Hartford Courant Losing Its “Watchdog”

The Laurel contacted George Gombossy, the Hartford Courant’s high profile “Watchdog” consumer columnist, when we heard that he was leaving the newspaper. Apparently his last day is August 14th. We’ve been told that there were journalistic differences over George’s column, including a specific issue regarding an advertiser that he wanted to cover.
George would only confirm that he is “leaving the Courant after having the honor of working there for 40 years and two months.” But he also confirmed that his departure was not voluntary.
We can’t begin to list the stories that George has broken during his years at the Courant (though the Colonial Realty scandal of the late 80s is a highlight).

George can be contacted through Facebook at George Gombossy, on Twitter at twitter.com/ctwatchdog and on his personal email  ggombossy@gmail.com.


36 Responses

  1. As the late great Red Sox announcer Ned Martin used to say: “Mercy.”

  2. Did you just hear that loud thud? The one that shook your house/apartment? Yep.

    That was the sound of the once mighty newspaper called the Hartford Courant crashing down. Boy, are the times a-changin. Who’s running that dog and pony show over there???

  3. […] Laurel Club has confirmed with George Gombossy, Watchdog consumer columnist, what we’ve been hearing for a couple of […]

  4. Oh No!

    Another disaster!

    How will we access the vital information provided by one of Connecticut’s true champions!

    Damn you Courant — damn you to Hell!

  5. Can I offer my guess based on a phone call from the Editor of The Courant I received recently? Would this be the almighty new advertiser, a bank, First National Bank of Litchfield, where the president of the bank has a picture in the ad where he is hugging himself and his customers’ money? And how I think several disenfranchised customers, i.e., disabled of Torrington, have accounts there taken over by their families and whereby these disabled are neglected by their families and how money is laundered through joint checking accounts with the disabled who don’t have access to the checks? And how they tend to lose signature cards of the disabled, thereby making the money unavailable to them? Is that the story? I think I will cancel all newspapers after this one. I have a love hate relationship now.

  6. This is a far greater loss than the self-important Stan Simpson. The Watchdog was one of the few reasons to purchase this paper. Now there’s one less. Maybe George can be hired by channel 3 or 30 and become the new Mike Bogoslowski (sorry for the spelling).

  7. I guess FOX61 is going to have to edit that commercial for the Morning News featuring the Courant columnists, you know the one with the lady pushing a shopping cart and the guy squirting a hose into the camera lense (haha). In all seriousness, I’d like to see some integrity restored at the Courant. It’s probably not the best time economically, but the triopoly between the Courant, WTIC-TV, and WTXX-TV needs to come to an end. In any other commercial market, consumers fare the best when given adequate choice. This here is a monopoly and the good people are bailing ship faster than it can sink. It’s sad for Connecticut and journalism in general.

  8. Just another sign of how far the Courant has fallen. Current management is just driving the paper into the ground. Can’t say I’m surprised. Management sucks. Anyone want to start a pool on when the last issue will be published?

  9. Adding Gombossy was the ONLY positive change I’ve seen at the Courant in the last year or so. Too good to be true, I suppose….

  10. George, you will be missed! You are among the last of the titans, and all us owe you a beer. Job well done!

  11. Laurelites: Go back to SS’ complaint. You alone cited the sentence about unprofessional dealings with advertisers.
    This is REALLY bad. They fired George Gombossy for not sucking up to an advertiser??? They stopped him from criticizing ad advertiser??? This is REALLY bad

  12. I am shocked to hear this…best of luck to you, George. I’m sure you will land on your feet somewhere.

  13. […] recent post at Hartford Courant Losing Its “Watchdog” says it all; read the full story […]

  14. I can think of a half dozen times when various sales or general managers asked me to go “easy” on an advertiser. That’s why we hurl them from the newsroom whenever possible and then put up another row of razor wire.

    The only thing newspapers and TV have left (since it obviously isn’t people) is their credibility and this mis-management at the Courant/WTIC-TV is doing their best to run that into the ground trying to chase a buck.

  15. itsmoi has hit the nail on the head. The pursuit of the not-so-almighty-dollar blinds one to anything else. Management reminds me of the scorpion riding the frog across the river. It’s not if it’s going to sting you but when.

  16. I can remember a newspaper publisher in a city (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) far, far away and long, long ago, posting a listing on the newsroom bulletin board of firms that we should not patronize because they had reduced or eliminated ads in the paper in the past year. Among the entries was a small church and a big funeral home; the guffaws of laughter in the newsroom registered on the earthquake scale in California thousands of miles away. Contrast that to the editor-in-chief at The Montreal Star (no longer publishing) who, whenever I called him to say we had been served with a court summons that night, would say: “If we didn’t get sued, we wouldn’t be doing our job”

  17. […] more here. Gombossy was the Courant’s business editor for 12 years. Posted by Chris Roush […]

  18. George Gombossy was a hack of the worst kind. He essentially forced Paul Marks and Mark Peters out of the Courant because they refused to ignore the facts and write the stories that George dictated to them. After having laid waste to these two fine reporters, the Courant moved him to the “Watchdog” column so he wouldn’t be burdened by (and they wouldn’t be liable for) his failure to observe anything like journalistic standards. While it is currently not fashionable, reporters are supposed to report the news, not invent it. In fact, reporters are not supposed to care which side wins. There is a reason he worked for the Courant for over forty years without ever rising to any substantial position. All in all, a good day for journalism (even if its a bad day for all his left-wing friends).

  19. Don, that’s not at all the point — even though all your poison is wrong, too. The point is that the Courant dumped a writer on behalf of an advertiser. Do you think that’s OK? The business side got rid of a news side person to protect the interests of an advertiser rather then the reader. You OK with that? Do you have any info that counters the sad truth that the paper’s editorial content is up for sale? You call that a good day for journalism or are you just too gnarled and twisted from what George did to you? The point is not your political bile but the truth that no story can be trusted anymore. OK by you, I guess.

  20. Forty years working for these anonymous editors? There’s a book out there.

  21. Don
    You sure Mark Peters even worked for Gombossy

  22. Actually, “Sad”, that is not the point. Twisting (or passing on) stories is wrong regardless of motivation. Apparently you’re OK with Gombossy’s actions as long as they were supporting the right political point of view. Both Marks and Peters worked for Gombossy during his brief shining moment as business editor – you should talk to them. It might change your viewpoint.

  23. There’s no doubt George broke interesting stories and forced changes that might not have otherwise happened. Of course, George’s strident ways made that happen. Sometimes, those same strident ways work against you, as they did this time for him.

    If there’s a desire to prevent this kind of thing from happening in a commercial driven, private-sector organization, then bring on licensing of journalists and the various standards that could halt capricious actions by private sector, commercial driven organizations.

    Otherwise, Gombossy is just one of many who found themselves in a tight spot in an industry whose lack of regulation allows as much personal thrill to its participants as it does personal disappointment. He knew the risks — or should have after 40 years. No tears here for those who venture into the playground of the First Amendment.

  24. Courant management owes its readers an explanation. Don’t hold your breath.

  25. That’s it! This is the last straw! I am cancelling my HC subscription.

  26. […] 40-year Courant employee and the paper’s estimable consumer “Watchdog” columnist, was let go from the paper earlier this month over a disagreement involving a column he […]

  27. […] The bedbug column The Courant refused to publish about its prime advertiser [Connecticut Watchdog] Hartford Courant Losing Its “Watchdog” [The […]

  28. […] told you last week that 40 year Hartford Courant veteran investigative reporter, business editor, and consumer […]

  29. Please check out my story on George’s dismissal — http://www.watchdognation.com/blog/america-loses-watchdog-columnist/

  30. My HC subscription expires 10–17-09 and I will NOT RENEW it! Most of the time I do not even open the paper anymore. Now that George is gone there is not even one reason left to open it.

  31. I am not cancelling my Hartford Courant. It is the one source I love, as a reference librarian. I just am trying to get an accurate bill for my subscription. It’s pretty funny.

  32. I consent with the first post. This planet would be a healthier place if other persons felt that way.

  33. hi, thanks for sharing with us your these day(14th_aug) expiration. i really geld this post.

  34. Be grateful you for spending time to speak about this, I feel strongly about that and delight in reading read a lot more about this subject. Whenever possible, just like you become expertise, do you mind updating your web web site with a great deal a lot more details? It can be highly wonderful for me. Two thumb up in this article!

  35. Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this site needs much more attention.
    I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the info!

  36. This piece of writing offers clear idea designed for the new viewers of blogging, that in fact how
    to do blogging.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: