How’s this? Partner with one of your critics

Our first experiment with the type of partnership I talked about in an earlier post is getting a great reception from readers.

George Gombossy, a former business editor and longtime journalist at the Hartford Courant, has taken his hard-charging and popular investigative reporting consumer advocate column online and built a pretty neat Web site around it. He parted ways with the Courant after the TV people took over and, um, let’s say, changed their philosophy toward the column. He’s suing them now, and has become a pretty blistering and effective critic of everything that is wrong with a big, institutional traditional media outlet.
We’ve started running Gombossy’s column in our Sunday print edition and online in exchange for plugging his Web site. He’s even sending us breaking news throughout the week, which we are running in print with a summary online with a push to his site.
He’s also signed on with our sister papers, the Middletown Press and West Hartford News, was already in papers in Bristol and New Britain, and there could be more such arrangements to come. Pretty soon he’ll have a bigger print distribution in Connecticut than he did with the Courant, and the state has this great consumer advocate and state business and government news Web site improving the state of Connecticut journalism.
What’s neat for me is that George and I started talking about a partnership when I got into a debate with him over legislation that would end the requirement that town governments place paid public notices in newspapers.
Newspaper companies can benefit from partnerships with entrepreneurial new media journalists … even their biggest critics!
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