By: E&P Staff and The Associated Press
Like other Tribune Co. newspapers, the Hartford Courant is undergoing a radical re-organization, and it got off to a rocky start today with the news that the paper’s two top editors are exiting — overnight.
In the latest news, Editor Cliff Teutsch tells the staff in a memo, “The editor’s job just doesn’t fit me anymore the way it needs to. Important work demands to be done here by an editor who is in synch with those above him. My best assessment is I’m not that editor. [Content director] Jeff [Levine] asked me to stick around for several weeks while we decided whether the fit was right; leaving now is my call.”
Naedine Hazell, an assistant managing editor, has been named interim editor. Last week, Jeff Levine was named the Courant’s “director of content.”
This memo and an earlier one from the paper’s management are at Romenesko:
UPDATE FROM AP
The Hartford Courant’s top two editors have resigned and will be replaced by an interim editor, a month after financially-troubled Tribune Co. announced the newspaper would combine its operations with two Connecticut television stations.
The departures of Editor Cliff Teutsch and Managing Editor Barbara Roessner were announced Monday on the newspaper’s Web site by senior vice president Jeff Levine, who was named last week to oversee news operations for the Courant and WTIC-TV.
They are being replaced by Naedine Hazell, who has been the top editor of the Courant’s Web site and will serve as interim editor.
“Cliff and Bobbie have been guiding forces here at The Courant for more than two decades. I have known both of them for several years and have always been impressed with their passion for quality journalism,” Levine said in a memo to the staff.
Teusch, in an e-mail to staff obtained by The Associated Press, said the decision to leave was his.
“The editor’s job just doesn’t fit me anymore the way it needs to,” Teusch said. “Important work demands to be done here by an editor who is in sync with those above him. My best assessment is I’m not that editor.”
Teusch said Levine asked him to remain for several more weeks, but he chose to resign effective Tuesday.
“Leaving now is my call,” he said.
Roessner did not immediately return a telephone call Monday.
Teutsch and Roessner held the editor and managing editor jobs since 2006. Teutsch has been with the Courant since 1980 and Roessner since 1978.
But the industrywide decline in advertising that pushed Chicago-based Tribune into bankruptcy late last year has dramatically altered the Courant’s newsroom. A February layoff reduced the newsroom staff to 135, just more than half the number of people in the Courant’s newsroom last year.
The Courant last September unveiled a dramatic redesign, spearheaded by Roessner, that printed the newspaper’s name vertically down the left side of Page 1, reduced the news hole and launched dozens of new columns and features emphasizing Connecticut news. The redesign also coordinated the print edition with the newspaper’s Web site.
In March, Tribune replaced publisher Steve Carver with Richard Graziano, who retained his role as general manager of WTIC-TV and WTXX-TV.
The Courant is the nation’s oldest continuously published newspaper with a weekday circulation of about 165,000 and Sundays at 235,000.