A major dive into the brewing battle between the Baltimore Banner and the Baltimore Sun by the New York Times has us wondering about comparisons to the Connecticut news market.
The Banner is a new online publication that got up and running a few weeks ago. It is financed by Stewart Bainum, Jr., a businessman who unsuccessfully tried to buy the Baltimore Sun, but lost in a bidding war to Alden Global Capital. As you know, Alden also owns the Hartford Courant, and has a reputation for cutting costs so deeply it is difficult to actually cover the news.
The Baltimore battle for local news supremacy is easily defined as the Sun vs. the Banner, but in Connecticut it is more complicated and in some ways more encouraging, because several organizations can be said to be playing to fill the void left by the Courant’s present ownership.
The CT Mirror was founded in part as an early reaction to cost cutting at the Courant under previous ownership.
The leadership of CT Public(WNPR) has recently publicly proclaimed that its goal is to become the most important news source in Connecticut.
Hearst CT Media owns most of the daily newspapers in Connecticut and recently announced an expansion into the Hartford market, though it does not own any dailies in Hartford.
And at the Courant itself, The Laurel has recently reported on a hiring spree that began in March.
The Connecticut news market is active with owners, investors, and non-profits who believe there is an audience for local news, but the nature of the competition has shifted in the last several decades and it is difficult to predict if any of the current participants will emerge – uncontested – as Connecticut’s news leader.