I am a former investigative reporter for The Hartford Courant. I worked there for 39 ½ years before retiring in late 2005 to become a freelance writer. I am happier and more inspired as a writer now, but I am sad for the paper that was once my home base.
As soon as The Tribune took over Times Mirror and The Courant, all the Tribune’s officers ever did was cut reporters' and editors' jobs and make more money for themselves. At the time of the sale eight years ago, The Courant was a highly successful newspaper. But gradually it became a shadow of what it was with advertising stickers and advertising on page one, a domination of ads over news content inside with half or less of the news pages it once contained.
When Sam Zell purchased The Tribune, he promised independence for The Courant’s publisher and editors and those in other Tribune newspapers. He pledged he would create Tribune papers with more robust news staffs. Within weeks, his promises went up in smoke. The Tribune began following the same old depressing path. Its officers for the third of fourth time fired the top editor of the Los Angeles Times because he, like his courageous predecessors, failed to go along with staff cuts and news cut backs.
Here is what I wrote Zell back in January. “I really think you need to take a good hard look at the officers and managers at the Tribune! You have purchased a huge outlet of news in this country. It is an outlet whose journalistic prowess has declined measurably since it purchased Times Mirror eight years ago. I don’t know what happened before then, but I have observed fairly closely what happened since then, first hand as a Courant staff reporter and retired staff reporter. The Tribune needs some really professional journalists at the top of the corporation to make sure it doesn’t continue to cut the heart out of its news operations nationwide.”
Obviously, he ignored me (no surprise) and he deserves all the negative editorial comment and insulting cartoons that David Horsey can muster.
Thomas “Dennie” Williams