The “Future of Media,” Tribune-Style: Local TV Newsers Take Over Print

So they just named a new publisher of the Hartford Courant.  The Courant’s a Pulitzer-Prize winner, and the nation’s oldest continuously published newspaper, according to The New York Times, and is owned by the bankrupt Tribune Company (insert your own joke there).  

So who’s taking the helm at the Courant?  It’s Richard Graziano.  His newspaper knowledge?  Uh… taking stories from the paper and making TV stories out of them, maybe?  See, Graziano’s the GM of Hartford’s WTIC and WTXX, now set to move into the Courant’s building, where Tribune plans to build a new, HD studio and expand newscasts.  You can just imagine how delighted the print guys are about their new boss and roommates, right?

WTIC/Hartford

WTIC/Hartford

Anyway, this, Tribune says, is “the future of media.”  Randy Michaels, Tribune’s COO, explains:  “Whether in print, over the air, or online–the delivery mechanism isn’t as important as the unique, rich nature of the content provided.”

In an article posted on the courant.com website, Tribune admits that its efforts to leverage print and TV ownership in other markets has been a “mixed success” and suggests that this kind of full broadcast and print meld with a TV guy running the show (and adding Publisher to his business cards) will make things work.

WTXX/Hartford

WTXX/Hartford

You might have a tough time selling that in the shell-shocked Courant newsroom, where staff has been cut nearly in half (45%) since last year, and the “future of media” apparently didn’t even come with a timetable or step-by-step owner’s manual. Kenneth Gosselin, who wrote the story for the Courant from the soon-to-be-billed “WTIC-Courant” newsroom, was forced to explain it all this way:  “The Courant remains the largest newsgathering operation covering Connecticut, and the combined WTIC-Courant newsroom will be by far the largest in the state. It remains unclear how, when and whether news reporting operations will be combined.”

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4 Comments

Filed under Local News 2.0

4 responses to “The “Future of Media,” Tribune-Style: Local TV Newsers Take Over Print

  1. This is not surprising in the least. Anyone who reads this and other similar blogs knew this was coming. It’s already here. The traditional lines between TV, print and the web are being erased with each passing day.

    The Courant and the Christian Science Monitor and what they are trying to do in Denver are the test kitchens, so to speak. The rest of us will take the best of their ideas, add our own innovations and eventually a new business model will emerge.

    Plus, I can’t help but think that the scores of laid off journalists out there are cooking up their own news gumbo with heavy doses of local flavor.

    I think the HuffPost announcement of an investigative unit may be part of the solution as well. It will certainly be interesting to watch.

  2. Don Ennis

    I’m not just saying this just because (full disclosure) I work for WTIC, and thereby, Rich Graziano. But don’t count him out. He’s very smart, has built a winning team, and I think he will pull this off.
    I was there for the announcement, and it was so refreshing: when was the last time any of us was at a staff meeting in the media world, where instead of informing us with somber faces that we should brace for layoffs, furloughs and cutbacks, the talk was of expansion, upgrades and steps we’re taking to achieve success? I for one am willing to bet this merger works. In fact, I’m betting my career on it.

  3. Anon

    Hmm. Aren’t you looking for a job?

  4. Don Ennis

    Since you asked, I am looking for work, and I’m no longer working at Fox61. Sweeps is done, and I did my job as a consultant/freelance EP/fill-in producer.

    They have a strong internal candidate for EP who’s now getting a chance to show what she can do, now that sweeps is over. I’m grateful for the work, but other opportunities await.

    As for my bet, I still wager that the merger works, because of Graziano, because of Tribune’s moves (especially compared to Gannett), and yes, even without a key ingredient like yours truly. Time will tell.

    Oh, and thanks for your message, Anon. Unless your last name is Ymous, I’m sad to discover you’re just another faceless poster unwilling to put your name to your beliefs. Nothing personal, I know that it’s not required; it’s just gutless, in a time in which we already have so many gutless people in our industry, I guess I’ve just had my fill. Maybe you should check out the Watercooler, you’ll be happier there.

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