Saturday, November 14, 2009

Asleep in Connecticut

My very first job was at the Hartford Courant's Groton-New London bureau, so I had a very personal interest in the front page New York Times story the other day on how New London was royally screwed by Pfizer--pulling out of a redevelopment project after the city fought up to the Supreme Court, in Kelo vs. New London, to fight for the right to take property for private purposes.

But according to Columbia Journalism Review's Audit column, the local newspapers in Connecticut missed the boat, with both the The Day of New London and the Hartford Courant giving short shrift to the Kelo angle.

The Courant's local bureau was shuttered many years ago for obvious economic reasons. We had very few readers in southeastern Connecticut. But that part of the state generated numerous state-wide stories because of its massive military-industrial complex, which included (and still includes) a big Pfizer plant in Groton.

I can't see the old, stodgy Courant de-emphasizing the national implications of such a story. But the belated response of The Day is even more shocking, because that's long been one of the best small papers in the country. The reaction of the Times was the most comprehensive, but even its take on the story was several days late.

As the Audit points out, blogs and websites got there first. This has been a sad week in Connecticut journalism.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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