NB Politicus

Courant Drops Gombossy and Its Editorial Integrity

Posted in journalism by nbpoliticus on August 19, 2009

Achieving distinction for editorial page leadership and substantial news presentation were the Providence Journal and Bulletin and the Hartford Courant…..The Hartford Courant, begun as the weekly Connecticut Courant in 1764 and claimant to the longest publishing record in America, was kept at a high level by publisher John B.Reitemeyer and editor Herbert Brucker.

from author Edwin Emery’s The Press and America, 2nd edition. Prentice -Hall Journalism Series, 1954, 1962. p. 749.

This month the bygone publisher and editor of the Courant mentioned in my old journalism school textbook are probably rolling over in their graves.

The abrupt dismissal of Courant consumer reporter George Gombossy leaves little doubt that the journalistic credibility of a newspaper that occupies such an important place in U.S. history is permanently damaged. Permanent means forever. But the tag may stick as long as the bankrupt Tribune company and current management run things over on Broad Street.

Gombossy, a 40-year employee and former business page editor, filed a story in early August about alleged sleazy sales by Sleepy’s, the big mattress seller, that are being investigated by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Sleepy’s is a big advertiser and the decision to hold the story has a journalistic mortal sin all over it.

Gombossy’s fate, however, is getting plenty of play in the blogosphere and drew New York Times’ coverage that must be giving Courant management and Sleepy’s all the damage control they can handle.

Gombossy is talking to a lawyer and, with the help of former Courant staffers, has a first rate consumer web site up and running (www.ctwatchdog.com) complete with the story that was held up.

And looking ahead The Courant faces a difficult challenge to restore journalistic integrity in its greatly diminished “news presentation” as another of its seasoned and respected journalists departs.

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