Union leaders and management at the Hartford Courant spoke out Thursday about legislation that would allow Courant subscribers to sue the paper’s owners over cost-cutting measures. Mark Pazniokas of the nonprofit CT Mirror — himself a Courant alumcovers the story.

As expected, management and an association of newspaper publishers criticized the measure as an assault on the First Amendment, while proponents cited an 1887 charter that the legislature granted to the Courant. That charter was revised in 1951.

“So there is a history of the legislature passing special acts about the corporate structure of the parent company of the Hartford Courant,” said Sen. Matt Lesser, according to the Mirror’s report. “That is different from me going in and saying, ‘I’m looking to manage the news operations of the publication.’”

The legislation is aimed at blocking the Courant’s owner, Tribune Publishing, from selling to the hedge fund Alden Global Capital. Tribune has been cutting deeply at the Courant, but Alden has an unparalleled reputation for slashing its news coverage.

Also, fun fact: The Mirror’s story was picked up by the Courant.

Update: Here is the full text of the bill. The state attorney general would also have standing to sue.




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