://www.hartfordadvocate.com/article.cfm?aid=13039
  4. Hartford Courant losing its watchdog, The Laurel newspaperman's blog, retrieved August 17, 2009.
  5. Hartford Courant Consumer Columnist Fired For Pissing Off Advertiser, Consumerist blog, retrieved August 17, 2009.
  6. Hartford Courant lays off consumer columnist, The New York Times, retrieved August 24, 2009


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