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Mamaloguer (on the "Blunt" Tip)

Categories: Media
www.mamalogues.com
Susan Hegger, assistant managing editor for features at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, says she and Kurt Greenbaum, online news director at stltoday.com, made the decision to pull the plug on Dana Loesch and Bob Rybarczyk's tag-team appearances in the paper's Tuesday print edition.

Hegger and Greenbaum confirm that Loesch will continue to contribute to stltoday.com a weekly online installment of "Mamalogues," a column based on her blog of the same name; same goes for Rybarczyk and his "Suburban Fringe" column.

In blogging about the change yesterday, Loesch wrote that she was told she was being dropped from print because her language and subject matter were "blunter" than that which Post readers are accustomed to seeing. (See Loesch's post here and mine here.)

The Post editors say some misunderstanding resulted from the way the message was initially conveyed to Loesch.

"When we first talked, I didn't give her exhaustive reasons why," Greenbaum explains. "In the course of our conversation, I told her that there had been some complaints from readers."

After reading yesterday's blog post on Mamalogues.com, Greenbaum says, he spoke with Loesch again.

"I talked to her again after she posted on her blog. I think she understands that we have an audience for her voice online -- clearly a loyal audience online, so we're moving on."

Hegger says moving the blunt duo to print in the first place was part of an ongoing experiment in driving traffic online.

"Kurt and I have been trying to come up with different ways to build online audience," Hegger says. "Obviously the print edition has hundreds of thousands of readers -- how do we introduce them to content that's more Web-exclusive, or amplified on the Web?"

As an example she cites "Overheard Online," which sampled blogs and online forums in print, including food writer Joe Bonwich's "Eat at Joe's" forum. (And who can forget the "Be the Next 20-Buck Bernie" search?)

Exposing "Mamalogues" and "Suburban Fringe" to the print readership "was never seen as a permanent solution," Hegger says. "We're still in the early phases of trying out different things to acquaint people who read print with what is online."

Hegger downplays the issue of reader complaints. "To be honest with you, we didn't get a lot of response to either of them [Loesch or Rybarczyk], in either calls or e-mail. We got a few negative responses, yes -- and mostly to his, not hers. But I'm talking a handful after several months -- maybe five or six.

"It kind of ran its course."

-Tom Finkel


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