The Hartford Courant, Connecticut’s largest newspaper, and the oldest continuously published paper in the country, will be closing its physical newsroom by the end of the year, the publication announced Friday.
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Andrew Julien told staff in an email that while it was a difficult choice to close the offices, which have been largely vacant since March due to the pandemic, “This is a decision about real estate needs amid a difficult and challenging time on both the public health and economic fronts.”
“It won’t change the essence of what we do: Delivering the high-impact journalism readers have come to expect from the Courant and crafting creative solutions that meet the needs of our advertising partners,” Julien added.
The paper's offices will officially close on Dec. 27, with reporters continuing to work remotely.
Max Reinsdorf, a spokesman for Tribune Publishing Company, which owns the Courant, reportedly said in an email that the company is “constantly evaluating its real estate needs.”
“As we progress through the pandemic and as needs change, we will reconsider our need for physical offices,” he wrote, according to the Courant.
The news comes after the newspaper announced in October that it would be printed in Springfield, Mass., after more than 250 years of publishing out of Hartford.
Tribune Publishing has also recently shut down other local newsrooms across the country, including the Orlando Sentinel and the New York Daily News.
The Hartford Courant Guild, which includes 50 members of the publication, condemned Friday’s decision on Twitter, writing “Today is a sad day in The Hartford Courant’s history.”
“This is what happens when hedge funds own newspapers,” the group added, referring to Alden Global Capital, which holds partial ownership in Tribune Publishing.
The guild also shared a link to an online petition, titled “Save our Courant,” calling for “owners who care about their communities and understand the value of trusted news, who seek responsible profits, instead of outlandish hedge fund dividends.”
This is what happens when hedge funds own newspapers.— The Hartford Courant Guild (@CourantGuild) December 4, 2020
It’s why we need new ownership immediately.
Please visit https://t.co/GSBfwcBbRo.
Alden has received strong criticism from many across the journalism industry and beyond for seizing control of local newsrooms and cutting employment.
Alden oversees more than 200 news organizations across the country, including the Pulitzer-winning Denver Post, the Los Angeles Daily News and the Boston Herald.
Alden’s managing director, Heath Freeman, in May told The Washington Post that he entered the news industry to “to help fix the broken model,” saying, “I would love our team to be remembered as the team that saved the newspaper business.”
—Updated at 6:58 p.m.