Tribune combining Hartford operations


“This is the future of media,” declared Tribune Company COO Randy Michaels as he announced that the company’s TV duopoly and the Hartford Courant newspaper will be brought under one roof later this year. TV Sr. VP/GM Richard Graziano is now Publisher of the newspaper as well.

“Whether in print, over the air, or online—the delivery mechanism isn’t as important as the unique, rich nature of the content provided. Bringing these media properties together will enable us to bring more resources to our news coverage, improving and expanding what we can offer readers, viewers and advertisers in the area,” Michaels continued in making the announcement that Tribune is merging its Hartford newspaper and TV operations to create Connecticut’s largest news-gathering operation.

The physical merger won’t take place until later this year, although Graziano is now running all of the company’s operations in Hartford. Construction is expected to begin this summer on creating a state-of-the-art high-definition television studio in the Courant’s newsroom. WTIC-TV (Fox) and WTXX-TV (CW) will originate their news broadcasts from that new studio. Tribune said WTIC plans to expand its news offerings by adding two half-hour broadcasts, one at noon and another at 6:00 pm. Between them, the two stations currently provide 33 hours of news each week.

Graziano has been overseeing the two Hartford TV stations since 2005 and last July was promoted to Sr. VP, with oversight of the company’s stations in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

“We are focused on serving Hartford and Connecticut and Rich is the best person to lead our efforts. He’s talented, experienced, and has great leadership skills. But most importantly, Rich knows the market better than anyone,” said Ed Wilson, President of Tribune Broadcasting.

The Hartford Courant, which began publishing in October 1764, is reported to have a circulation of 164,338 for the daily editions and 234,514 for the Sunday edition. Tribune Company says the Courant reaches more than 800,000 consumers in print and online each week.

RBR/TVBR observation: No doubt there will be some grumbling in the newspaper ranks at Tribune. We couldn’t help but notice that the Courant’s website featured a photo of the ousted publisher, but not the new boss. Meanwhile, the company press release featured comments from Ed Wilson, President of Tribune Broadcasting. Tribune is clearly being driven by people who come from the radio and TV world, not newspaper publishing. But, is this what is necessary to maintain the Hartford Courant’s claim on the title of America’s oldest continuously published newspaper? It may well be.