Printer Friendly

'Transcript': resignations 'spring cleaning.' ('Catholic Transcript' newspaper)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Catholic Transcript, the weekly newspaper of the Hartford, Conn., archdiocese, recently published an editorial charging that the former editor lacked journalistic experience, mismanaged the paper financially and damaged staff morale.

In response, David Fortier, who resigned as editor of the Transcript, labeled the editorial as "stupid, insensitive and inappropriate." Fortier and the news editor resigned, saying the policies of Archbishop Daniel A. Cronin had compromised the newspaper's journalistic integrity.

The editorial board members -- two priests and a laywoman -- also resigned, saying the conditions that had forced Fortier to leave would also inevitably compromise their journalistic standards.

In its March 19 issue, the Transcript's temporary acting editor, Anne Marie Monteiro, wrote a scathing editorial about the dispute. She began with flowery images of imminent daffodils, crocuses and tulips, then used the resignations as a metaphor for necessary "spring cleaning."

"Their reason for leaving was that their journalistic integrity was threatened by the archbishop's active role in the Transcript," the editorial stated. "This is where the staff's journalistic inexperience is evident." Monteiro added that neither Fortier nor Keyes "had any extended schooling in journalism."

Monteiro said that during the time of Archbishop John F. Whealon, who died in August 1991, the editorial staff enjoyed "free rein" regarding content of the newspaper. "However, at any other newspaper or magazine, it is expected that the publisher screens controversial articles, changes copy and even pulls articles that do not reflect the publication's policy," the editorial said.

"The operating deficit the Transcript accrued over Fortier's term as editor (close to $1 million) is evidence of his inability to perform the job he was hired to do. ... The burden of continuing in a position for which he was not qualified seemed to affect his attitude and, in turn, the morale of his entire staff."

Fortier told NCR that most of his journalism experience came at the Transcript, where he began as a reporter in 1985. Three years later, he became the newspaper's editor. "What's important is the actual experience," he said. "We brought the paper from something that was not being read to something that was being read." He noted that the Transcript became a consistent Catholic Press Association award winner.

Fortier said he inherited a deficit of about $250,000 when he was named editor. "Every year I was there, we reduced the deficit," he said. "In three years we got it down to under $100,000."

Contrary to the editorial, Fortier said morale suffered because, for the first time in the history of the Transcript, which was founded in 1829, Cronin appointed an executive director for the newspaper, Father John P. Gatzak. Fortier said Gatzak began to interfere with the editors' decisions, turning the Transcript into a public relations vehicle for Cronin.

Father Richard McBrien, University of Notre Dame theologian, who is often critical of the church hierarchy in his columns for the Transcript, told NCR: "While I am distressed by the recent disruption at the Transcript and while I have great personal respect and affection for the former editor and his staff, I wish the paper well in this next phase." He said he plans to continue writing his column, which has been published in the Transcript for 27 years.
COPYRIGHT 1993 National Catholic Reporter
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Beach, Randy
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Date:Apr 2, 1993
Previous Article:Nun's murder rocks Baltimore.
Next Article:Sanchez asks pope's permission to resign.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters