Toolan to Quit ‘Courant’ for a Top AP Job

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By: E&P Staff

Brian Toolan, editor and senior vice president of the Hartford (Ct.) Courant since 1998, will leave the paper as early as the end of next week to become national editor of the Associated Press, he announced today. The AP calls this a new position, in its own release.

In what his newspaper’s Web site called “an uncharacteristically sentimental” address to the news staff Wednesday morning, Toolan said he was leaving a “special” paper with a talented staff who regularly taught him things he didn’t know.

But Toolan, 56, said he was won over by the chance to direct the large national staff of the AP. “I can’t imagine many jobs that would have that kind of appeal to me,” he said, according to the paper.

The announcement came just two weeks after Publisher Jack Davis announced he would leave the paper at the end of the year. Toolan said this did not inspire his departure.

Davis wrote in a note to staffers that he will conduct a national search for a new editor, but added that it “may well turn out that the best person to be the next great editor of the Hartford Courant is right here in this room.”

He also wrote, “Brian has done a tremendous job leading one of our profession’s strongest news organizations since he came here in February 1998 from the Philadelphia Daily News.

“Brian has built a strong team and established high standards that will serve our readers well in the weeks and years to come, and that will carry us through the transition to a new editor, Davis said.

Among other achievements, Toolan directed Pulitzer-winning coverage as well as the feature “Complicity,” a series of stories that revealed the state’s, and the paper’s, ties to Southern slavery.

The AP release stated: “As national editor, Toolan will be responsible for working with AP’s domestic bureaus to develop coverage of spot news and enterprise for national and international audiences. He also will have ultimate oversight of teams of national reporters covering such areas as health and science, religion and higher education.”

Toolan previously was managing editor, assistant managing editor-news and sports editor of the Philadelphia Daily News. He also has worked at the Baltimore News American, Dayton Journal Herald and Scranton Tribune.

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