A legendary New England social club that has claimed Mark Twain and Katherine Hepburn as members — and featured, among a venerable collection of others, John F. Kennedy, Walter Cronkite and Babe Ruth as guests — is turning their members-only newsletter into a subscription magazine.
The 136-year old Hartford Club will launch its bi-monthly business magazine, The Prospect, in October, distributing the 40-page magazine to 10,000 Hartford businesses, professionals and community members.
In his announcement, Vincent Valvo, the magazine’s publisher and editor, said the publication would be “a bona fide magazine that will focus on business, banking, finance and the arts.” He said the publication would also contain articles about why the “Greater Hartford area is a desirable place to live.”
The magazine is not only providing printed news for Hartford’s apparently downtrodden residents — many Hartford Courant staff members who have been swept up in Tribune Co.’s cross-country newsroom layoffs have been asked to freelance for the publication.
But it might take more than a magazine to restore newsroom integrity in the Connecticut capital, especially since Hartford-area news has faced a slew of recent criticism because of staff cuts and questionable editorial choices.
Earlier this week, George Gombossy, a business columnist and former business editor who had worked at the Courant for more than 40 years, was fired after he wrote a critical column about Sleepy’s, one of the paper’s advertisers. But maybe this magazine launch will revive journalistic optimism.
Or…maybe not. Said Paul Stern on the Hartford Courant blog:
It didn’t occur to me … that several Courant refugees, including me, are involved in something that actually qualifies as news.
At least Valvo said he has managed to lure advertising support, even if he hasn’t yet convinced his displaced writers that they are still reporters. Let’s just hope none of the former Courant journalists write unflattering pieces about the Prospect’s new advertisers.