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Tribune Company Turns Its Axe on the Alt-Weekly World

You may not have known this–we actually just found out–but all the while the Zell-era Tribune Company was busy hacking away at the staff and credibility of the LA Times, they were doing the same to a few small, alt-weekly properties in Connecticut–the Hartford and New Haven Advocates and the Fairfield County Weekly. The Times has largely staved off further assaults since then. But the slaughter continues in Connecticut, reports the New Haven Independent.

The Tribune Company just laid off New Haven Advocate publisher Joshua Mamis as well as two graphic designers. Neither the New Haven Advocate nor the Fairfield County Weekly have a staff writer, due to previous layoffs. Mamis actually served as the publisher of all three alt-weeklies, none of whom are apparently going to have a publisher in the near future, as that job will now be centralized out of the Hartford Courant‘s office–which Tribune also owns, and has continued to gut. The Courant just suffered major layoffs, and will now be part of an experiment to use non-local Tribune Company Media on Demand (MoD) McContent instead of local reporting.

Horrific corporate memo after the jump:

To All CT1 Staff Members:

Today, we implemented some important changes within our Hartford newsroom and production operation designed to meet the financial challenges we are currently facing, while maintaining CT1 Media’s position as Connecticut¹s leading source of news and information across multiple platforms.  These changes will allow us to deploy additional resources to areas of the most interest to our readers, viewers and advertisers ­ local news coverage, investigative reporting and 24/7 digital access to breaking news.

As our market continues evolving at a rapid pace, our “digital first” strategy will keep us strong as we move into the future, and CT1 media—including The Hartford Courant, courant.com, Fox Connecticut and ctnow.com—will remain the leading generator of breaking and relevant news content in the state.  We are committed to being Connecticut¹s leader in local and investigative news coverage and we will continue to evolve our digital platforms and products in the immediate future.

These changes will result in a reduction of some positions in the newsroom. While most of these reductions will occur on the news production and administrative side, some editorial positions will also be eliminated.

Other changes are a result of our on-going participation in Media on Demand (MoD), which provides fully edited and designed non-local news and features content for Tribune newspapers and websites.  MoD will expand to take on copy-editing and page design for several newspapers including The Hartford Courant at a center based in the Chicago Tribune newsroom, where the content-sharing hub is located.  This approach, already implemented at the Daily Press, will enable us to improve the efficiency of operations and position us to fulfill our local mission and to meet the challenges of the future.

Staff reductions are never easy.  They are necessary, however, to ensure the financial strength of the organization going forward.  None of these
reductions is a reflection on the work of the people affected, many of whom are longtime employees of The Hartford Courant and have made excellent contributions over the years.

Collectively, the changes we¹ve implemented will reduce expenses and position CT1 Media to capitalize on marketplace opportunities.  We appreciate your continued support and efforts as we implement these changes.

Sincerely,

Rich

Rich Graziano
ceo, president & publisher hartford courant
general manager wtic/wcct

 

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