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Carolyn Tuft Leaving Post-Dispatch; Investigative Reporter Had Successful, Rocky Run

Categories: Media, News
carolyn_tuft.jpg
Photo: Jennifer Silverberg
Tuft outside the Post-Dispatch in 2006.
Veteran reporter Carolyn Tuft is stepping down from the Post-Dispatch.

Daily RFT first got wind of Tuft's departure earlier this week. We've been unable to get in touch with Tuft, but today Post-Dispatch editor Arnie Robbins responded to our query to confirm that Tuft is indeed leaving the paper.

During her 18-year stint at the daily, Tuft earned awards and recognition for her investigative work exposing fraud and corruption. In 2005 Tuft herself became news when her editors issued an apology over follow-up stories she penned regarding a 2003 series on the financial excesses of the Fenton-based Joyce Meyer Ministries.

Her editors -- including Robbins -- wrote in the apology that Tuft's follow-up articles on Meyer did not meet the paper's "standards for fairness and accuracy."

Many of Tuft's colleagues, meanwhile, believed the apology was made in an attempt to avoid a lawsuit as the paper was being sold to Lee Enterprises. Another theory was that the apology was retaliation for Tuft accusing a colleague of sexual harassment.

A federal labor arbitrator later ruled that the paper had to reimburse Tuft for the two-day suspension she received as a result of the Meyer series but let stand the 576-word apology editors issued on the reporting.

Since then, Tuft has been relegated primarily to writing for the paper's website. In an email to Post-Dispatch staff yesterday, her editors said Tuft was leaving due to health concerns. That email follows...

The email sent yesterday to Post-Dispatch staff:
After 18 years at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Carolyn Tuft is resigning for health reasons.

Carolyn has produced some truly memorable journalism, with her stories often leading the Post's front page and STLtoday's home page.

Carolyn joined the Post-Dispatch in September 1992 from the Belleville News-Democrat. She covered Jefferson County and St. Louis City Hall, before producing a series of investigative stories.

Carolyn's watchdog reporting has:

-- helped free a man who'd been wrongfully convicted of murder.

-- exposed the fund-raising peculiarities of the Joyce Meyer Ministries.

-- exposed the phantom work hours of deputies in the St. Louis Sheriff's Department.

-- uncovered fraud in the infamous St. Louis "Midnite Basketball" program.

-- uncovered fraud in the St. Louis Housing Authority.

And those are just to name a few. For the past two years, Carolyn has worked as an online reporter, helping STLtoday and the Post-Dispatch get breaks on the Coleman murders in Columbia, Ill., the mysterious exploding house in Pontoon Beach and many other stories long remembered by readers.

We wish Carolyn the best in her post-Post life as she enjoys spending time with her husband, three sons and one grandson.

-- Mandy St. Amand, Steve Parker
* Correction: This post initially suggested that the editor's apology was as a result of Tuft's original series on Joyce Meyer. It was not. The apology was made over follow-up stories published two years later.
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