The Nation’s Oldest Continuously Published Newspaper, the Hartford Courant, Will Now be Printed in Springfield, Massachusetts

From a Hartford Courant story by Kenneth R. Gosselin about the newspaper outsourcing the printing of its newspaper:

The Hartford Courant announced Monday that the newspaper will now be printed in Springfield, ending more than 250 years of publication in Connecticut’s capital city.

The outsourcing will eliminate 151 jobs at the Courant’s plant on Broad Street. . . .The shift from Hartford will not affect distribution and circulation of the paper, which is the nation’s oldest continuously published newspaper. The paper began as a newsweekly on Oct. 29, 1764.

“The Courant remains committed to its mission of telling the stories of the people of Connecticut,” said Andrew Julien, the Courant’s Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. “We are not in any way changing the mission of the paper.”

The Springfield Republican newspaper will take over printing of the paper by the end of the year.

A decades-long decline in advertising revenue across the newspaper industry deepened with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year. Nationwide, newspaper financial woes have intensified, amid reader shifts to more fragmented, digital consumption of news and consolidation under corporate ownership.

For years, newspapers have sought to cut expenses by outsourcing printing operations. Earlier this month the Philadelphia Inquirer said it would close its printing plant and shift production to an outside contractor. The Miami Herald also outsourced printing this year, as did papers in nearby Northampton and Greenfield, Massachusetts.

Although newspapers have accelerated their push into digital delivery of news, it came late, forcing publishers to play catch-up. The relocation of printing of the Courant could signal a more intense focus on its digital offerings.

A history of The Courant, published for the newspaper’s 250th anniversary in 2014, noted the paper had been printed on its own presses with only two exceptions: for four days during the flood of 1936 when the New Britain Herald published the Courant and one day during the flood of 1955 when the Courant’s rival The Hartford Times printed the paper.

Earlier this year, Tribune Publishing Co., the Courant’s Chicago-based parent, said it would close five newsroom spaces, including the Daily News in New York and the Orlando Sentinel in Florida. Those newspapers are continuing to publish, with reporters, editors and photographers working at home as they had been doing during the pandemic. Courant reporters and photographers have been working remotely during the pandemic.

Monday’s announcement did not address the future of the newsroom in Hartford.

Two months ago, the Hartford City Council passed a resolution urging Tribune Publishing’s largest shareholder, Alden Global Capital, a New York-based hedge fund, to “cease any further layoffs that have decimated the staff.”

Tribune Publishing, a Chicago-based media company also publishes the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun and other daily papers.

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