HistoryThe ''Connecticut Courant'' began as a weekly on October 29, 1764, started by Thomas Green. The word "courant" derives from the French ''courante nouvellen'', indicating current news items, possibly borrowed by way of the Dutch ''krant''. Courant was occasionally a name for English-language newspapers, including the ''New-England Courant'' (Boston), founded by James Franklin in 1721. 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." ''The New Hampshire Gazette'', which started publication in 1756 trademarked the title of oldest paper in the nation after being revived as a small biweekly paper in 1989. Prior to 1989, the paper all but disappeared into other publications for most of the 20th century and its self-proclaimed status is in doubt because of this. The ''New York Post'' claims to be the oldest ''continuously published daily newspaper'', and while it is true the Post start ''daily'' publishing 35 years before The Courant did, The Connecticut Courant existed as a ''weekly'' paper for nearly 4 decades before the New York Post was even founded by Alexander Hamilton as the New-York Evening Post. Furthermore, not only is the New York post not the oldest paper in the USA (as The Courant predates it by 37 years), but it also fails to live up to its claim as the oldest ''continuously published daily newspaper'' since the ''Providence Journal'' exists. The Providence Journal began daily publishing 7 years before The Courant and 28 years after The Post, but it didn't suspend publication because of strikes in 1958 and 1978 like the New York Post did thereby giving it the title ''continuously published daily newspaper''. However, The Connecticut Courant existed as a weekly paper for nearly 7 decades before the Providence Journal was founded. While the ''Hartford Courant'' became daily in 1837, it still published a weekly edition until 1896. Overall, the Hartford Courant is indeed considered to be the nation's oldest continuously published newspaper, and is cited as such in scholarly articles, standard journalism and historical texts. Joseph Roswell Hawley, a leading Republican politician and former governor of the state, in 1867 bought the newspaper, which he combined with the ''Press.'' Under his editorship, this became the most influential newspaper in Connecticut and one of the leading Republican papers in the country. Emile Gauvreau became a reporter in 1916, and the managing editor in 1919. His energetic and often sensational news policies affronted Charles Clark, the owner and editor. Clark fired him when he refused to stop a series of stories about the exploitation of fake medical diplomas. Gauvreau went on to be a major figure in the New York City Tabloid (newspaper format), tabloid wars of the Roaring Twenties as the first managing editor of the New York Evening Graphic and later m.e. of the New York Mirror. Herbert Brucker was the most prominent editor in the 20th century.
Recent historyThe ''Courant'' was purchased in 1979 by Times Mirror Company, Times Mirror, the ''Los Angeles Times'' parent company. The first years of out-of-town ownership are described by a former ''Courant'' reporter in a book titled ''Spiked: How Chain Management Corrupted America's Oldest Newspaper.'' 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 Connecticut Lottery shooting, 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. In 2000, Times Mirror and the ''Courant'' became part of the Tribune Company, one of the world's largest multimedia companies. By then the ''Courant'' had acquired the Valley Advocate group of "alternative" weeklies started by two former ''Courant'' staff members in 1973. Tribune also owned two local television stations: Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox affiliate WTIC-TV and The CW affiliate WCCT-TV. In 2005, The ''Courant'' became the most recent American newspaper to win the Society for News Design's World's Best Designed Newspaper award. 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 stations. 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. After 2010, ''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 and reduction in pages. Newsroom staff peaked in 1994 at close to 400 staff, down to 175 staff by 2008, and 135 staff in 2009. Tribune Company brought frequent changes in the Courant's top leadership. On Nov. 18, 2013 Tribune appointed Nancy Meyer as Publisher, succeeding Rich Graziano who left to become President/General Manager of WPIX-TV (PIX11) in New York City. In 2014, the ''Courant'' purchased the ''ReminderNews'' chain of weekly newspapers. On October 10, 2014, Tribune Company announced the appointment of Rick Daniels as publisher of the Courant, succeeding Nancy Meyer who was promoted to publisher and CEO of the Orlando Sentinel. Andrew Julien was named the combined publisher and editor in March 2016, replacing Tom Wiley, who departed after two months. In 2018, the Hartford Courant joined more than 300 newspapers in releasing editorials in response to President's Trump's anti-media rhetoric, a show of solidarity initiated by The Boston Globe. "The Hartford Courant joins newspapers from around the country today to reaffirm that the press is not the enemy of the American people.''"'' In October 2020, the ''Courant'' announced that it would be discontinuing printing the paper in Hartford and outsourcing future printing to the ''Springfield Republican'' in Massachusetts. In December 2020, Tribune Publishing announced that it would be closing the ''Courants Broad Street newsroom by the end of the year with no current plans to open another.
News & Editorial* Editor-in-Chief: Andrew Julien * Towns Editor: Alaine Griffin * Investigative/Politics Editor: John Ferraro * Business & Politics Editor: Rick Green * Entertainment & Features Editor: Cindy Kuse * Sports Editor: Dan Brechlin * Breaking News Editor: Rick Green * CTNOW Editor: Cindy Kuse
Pulitzer PrizeNancy Tracy of the Hartford Courant was a 1984 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Feature Writing for her moving depiction of Meg Casey, a victim of premature aging. Robert S. Capers and Eric Lipton of the Hartford Courant won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Journalism for their series on how a flawed mirror built at Connecticut's Perkin-Elmer Corporation immobilized the Hubble Space Telescope. The Hartford Courant Staff won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Reporting for its coverage of a shooting rampage in which a state lottery employee killed four supervisors then himself. Reporters Mike McIntire and Jack Dolan of the Hartford Courant were 2001 Pulitzer Prize Finalists in Investigative Reporting for their work in revealing the mistakes of practicing doctors who have faced disciplinary action. Photojournalist Brad Clift was a 2003 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Feature Photography for his photo series "Heroin Town", which depicted heroin use in Willimantic, Connecticut, Willimantic. Lisa Chedekel and Matthew Kauffman of the Hartford Courant were 2007 Pulitzer Prize Finalists in Investigative Reporting for their in-depth reporting on suicide rates among American soldiers in Iraq which led to congressional and military action addressing the issues raised in the series. The Hartford Courant Staff was a 2013 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for its comprehensive and compassionate coverage of the 2012 shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The paper was given exclusive access originally to the investigative files collected by the FBI on the shooters life, growing up.
PoliticsIn the 2012 Presidential Election, the ''Courant'' endorsed Barack Obama, President Barack Obama for a second term over Republican Mitt Romney. The ''Courant'' weighed in on the contentious and antagonistic 2016 Presidential Election, endorsing Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republican candidate Donald Trump. In August 2018 the ''Courant'' endorsed Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary as the only "credible" choice compared to rival Joe Ganim. The ''Courant'' went on to endorse independent candidate Oz Griebel in the general election. For the 2020 Presidential Election, The ''Courant'' weighed in, endorsing Democrat Joe Biden over Republican candidate Donald Trump. The Courant took a stronger stance in its 2020 endorsement against Trump than it did in 2016, arguing that a vote for Trump was a vote for racism.
Sleepy'sIn August 2009, the ''Courant'' attracted 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 Spike (journalism), spiked an article he had written about an ongoing investigation by the Connecticut Attorney General, Connecticut attorney general accusing Sleepy's (a major advertiser in the paper) of selling used and bedbug-infested mattresses as new. 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." However, Gombossy's attorneys filed a second complaint, and Judge Berger reinstated the complaint. The case headed to trial in the fall of 2011.
PlagiarismIn 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.
Camp CourantFor over 123 years Camp Courant has been a centerpiece in the Hartford community and a welcomed signifier of summer for the city's youth. The camp was founded in 1894 by a group of Hartford Courant employees who wanted to make a difference and today the camp serves over 1,000 of Hartford's children, ages five to 12, generally between 500 - 600 children per day for six weeks each summer. Camp Courant is the largest free summer day camp in the country and is the only summer camp servicing Hartford's inner-city youth. The program provides transportation, preventive and acute health and social work services, two meals a day, and recreational, educational and developmental activities, all at no cost to the camper or their family. The camp totes programming that helps campers develop into healthy, responsible adults. Camp Courant is located on a 36-acre site in Farmington, which is leased from the City of Hartford.
Further reading* McNulty, J. Bard. ''Older than the Nation: The Story of the'' Hartford Courant (1964) * Smith, J. Eugene. ''100 Years of Hartford's'' Courant'': From Colonial Times through the Civil War'' (1949)