After Rick Green justly corrected me for taking an unfair shot at the Courant for missing a story that the paper did, in fact, report, I feel like it’s as good a time as any to explain my love-hate relationship with the paper.
What I love is its willingness to reach for greatness. It dares to tackle subjects such as mental illness in the ranks, the use of improper restraints across the world, the day-in-and-day-out experiences of a Connecticut-based unit in Iraq, the Rowland scandal, and more. That’s something easily overlooked in the frustration of the paper missing this or that local story. The Courant aims to do well on a larger playing field than the Hartford metropolitan area.
I also love lots of lesser things, from the comics to, well, Rick Green. I love its commitment to reasonableness, too.
What I hate is its blandness on too many stories, especially local ones. I hate the way it fails to dig into my town the same way it digs into Lisa Moody’s ethical lapses. I hate the paper’s choice of breadth over depth in its overall town coverage, choosing to give a smattering of news to many towns instead of doing a good job in fewer locales. (That’s why West Hartford is overlooked so much, despite the reality that it’s the core readership of the paper, the retail and subscriber lifeblood of the whole publication.)
I wish it was more transparent about its choices and more willing to raise hell.
And I hope that the new owners won’t keep gutting the damn paper. It’s shrinking before our eyes, week after week, month after month, year after year. It’s useless if it doesn’t have the news.
On balance, to be fair, I love the paper more than I hate it. That’s why I read it every day and usually carefully. I’m old-fashioned enough to find it uniquely satisfying to settle in with the paper and see what’s going on in my town, my state, my nation, and my world.
But thank God for the internet, which makes it possible to fill in all the gaps that the Courant — and any paper — inevitably can’t include.
I just wish the Courant thought West Hartford was worth more attention. I really do.