Hartford City Council passes resolution in support of Courant Guild

Sept. 14, 2020 - On Monday night, the Hartford City Council passed a resolution opposing Alden Global Capital and supporting the Hartford Courant Guild’s push for new ownership.

The resolution describes Alden as a "destroyer of newspapers" and asks the hedge fund to cease layoffs and other cuts, to refrain from buying further shares of Tribune Publishing and to consider in good faith any offers that would return The Courant and other Tribune papers to civically minded owners.

Calling into the meeting in support of the resolution, State Sen. Saud Anwar noted that The Courant is the longest continuously published newspaper in the country and "a gold standard for what can be trusted."

"Private equity and some of these corporations have taken the spirit out of everything they touch," Anwar said. "We have to intervene because this is not about profit lost, it's about lives lost. ... We have to have journalists we can trust. We have to have a newspaper we can trust."

Mayor Ben Florsheim of Middletown also called into the meeting, urging councilors to support the resolution, while observing that Alden Global Capital "sounds like a villainous company from a Disney movie."

"The Hartford Courant has been cut back and cut back and reduced and reduced over the years," Florsheim said. "We have great reporters working at The Courant ... right now, but the resources have been cut back so much over time there is nothing resembling the kind of in-depth, serious reporting [that The Courant once had]."

Last week, The Hartford Courant Guild organized a panel discussion on Facebook Live, in which current and former members discussed their working conditions.

"We lack enough bodies to put out the quality news product that we once did," said Brad Horrigan, a Courant photographer for nearly nine years. "It seems we used to cover the state so thoroughly, and now because it's such a tiny staff we kind of scrape by."

Leeanne Griffin, who reports on food and dining for The Courant, reflected on being furloughed during a pivotal time on her beat.

"My personal furloughs came within five days of two very big dates of Connecticut's reopening phase," Griffin said. "Sidelining 10 reporters each week was a great disservice to our readers at a time when they needed information the most."

Learn more: Hartford City Council urges an end to job cuts at The Courant that have “decimated” the staff, Hartford Courant - Sept. 14