The Hartford Courant: Telling Stories Before We Became A Nation

By: Press Release | The Hartford Courant

It was nearly 12 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed that another important and historic work was printed — the very first edition of what is today The Hartford Courant.  

The Hartford Courant, the nation’s oldest continuously published newspaper, is marking its 250th anniversary with a yearlong celebration of the moments that have shaped the state, nation and readers’ lives, from before the American Revolution to today.  

“Over the course of our 250-year history, The Hartford Courant has evolved from a four-page weekly into an award-winning, historic and iconic news brand, providing print and online news 24/7,” said Nancy A. Meyer, the newspaper’s publisher. “We take great pride in being an integral part of the lives of Connecticut’s neighborhoods, and invite everyone to join us in the celebration of the past and future of our communities, state and nation.”  

During 2014, the paper is looking back at the unforgettable moments and stories it has brought to its readers, as it also looks to providing timely news in a rapidly changing landscape. All year, The Hartford Courant is featuring special content built around monthly themes that highlight Connecticut’s culture and history — from great moments in sports to great innovations, changes in society to changing landscapes. The retrospective is both a nod to the past and a hint of the paper’s bright digital future.   

“While we have told the stories, they aren’t really ours — they’re everyone’s,” said Editor Andrew Julien. “This is a unique opportunity to look back at the events that have shaped us and our communities, and look ahead to the future we’re all currently writing.”  

Throughout the year, there will be opportunities for readers to participate, by sharing stories and memories on The Hartford Courant’s social media sites: Facebook ( HartfordCourant) and Twitter (@HartfordCourant), using the hashtag #Courant250.  

“The tremendous growth of our digital, mobile and social platforms allows us to reach readers in new ways and for them to reach out to us,” said Christine W. Taylor, digital platform manager. “Our readers are an invaluable resource who provide a personal narrative to the story of the paper.”  

A brief history of The Hartford Courant  

The Hartford Courant was founded on October 29, 1764, as a weekly newspaper (The Connecticut Courant) and has never missed a publication since its inception. Thomas Green, the paper’s founder, sold clothing, stationery, hardware and spices out of a store in front of The Hartford Courant’s office in Hartford to keep the paper in business. In 1913, the publication launched its Sunday edition.  

The paper won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism for a series of stories on the flaws that plagued the Hubble telescope, and the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for the in-depth coverage of the tragic events of the shooting at Connecticut Lottery headquarters.  

In 2013, The Hartford Courant was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in the Breaking News category for “complete and sensitive coverage” of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and for “using digital tools, as well as traditional reporting, to tell the story quickly while portraying the stunned community’s grief.”  

Historical facts about The Hartford Courant  

•       George Washington placed an ad in The Hartford Courant to lease part of his Mount Vernon land

•       Noah Webster’s “Blue-Backed Speller” was first published in The Hartford Courant

•       Thomas Jefferson sued The Hartford Courant for libel — and lost

•       Mark Twain tried to buy stock in The Hartford Courant but his offer was turned down  

For a video of The Hartford Courant’s 250th celebration, please visit:

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