Hartford Courant Seeks Consumer Affairs Reporter To Kowtow To Advertisers

Remember George Gombossy? He's the longtime Hartford Courant reporter who was fired after filing a column exposing the shady practices of the Manny Noriega-esque mattress retailer, Sleepy's. Well, the Courant's looking for his replacement. Future of consumer journalism, your qualifications:

4 Year Degree. B.A.; Graduate degree preferred. Minimum two plus years reporting/writing for online or print publication. Broadcast experience is a plus. Excellent writing, reporting and editing skills. Comfortable with broadcast reporting and on the air.

Can't teach an old reporter new tricks? Guess not. It looks the the Courant—whether or not they got rid of Gombossy because he wrote about one of their primary advertisers or because of "restructuring"—wants to take this position 2.0. Or as they note in the description:

Ground breaking three-platform journalist, reporting and writing three signed columns a week, a blog and reporting/writing/producing television reports on all consumer topics including airlines, health, retail, energy, housing, food, appliances, electronics, cars, insurance, computers and more. Reports must include information useful to consumers and actionable including web sites and telephone numbers...

Apparently, information useful to consumers doesn't include the kind of business the good folks at Sleepy's practice, since they never ran the column. Or any other kind of substantial information. Gombossy's editor explained to the Times:

Ms. Hazell, who also attended the meeting, had a different recollection. "We said we wanted to go to more helpful news, and less gotcha news," she said.

In case you couldn't tell, in this context, "gotcha" is a shitty euphemism for "investigative."

Hartford Courant Seeks Consumer Affairs Reporter To Kowtow To Advertisers

Gombossy's story unravels: the Courant wanted to "restructure" the position to be that of blog overseer, too, which includes full-out censorship of comments. This, coming from the nation's oldest newspaper. George's employment and tenure with the Courant ended around there.

So! Score one for consumer reviews that don't actually involve, you know, really reviewing anything. As opposed to knowing whether or not your Sleepy's mattress will have bedbugs, you will now know how fluffy your Sleepy's mattress will be. Useful information, to be sure. But can you bounce a quarter on it? We eagerly await the Courant's "helpful" analysis that'll come at the nice premium of $45-$50K/year to Hartford's newspaper reading populace.