By Marcus McDermott|
Last Friday some members of our journalism class took a field trip to Hartford to take a behind the scenes tour of the Hartford Courant and observe how things run at a real newspaper/ news station. After an hour long bus ride with the students from the Humanities class, we arrived at The Hartford Courant building on Broad Street in Hartford. Anticipation building, we walked into the main lobby. We were quickly greeted by our tour guide for the day, Doug Stewart, a web producer for FoxCT and Courant.com, and we began the tour.
We started with a brief history of The Courant. Founded in 1764, the Courant traces its roots back to the Weekly, therefore claiming to be the oldest continually published newspaper in America. Since then the paper has stayed consistent with weekly content. Their TV station existed prior to the merger. They went on the air in 1984 and started doing news in 1989 as the WTIC News at 10. The TV station WTIC merged operations with the Courant in 2009. The TV station started doing about two hours of content a week and has gradually increased until today. They now broadcast for several hours each day and have for the past few years.
We also saw what may have been the first printing press used by our founding fathers. Stewart showed us an example of how newspapers were printed up until the last few decades. Put simply, the printers would make a giant “stamp” out of melted down lead with meticulously placed words and spaces for pictures. These were all backwards so that the sheet could be stamped down the right way. After using the stamp for the day, the lead would be melted down and another made for the next day. This method was later abandoned, however, when people realized how toxic lead was.
Next we visited the actual production studio. We were fortunate enough to meet news anchors Erika Aria and Tim Lammers. They took our questions about news anchoring and gave us some advice about pursuing journalism as a career. They were extremely informative and inspirational. We learned a lot about what being on a news station entails, such as standing for eight hours straight talking to a camera and waking up extremely early in order to get to the station.
After our tour guide Doug Stewart finished the tour, we left the Courant in search of food. We walked a couple of blocks and even passed the State Capitol before we reached the State House where we found a giant food court. After we ate, it was time to take another hour long bus ride back to The Morgan School!
Overall, the trip was incredible, and we’re all very thankful that we were given the opportunity to go to such an amazing place with a rich history. Our tour guide was extremely informative and interesting, and it was a great time. I hope we get to visit The Courant again!