Could Courant's decline mean Hearst dominance?

Newspapers throughout the country are declining along with civic engagement and literacy but few are declining faster than Connecticut's once-dominant newspaper, the Hartford Courant. Its circulation is a third of what it was a few years ago, its local news coverage has nearly evaporated, its news staff has been cut two-thirds, and lately many of its top writers have been picked off by the Hearst newspaper chain, whose eight Connecticut dailies have greatly strengthened their state coverage as a result.

Two of those former Courant staffers have been fixtures in the state's public life for decades − columnists Colin McEnroe and Jeff Jacobs − but the Courant seems not to have publicly noted their departure, nor that of editorial page editor Carolyn Lumsden. (The daily Courant's editorial page itself has practically disappeared.)

The Courant, part of the Tribune chain, seems to be cutting costs to make itself more attractive for sale, as the Tribune papers are for sale as a group or individually. Hearst, which in addition to its eight dailies owns 20 weeklies in the state, may be interested in acquiring the Courant but that would raise antitrust objections.

Should one company really own half of what's left of Connecticut's press?

Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer.


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