Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tribune to Merge Newspaper and TV Operations in Hartford

Tribune Press Release

Courant, WTIC-TV and WTXX-TV Join Forces in Connecticut’s Largest Newsroom
Richard Graziano Appointed as Courant’s Publisher

CHICAGO, March 30, 2009 -- Tribune Company today announced that it will bring the operations of the Hartford Courant and those of WTIC-TV and WTXX-TV together under one roof later this year, creating the largest print/broadcast news-gathering operation in Connecticut.

The combined entities will be led by Richard Graziano, senior vice president/general manager of the two television stations, who has been named publisher of Courant effective immediately.

"This is the future of media," said Randy Michaels, Tribune’s chief operating officer."Whether in print, over the air, or online -- the delivery mechanism isn’t as important as the unique, rich nature of the content provided. Bringing these media properties together will enable us to bring more resources to our news coverage, improving and expanding what we can offer readers, viewers and advertisers in the area."

Following the move, WTIC-TV and WTXX-TV will begin broadcasting news from a state-of-the-art, high-definition studio located in the Courant’s newsroom. Construction of the studio is expected to begin later this summer. WTIC-TV also plans to expand its news offerings by adding two half-hour broadcasts, one at noon and another at 6 p.m. Between them, the two stations currently provide 33 hours of news each week to viewers in Hartford.

Graziano has overseen Tribune’s Hartford television stations since 2005, and last July was promoted to senior vice president/general manager, assuming additional oversight responsibility for the company’s stations in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. He is a veteran broadcast executive with a proven track record of success in Connecticut. WTIC-TV has grown market share consistently over the last four years, and its 10 p.m. news is #1 with viewers.

"We are focused on serving Hartford and Connecticut and Rich is the best person to lead our efforts," said Ed Wilson, president of Tribune Broadcasting. "He’s talented, experienced, and has great leadership skills. But most importantly, Rich knows the market better than anyone."

The Courant reaches more than 800,000 consumers in print and online each week and is the oldest continuously published newspaper in the United States. WTIC-TV and WTXX-TV are the only television stations remaining in Hartford that originate local news from the city, an important distinction for Graziano.

"This move is a demonstration of our commitment to news and to downtown Hartford," said Graziano. "The people who live and work in this area have been through a lot recently and the local economy is tough, but the folks here are resilient and dedicated to making things better for themselves and their communities. So are we."

Bringing the Courant and the television stations together will also benefit advertisers, creating a more efficient one-stop operation for print, broadcast and online ad sales.

Steve Carver, who has served as the Courant’s publisher since November 2006, will leave the company following a short transition period.

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