More dinosaur noise. It's almost a continuous bellow - much like a cattle stampede...
Topic: Letters Sent to Romenesko
Date/Time: 9/29/2006 12:58:30 PM
Title: If Journal Register buys the Courant...
Posted By: Jim Romenesko
From FRANK SPENCER-MOLLOY: Newspaper analyst John Morton says that a flailing Tribune Co. is less likely to sell off a prestigious giant such as The Los Angeles Times. It is more apt to cut loose smaller papers and cites in particular The Hartford Courant, Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time. These, he says, would be a likely acquisition by the Journal Register Co., which already owns several Connecticut newspapers.
If so, this will augur the end of days for journalism in Connecticut. News will be what floats in over the transom and comes across the police-radio band. What remains of investigative and in-depth critical beat reporting, already seriously eroded, will disappear, if the Journal Registers longtime minimalist modus were to be adopted at The Courant, the states largest paper by far.
Over the past decade the last six under Tribune dominion The Courant has hemorrhaged people and quality, perhaps to an extent greater than any other Tribune paper. Editors disbanded the specialties desk (where I once worked) and cut back or dissolved beats in law, courts, environment, medicine, consumer affairs and public-utilities. State capital coverage has shrunk, and a number of suburbs that once got daily coverage get less or none. A Sunday magazine-like section was just killed. The movie reviewer is no more.
Still, the paper seems to have committed to continue doing some investigations and published earlier this year a fine series exploring the militarys combat use of mentally ill soldiers. But in the event of a Journal Register takeover, expect these, too, to be cut, accompanied by further across-the-board bleeding out.
This takeover would deepen further the news vacuum for Connecticut citizens, who deserve to know more about their state than can be conveyed by the nightly house fire TV news opens its broadcast with.
It will also diminish the public forum in which newspapers and the public express their opinions. Connecticut is a blue state, but you wouldnt know that by reading the editorial pages of the states newspapers. Although the state voted two-to-one for the Democratic presidential ticket in 2000, virtually all the states dailies backed Bush. That includes the anti-union, anti-consumer Courant editorial board, which is so reflexively pro-business, it might as well have a dedicated incoming-fax line from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
That will only get worse if Journal Register rules the state. Its papers already toe the companys centralized conservative line, going so far as to publish the same editorials in its different papers.
It will be sad day all around.