Pub­lisher clos­ing five lo­cal pa­pers

The News-Times - - BUSINESS - By Alexan­der Soule In­cludes prior re­port­ing by John Burge­son. Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @ca­soul­man

HAN Net­work is shut­ting down five of its south­west­ern Con­necti­cut weekly news­pa­pers, with the com­pany’s CEO cit­ing “eco­nomic forces” in a no­ti­fi­ca­tion to sub­scribers.

Ridge­field-based HAN is end­ing pub­li­ca­tion of the Eas­ton Courier, Mon­roe Courier, Red­ding Pi­lot, Strat­ford Star and We­ston Fo­rum. The com­pany will con­tinue publishing the Darien Times, Mil­ford Mir­ror, New Canaan Ad­ver­tiser, Ridge­field Press, Shel­ton Her­ald, Trum­bull Times and Wil­ton Bul­letin.

Sub­scribers can in­quire about re­funds on­line, via email at hancir­cu­la­tion@gmail.com or by call­ing 203-293-9744.

“News­pa­per­ing is a busi­ness we truly love and it sad­dens us to leave af­ter such a long run,” stated HAN Net­work CEO Martin Her­sam in a no­ti­fi­ca­tion to Strat­ford Star sub­scribers. “Un­for­tu­nately we could not op­er­ate at a fi­nan­cial loss ... any longer.”

News­pa­pers and other pub­lish­ers were hit with ad­di­tional costs this year af­ter the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion slapped tar­iffs on newsprint im­ports from Canada as the U.S. Depart­ment of Com­merce in­ves­ti­gated claims that Cana­dian pro­duc­ers were en­gag­ing in un­fair trade prac­tices by un­der­pric­ing the pa­per they sold.

In Au­gust, the U.S. International Trade Com­mis­sion over­turned those du­ties on grounds U.S. newsprint pro­duc­ers were not be­ing harmed by the prices set by Cana­dian im­porters.

“There was lit­tle ben­e­fit (to the tar­iffs), while the harm ex­tended to our lo­cal news­pa­pers, the re­porters and staff they em­ploy, and the com­mu­ni­ties they serve,” U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, DConn., told Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia in Au­gust. “These tar­iffs made no sense.”

Alexan­der Soule / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

The Red­ding Pi­lot and The Ridge­field Press on a rack on in Red­ding on Thurs­day. Pub­lisher HAN Net­work an­nounced plans to cease pub­li­ca­tion of The Red­ding Pi­lot and four other weekly news­pa­pers in south­west­ern Con­necti­cut, while con­tin­u­ing the Ridge­field Press and 10 more in the re­gion.

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