Hartford Courant says new site does not have a paywall

Connecticut Newsroom | LA Observed | New Haven Register
The Hartford Courant has a new site called CourantPlus. Matt DeRienzo, group editor of Journal Register Company’s Connecticut papers, calls it a paywall. Print subscribers, he reports, received a postcard offering free access to the site through March 17.

“The Hartford Courant has not implemented a pay-wall,” Courant Publisher Rich Graziano tells Poynter in an email. “What Mr. DeRienzo is referencing is market research.”

CourantPlus is one of many CT1 Media products currently in the research and development phase. CT1 Media is acutely customer-focused. We continuously create new and innovative products that satisfy the ever-changing needs and desires of our audience – readers, viewers and advertisers. We have made no determination about launching CourantPlus, its accessibility or pricing requirements.

CourantPlus certainly looks nicer than Courant.com, with a much less cluttered presentation, much like The Boston Globe’s premium site.

The Courant is the only Tribune Co.-owned daily newspaper to operate without a paywall. Tribune emerged from bankruptcy at the end of 2012 and is reportedly intent on selling its newspapers. In a memo to staffers Tuesday, new Tribune CEO Peter Liguori singled out the Courant for praise twice. The letter’s positive tone was remarkable to LA Observed Editor Kevin Roderick, who says Liguori’s “no Sam Zell” and “appears to have more respect for his employees.”

In other Nutmeg State media news, Luther Turmelle reports the employees of Journal Register’s Connecticut papers received notices from their presumptive new owner, 21st CMH Acquisition Co., that they may not be rehired when the company emerges from bankruptcy. JRC declared bankruptcy in September. Digital First Media Vice President Jonathan Cooper tells Poynter in an email all JRC employees, in every market, received the notices, which a turnaround professional told Turmelle are “quite common in bankruptcy proceedings.”

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