Denis Horgan was born in a Boston taxicab during a Thanksgiving snowstorm which didn’t quite make it to the hospital on time. Whether auspicious or merely suspicious, such a beginning is likely to shape how you look on the world.

Denis decided early to look on the world through the eyes of a journalist. Starting as a copyboy at the Boston Globe, he worked in a variety of capacities — reporter, editor, columnist — for the Bangkok World, the Washington Star and the Hartford Courant.

He studied at various colleges with no particular distinction, served as an officer in the Army with even less accomplishment and has committed various do-gooder type things like coaching youth baseball to avoid doing his more meaningful chores around the house.

As a writer, Denis Horgan has won a variety of awards and honors, notably over the past 20 years as a columnist for the Hartford Courant. His principal vice is an addiction to the Boston Red Sox.


The Horgan Blog Story (a work in progress)


Denis Horgan’s “Last Post”
April 2003

It is with the most profound regret that I am compelled to announce that the editor of The Hartford Courant, a proud and wonderful newspaper of which I am honored to count myself a staff member, has ruled that I am no longer allowed to operate a column on this web page. Despite the fact that this page is operated on my own time and at my own expense, that it does not compete with the newspaper or draw upon any of its resources, the editor has ruled that its operation is a conflict of interest. It is not my role to explain this decision, one with which I disagree deeply, but I have no option but to suspend the column or commentary activities here. The page will remain open as I explore my rights and options. The “Feedback” exchange function will continue should anyone wish to continue to discuss matters of interest. The links to other columnists, services and the Bill of Rights will also remain open for those wishing to explore them.

I am very sorry that things have reached this stage and that the promise with which this effort was launched has been extinguished. To me, it seemed like such a good idea.

Thank you for your support
Denis Horgan


Jim Romenesko, PoynterOnline
4.23.2003

Hartford Courant editor tells staffer to end weblog postings

Hartford Courant editor Brian Toolan has told Denis Horgan to stop his denishorgan.com postings. Horgan says in his final entry: “Despite the fact that this page is operated on my own time and at my own expense, that it does not compete with the newspaper or draw upon any of its resources, the editor has ruled that its operation is a conflict of interest. It is not my role to explain this decision, one with which I disagree deeply, but I have no option but to suspend the column or commentary activities here.”


USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review
4.29.2003

Journalists Debate Closure of Another Blog
Courant says Weblog lacked editing oversight

A journalist working for a major media company decides to start a personal Weblog in his spare time. His blog becomes popular (or not). His association with the media company is stated, but discreetly. He has the usual disclaimer: This Weblog is the opinion of Joe Journo, and not the company he works for. But what does the company think? If it’s CNN, Time magazine or the Hartford Courant, it doesn’t think — it acts, killing the Weblog for reasons stated (and unstated).


J.D. Lasica, CyberJournalist.net
5.1.2003

Lasica: Let journalists blog!

The decision by the editor of the Hartford Courant to order the closing of a newsroom staffer’s independent weblog was an abuse of power, a move that was not only misguided but one that sends a chilling effect through the journalistic blogging community.


USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review
5.9.2003

Will Denis Horgan Blog Again?
Connecticut law could be on his side

It’s not exactly up there with “Free Mumia,” but the virtual world of Weblogs has been ablaze with anger at the Hartford Courant for killing travel editor Denis Horgan’s personal Weblog. The folks on Poynter’s Online News e-mail discussion list have been almost obsessed with the topic, and that list has spawned dueling editorals at Cyberjournalist.net (with OJR’s own J.D. Lasica offering a spirited defense of Horgan).


J.D. Lasica, CyberJournalist.net
10.2.2003

Hartford Courant editor: ‘Blog away’

In a fascinating essay for the fall issue of Nieman Reports, Hartford Courant editor Brian Toolan explains why he decided to shut down staffer Denis Horgan’s external Weblog earlier this year, a move that set off a storm of controversy in the blogosphere (see two CyberJournalist.net opinion pieces on the controversy: “Lasica: Let journalists blog!” and “Meyer: Employers have right to ban blogging.”).

In the article, Toolan says his decision was easy. “Behaving in a manner that safeguards the integrity of a news institution and avoids real or perceived conflicts of interest is central to the compact between a journalist and his employer. Journalists should operate in ways that don’t display bias or predisposition. These are ethical considerations, not legal ones, but they are central to the conduct of journalism and must be zealously maintained.”


USA Today
10.5.2003

Worker blogs raise some company concerns

An explosion in online diaries by workers is creating headaches, and opportunities, for employers.