Hartford Courant

Hartford Courant
Hartford Courant Logo
Hartford Courant March 24 2008.jpg
The March 24, 2008 front page of
The Hartford Courant
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner Tribune Company
Publisher Richard Graziano
Editor Naedine Hazell
Founded 1764
(as The Connecticut Courant)
Headquarters 285 Broad Street
Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Circulation Daily: 135,283 (2011), 134,751 (2010)
Sunday: 197,406 (2011), 196,332 (2010) [1][2]
ISSN 1047-4153
Official website courant.com

The Hartford Courant is the largest daily newspaper in the U.S. state of Connecticut, 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 capitol, and it reports regional news with a chain of bureaus in smaller cities and a series of local editions.



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, trademarked the title of oldest paper in the nation. The Gazette is a bi-weekly, while the Courant has not missed a week since its inception. 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. [3] 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. A series of articles about sexual abuse by the head of a worldwide catholic order, published since February 1997, constituted the first denunciation of Marciel Maciel known to a wider audience.[4][5]

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-TV and The CW affiliate WCCT-TV.

The Courant is the most recent American newspaper to win the Society for News Design's World's Best Designed Newspaper award (awarded in 2005).[6] 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 2009, Tribune replaced Carver with Richard Graziano, who was given a dual role as Courant publisher and general manager of Tribune's two Hartford television statons.[citation needed] 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.[7][8]

In recent[when?] 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.

An unspecified number of newsroom layoffs were again announced in July 2011. Newsroom staff peaked in 1994 at close to 400 staff, down to 175 staff by 2008, and 135 staff in 2009.[9]


In its most recent endorsements for U.S. President, Connecticut Senator, and Connecticut Governor, the Courant endorsed the Democratic candidate each time. In all three cases, the state of Connecticut voted in agreement with the endorsement.

  • 2008 U.S. President: Democrat Barack Obama over Republican John McCain. "In its 244-year history, The Courant has endorsed only one Democratic candidate for president, Bill Clinton. Today we endorse a second Democrat, Sen. Barack Obama, with the hope that if elected, he governs from the middle as Mr. Clinton did. Mr. Obama must resist serving only his party's interests and instead serve the greater interests of a worried nation."[10]
  • 2010 Connecticut Senate: Democrat Richard Blumenthal over Republican Linda McMahon. "We go with state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the Democrat, in our hope that, if elected, he will advocate for Connecticut in Washington as successfully as he's advocated for the state's people from Hartford these past two decades."[11]
  • 2010 Connecticut Governor: Democrat Dan Malloy over Republican Tom Foley. "Connecticut voters have a tough choice in this year's gubernatorial race, and that is a good thing. Both major-party candidates, Democrat Dannel Malloy, 55, of Stamford, and Republican Tom Foley, 58, of Greenwich, are smart, forceful and energetic. Both are up to the job. Both agree the state needs to live within its means and improve its economy. However, Mr. Malloy's experience in municipal government persuades The Courant he is the best candidate."[12]

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. It has endorsed Republicans and Democrats.

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, Jr. 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.


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.[13][1]

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 had 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.[14][15][16]

Gombossy's lawsuit against the Courant was thrown out by a Connecticut Superior Court judge in July 2010. In his decision, Judge Marshall K. Berger, Jr. remarked that newspaper owners and editors have a "paramount" right to "control [the] content of their papers," further observing that in his role at the Courant, Gombossy had "no constitutional right to publish anything."[17]

However, Gombossy's attorneys filed a second complaint, and Judge Berger reinstated the complaint. The case is headed to trial in the fall of 2011.


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


  1. ^ Audit Bureau of Circulations, September 30, 2010. http://abcas3.accessabc.com/ecirc/newstitlesearchus.asp
  2. ^ http://abcas3.accessabc.com/ecirc/newstitlesearchus.asp
  3. ^ Andrew Kreig (1987). Spiked: How Chain Management Corrupted America's Oldest Newspaper. Old Saybrook, Connecticut: Peregrine Press. ISBN 978-0933614277. 
  4. ^ [http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-marcial-maciel-sg,0,5607762.storygallery "Courant Coverage of the Rev. Marciel Maciel Degollado"]
  5. ^ http://www.elpais.com/articulo/sociedad/aliado/oscuro/Juan/Pablo/II/elpepisoc/20110429elpepisoc_9/Tes
  6. ^ "'Die Zeit': World's Best Designed Newspaper 2004 Auszeichnung erhalten" March 2, 2005 medienhandbuch.de accessed May 4, 2010
  7. ^ Staff, "Check Out The New 'Mr. Content'" New Haven Independent May 17, 2009
  8. ^ http://www.hartfordadvocate.com/article.cfm?aid=13039[dead link]
  9. ^ http://www.courant.com/business/hc-layoffs-courant-20110707,0,4770389.story
  10. ^ http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-endorsepresidential.artoct26,0,4200512.story
  11. ^ http://articles.courant.com/2010-10-24/news/hc-ed-blumenthal-for-senate-1024-20101024_1_connecticut-hartford-linda-mcmahon
  12. ^ http://articles.courant.com/2010-10-24/news/hc-ed-malloy-for-governor-1024-20101024_1_health-care-home-care-republican-tom-foley
  13. ^ Richard J. Graziano (2009). "Courant Apologizes For Plagiarism". Courant.com. http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/hc-courant-apology-plagiarism-090309,0,1524843.story. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  14. ^ Hartford Courant losing its watchdog, The Laurel newspaperman's blog, retrieved August 17, 2009.
  15. ^ Hartford Courant Consumer Columnist Fired For Pissing Off Advertiser, Consumerist blog, retrieved August 17, 2009.
  16. ^ Hartford Courant lays off consumer columnist, The New York Times, retrieved August 24, 2009
  17. ^ Judge Dismisses Former Columnist's Lawsuit Against The Courant, The Hartford Courant, retrieved July 6, 2010.

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