George Gombossy, the former business editor of the Hartford Courant who was the paper’s consumer advocate for the last three years before being fired for writing a column about a major advertiser, has a letter on the Hartford Advocate’s Web site addressing some of what happened.
Gombossy writes, “The Watchdog was not really the George Gombossy column – it was the people’s column. It was designed that way by me and the initial editors, and that is why it was successful. About 8,000 readers had sent me complaints and suggestions during the past three years.
“The Courant didn’t just fire me and kill my column, The Courant fired the readers and killed their column.
“And as to the only public comment made by the publisher about me, that I was a disgruntled employee, I was one of the happiest staffers at The Courant. I was probably the only one who didn’t have an update resume. I loved what I did, helping our readers – what job can be better than that. And that is why in the last week former staffers — now web designers — Jeanne Leblanc and Tom Twitchell worked round the clock to have Ctwatchdog.com up and running 8 hours after I turned my badge in.
“Advertisers don’t take out ads because they like the columnists or reporters. They take out ads based on a newspaper’s circulation, which is based on its credibility. The less credibility a newspaper has, the less readers it should have. And if that happens everyone will suffer consequences beyond our ability to now measure.”
Read more here.