The Hartford Courant announced Friday that it will close its main newsroom on Broad Street as more employees continue to work from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
A spokesperson for the Courant said they do not anticipate having employees that can work remotely come back into the office for the remainder of the year and into 2021.
"With no clear path forward in terms of returning to work, and as the company evaluates its real estate needs in light of health and economic conditions brought about by the pandemic, we have made the difficult decision to permanently close the Hartford Courant office at 285 Broad Street in Hartford as of Dec. 27, 2020," the company said in a statement.
The company said they will reconsider whether or not they need physical offices as the pandemic evolves.
“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," Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Andrew Julien said in an email to Courant staff.
"It’s just kind of one thing after another that shows that the company is less and less interested in investing in the type of journalism that we as reporters work really hard to produce," Hartford Courant Guild member and reporter Alex Putterman said in an interview.
"It's a sad day and a tough blow to see the Tribune Publishing Company close the newsroom and physical headquarters of the oldest continuously published newspaper in America. Robust and trusted local journalism is critical for the health of local democracy, government, and community, and as more and more papers get acquired by hedge funds focused on the bottom line, we should all worry deeply about the relentless pressures and constant chipping away at the resources dedicated to local news," Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said in a statement.
Rep. John Larson also released a statement following the company's announcement.
“The Hartford Courant is America’s oldest continuously published paper. Over its more than 250 year history, the newspaper has broken countless stories and continues to be the paper of record in Connecticut. Over the past several years, reporters and readers have experienced severe cuts to staffing, and today it was announced they will be losing their newsroom. This announcement is very disappointing and I hope Tribune Publishing reverses this decision,” said Larson.
"They are trying to squeeze as much money out of the newspapers the Tribune owns as possible and not really investing in the quality of the journalism," Dean of the Quinnipiac School of Communications, Chris, Roush, said.
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