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Another Hartford Courant Bombshell

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by TheFurnace, May 4, 2009.

  1. TheFurnace

    TheFurnace New Member

    Cliff Teutsch and Bobbie Roessner, the top 2 editors at the Courant, and two of the longest-tenured at the paper ... FIRED!

    The only silver lining is Naedine Hazell, a very sharp cookie, is now in charge.

    Here's the memo:

    Cliff Teutsch and Bobbie Roessner will be leaving the Hartford Courant, effective tomorrow. Cliff and Bobbie have been guiding forces here at The Courant for more than two decades. I have known both of them for several years and have always been impressed with their passion for quality journalism. Their record of accomplishments speaks for itself.

    Cliff began his journalism career with The Courant in 1980 as a reporter in the Willimantic Bureau. Over the years, he has held a number of reporting and editor positions with the company, culminating with a promotion to editor and vice president in 2006. Under Cliff’s leadership, the news room broke the investigative series, “Mentally Unfit, Forced to Fight,” asserting that the military was increasingly sending, keeping and redeploying mentally ill soldiers into combat in violation of its own policies and mandates from Congress. Because of the report, legislation was later passed to help address the flaws in the military's mental health system.

    Bobbie began her long and successful career with the company in 1978 as a reporter and has held several positions including associate editor, deputy managing editor and most recently, managing editor. In 2004, she completed a Knight Fellowship in Journalism at Stanford University. Last year, Bobbie oversaw the redesign of the newspaper giving it a new look, new sections and more than 40 new features, all with a stronger emphasis on Connecticut news.

    Naedine Hazell has accepted the enormous responsibility of becoming interim editor. In the short time I have known Naedine, I have been very impressed with the contributions she has made and continues to make to the company. Many folks have told me of the excellent work she has done in her two months leading our digital efforts. The recent gains in online traffic bear that out. The Hartford Courant’s website, courant.com, continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. In March 2009, courant.com had 2.4 million unique users and over 23 million page impressions – a 20% increase over March 2008. Additionally, her depth of knowledge, versatility and strong sense of vision will allow us to maintain the extraordinary level of quality that Courant readers have come to expect from us, while we rapidly work to develop the newsroom of the future.

    The past year has brought extraordinary change to our company, and the speed of transformation is likely to continue, even accelerate over the coming months. Recently, the focus has been on reducing costs in order to keep The Courant from falling into the red. We still will continue to effectively manage costs; however, the predominant changes over the coming months will focus on the positive - rebuilding our organization in order to meet the ever-morphing needs of our readers and audiences. We will work diligently to establish the best structure to channel our passions and work in order to expand our content over three platforms - print, online and television.

    I know you will want to show your appreciation for the immeasurable contributions Cliff and Bobbie have made to the Hartford Courant. Please also join me in offering support to Naedine as she takes on her new role, working with all of us to preserve and develop the important place this institution plays in Connecticut life.

    I realize you will have many questions and be looking for more information on these changes. Naedine and I will hold a short meeting today on the newsroom floor at 5:15 p.m.
  2. SockPuppet

    SockPuppet Active Member

    If a bombshell explodes on SportsJournalists.com and nobody replies, did it really explode?
  3. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    I don't know much about the Courant, but after all the layoff threads we have had about them, I cannot believe they have employees left to fire.

    The Courant's name appears on this board much more than other newspapers', IMO.
  4. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    My impression was that Teutsch and Roessner left voluntarily, at least as "voluntarily" as anybody leaves these days.
  5. IGotQuestions

    IGotQuestions Member

    If they were fired, a memo praising them like this one does would not have been sent to the employees. Sounds like some kind of voluntary or mutual severance/layoff.
  6. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    It seems to me they were sufficiently humiliated by recent events and didn't have much choice:

    Here's Cliff's departing memo:


    Here's Bobbie's:

  7. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Poynter posted a note that said when the ME got fired, the editor quit in protest, or something like that.
    I suspect that the Courant gets so much SportsJournalists.com love is that because in the Trib 6, The Courant is the one imploding the fastest and most spectacularly.
    It is hard to find a major paper more mismanaged than the Atlanta J-C, but the Courant might beat the AJC in a race to the bottom.
    My best guess is that the Courant will be the first of the Trib 6 papers to make some radical move like suspending daily delivery and only do weekends, assuming that some sucker UConn fan can't be found to buy the paper from them.
  8. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Personally, I used to write (and drink) alongside a lot of great people from the Courant and still count many of them among friends, so I tend to watch the Tribune Co.'s atrocities through the eyes of the Courant. I'm sure the same stuff is happening at the other five.

    But having been around the Courant and its people in its heyday with the Times-Mirror chain, when it was devoted to high standards of quality, it's particularly disheartening to see great news people treated this way.
  9. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    I trust that Naedine is a very sharp cookie and I wish her the best of luck.

    But if another DUI story had come out involving the same guy as before, I would have had the state investigate this paper.
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