A sign that reads "Journal Inquirer" in front of a yellow building
Sources at The Journal Inquirer newspaper on Progress Drive in Manchester say the company is about to be purchased by Hearst Communications Inc. Credit: Doug Hardy / CTNewsJunkie

Hearst Connecticut Media Group is about to complete its purchase of the family-owned newspaper this weekend and is expected to take over operations starting Monday.

Sources at The Journal Inquirer did not provide details of the purchase price.

As an afternoon tabloid, The Journal Inquirer – also commonly referred to as the JI – was unique in Connecticut. Now the newspaper is following the route laid out by many before it, as the Hearst Connecticut Media Group continues its move into the Hartford area in direct competition with The Hartford Courant, which is owned by Alden Global Capital.

CTInsider, Hearst’s umbrella website for its news operations in Connecticut, announced plans to acquire the company today.

“In anticipation of an agreement to acquire the Journal Inquirer, we are excited about the prospect of integrating the Journal Inquirer into the Hearst Connecticut Media Group,” Mike DeLuca, HCMG group publisher and president, said in a statement.

The Manchester-based JI produces three daily editions covering 19 towns including Andover, Bolton, Coventry, East Hartford, East Windsor, Ellington, Enfield, Glastonbury, Hebron, Manchester, Somers, South Windsor, Stafford, Suffield, Tolland, Vernon, Willington, Windsor, and Windsor Locks.

The JI is published Monday through Friday in the afternoon and Saturday morning. 

In addition to its coverage of municipal government in its towns, the JI established itself for its coverage of sports and the state Capitol.

Former managing editor Chris Powell, who often took an unapologetic conservative stance on many issues, was also well read – even if his opinions weren’t always popular. 

“The Journal Inquirer’s news and opinion columns are more accessible to its readers. In these circumstances the truth is more likely to emerge, and the people will be served better,” according to the JI’s website. “The Journal Inquirer seeks to inform and to entertain, and, where possible, to inform entertainingly. It seeks not only to watch government but also to reflect the life of its towns so well that the ties of community are strengthened.”

The newspaper was also unique in Connecticut in that a woman held the position of publisher. Elizabeth Ellis was publisher from 1970 until she died in 2020.

What ended up as a well-known, regional newspaper started with Neil Ellis, Elizabeth’s husband who was also a real estate developer.

Neil Ellis initially bought two weekly papers – the Rockville Journal and South and East Windsor Inquirer – that he then merged into the daily Journal Inquirer in 1968, according to the website. 

While Wikipedia states that the paper started in a garage in the Rockville section of Vernon, it would eventually land at the Manchester Industrial Park on Progress Drive in the 1970s, where it has been ever since.

The acquisition of the JI brings to eight the number of daily, printed newspapers owned by the Hearst Connecticut Media Group. A total of 16 printed daily newspapers still operate in Connecticut.

Hearst currently also operates The News-Times (Danbury), the Greenwich Time (Greenwich), The Stamford Advocate (Stamford), Connecticut Post (Bridgeport), The Middletown Press (Middletown), New Haven Register (New Haven), and The Hour (Norwalk). Hearst also operates Connecticut Magazine, 16 websites, and more than a dozen weekly news publications.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally reported that there were eight daily newspapers operated by Hearst in Connecticut including The Register Citizen of Torrington, but that publication became a weekly earlier this year.