Hartford Publisher to Head Advocate-Weekly Chain Under Times-Mirror.
Francis J. Zankowski, publisher of the Hartford Advocate, was named Chief Executive Officer of New Mass Media, Inc., publisher of the Advocate-Weekly group of alternative weeklies on Thursday, August 5.
Zankowski will be responsible for the operations of the five papers, with a combined circulation of 270,000 weekly: The Hartford Advocate, the New Haven Advocate, and the Fairfield County Weekly in Connecticut; the Valley Advocate in Massachusetts; and the Westchester County Weekly in New York.
The Advocate-Weekly papers were purchased by the daily Hartford Courant in April. (The Courant is in turn owned by the media conglomerate Times Mirror Company.) The sale provoked widespread criticism in the alternative weekly business and inspired a lawsuit to block the sale, which is still pending in federal court. At the AAN convention in May, the Advocate-Weekly papers survived initial attempts at expulsion from the organization.
Zankowski spoke enthusiastically about his new role. “I look forward to building up these newspapers and fulfilling our mission as alternative papers.”
When news of the sale first broke, Zankowski said he “promised to build a firewall” between the Hartford Advocate and the Courant. Now he plans to make alternative integrity a priority for all five papers.
“When it’s important that we accentuate the differences [between the Courant and the weeklies], we will not just accentuate them, we’ll make it obvious.”
Zankowski will report to Tom Anischik, vice president of new ventures and production for the Courant and will continue as publisher of the Hartford Advocate until a replacement is hired.