With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Opulent Launch Parties and Hartford; A Natural Fit

The great thing about the truth is that it is often stranger than fiction. Some things just can't be made up. The stories of the Chilean miners rescue, a pop star wearing a dress made of meat, the 2004 Red Sox, the popularity of American Idol; all would be dismissed as too far-flung if presented as fiction. So when we find a Hartford story in that vein we get very excited.

Kenneth Gosselin of The Hartford Courant is reporting that founder and co-publisher of Hartford Magazine Michael Guinan was fired after "financial irregularities" were discovered in the company.

Guinan released a statement stating that the dispute was over "civil accounting differences" and that he was wrongfully terminated. Seriously. Does anyone in the public buy the "accounting differences"guilt? excuse anymore? Isn't that akin to just admitting

Hartford Magazine you say? It does exist. We can report seeing it in a couple offices in the city. Where you would buy an issue we have no idea. Surely Hartford Magazine must be a long-standing publication fighting to stay alive in the rapidly changing publishing world? Nope. According to the Courant, Guinan launched Hartford Magazine in 2003.

So at a time when even the most established print media publication were starting to struggle against  online option Guinan's plan was to launch a glossy magazine. About Hartford.

That's not even the best part of the article. The Courant then reports

"He [Guinan] became known for a flashy lifestyle, and the magazine soon became known for its sometimes opulent "launch parties" that preceded the release of many of the issues. The magazine ran into financial troubles and mounting unpaid debts."

Yes, you did just read "opulent launch parties" in a sentence about Hartford Magazine. Another example of some responsible business ownership. At a time where "I read in the paper this morning" usually refers to a website, it would probably be just a tad less irresponsible for Sad City to hold launch parties. 

The Courant then reports that Life Publications bought the magazine in 2007 but did not assume any of Giunan's debts. Giunan stayed on as co-publisher until his termination last week. 

The article concludes;

"In an internal memo obtained by The Courant that announced Guinan's departure to Life Publication employees, [co-publisher] White stressed that both Life companies are strong, "and we are well-positioned to grow as the economy improves.""

We wish best of luck to Hartford Magazine. 


  1. The advocate's where it's at anyway

  2. Sounds like Mr. Guinan styled himself as a would be publishing wunderkind who essentially was just raiding his venture capital until it ran out. Basically, a replay of Infinium Labs/Phantom Entertainment:

    1. Raise venture capital from unsuspecting investors.
    2. Put out mediocre product that is doomed to fail.
    3. In the interim, partly like its (insert cultural reference here)
    4. Shut down, lay everyone off and activate golden parachute.
    5. Run for Senate seat in Delaware on Tea Party Ticket?

  3. Hartford magazine is alive and well, and employs some very hardworking people who not only publish the magazine but also 12 local monthly newspapers in a timely and efficient manner. It is available in on many local magazine stands and available for subscription as well or on the web at hartfordmag.com. Regarding Mr. Guinan's reputation, as requested by our publisher, I must keep my opinions to myself.

  4. There hasn't been a launch party in years. The only party we have is for the Best of Hartford issue and that's something that almost every magazine across the country does for its winners. What anonymous said beofre me is true. We work really hard to put out a solid magazine and I, for one, am proud to be a part of it.

  5. Hey Anonymous #2 and Anonymous #3, we know you work for Hartford Magazine, you've intimated as much, care to disclose who you actually are in the interest of transparency? If you're not both the same person, that is.

    There's something interesting about these member(s) of the old media rushing to defense of the institution in the comment section of an editorial by new media.

    Also, jeez I'm wondering if Life Publication has ever had any issues with Life magazine over trademark infringement.

  6. Wait, people pay for Hartford Magazine? I get it free in the mail, as does everyone I know.

    The magazine is more or less garbage, anyway- especially the "best of" issue, which is more of a joke than the Advocate's "best of." At least the Advocate recognizes some deserving businesses (while also apparently saying that Bud Light is the best beer EVAR!!!!1), whereas Hartford Magazine's "best of" is basically just a print handjob for the various Max Restaurants (oh and Elbow Room is totes awesome have u guyz been to the rooftop bar????).

    Would be nice if Hartford had a publication that actually did some real reporting.

  7. There's nothing wrong with Hartford Magazine. In fact, I find it to be enjoyable. Yes, I agree, in an age of dying publications and all things going digital, you have to wonder how it's survived since 2003.

    However, what goes around comes around. On the few occasions I actually met Michael Guinan, I thought he was such a jerk. A pompous, arrogant "wanna be" that paraded around West Hartford Center with his glossy face and slicked-back hair buying drinks on the company credit card for potential advertisers. He looks like he stepped out of a wax museum. A complete phony.

    Here's a tip - look into how he actually afforded that Porsche he drove around. Oh wait! He got a FREEBIE from Hoffman Porsche for TRADING advertising. Catch my drift? Michael got his car in exchange for Hoffman always getting the first page or back page ad for free.

    How about them apples. Good riddance Guinan!

  8. Guinan is a joke...he is a complete and total waste - of - space. What a douche.

  9. Maybe Guinan can get a job at a local ad agency, maybe the one in gbury. Or selling cars at Hoffman. And the car was a free lease. He gotta give it back.

  10. What's sad is the Hartford Courant just hired him as their director of advertising. He and CEO/Publisher Richard Graziano are 2 of a kind...