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Why Bill McClellan Matters

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Bill McClellan, a columnist from another time.

This week, there will be no column by Bill McClellan in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. None next week, either.

And maybe that's a good thing. We need to get used to his absence.

On Thursday, the union representing Post-Dispatch employees announced that McClellan was among nine staffers who'd volunteered to take a buyout, sparing the jobs of younger colleagues who'd been targeted for layoffs. So when McClellan's column returns on August 2, it will be just once a week -- and he'll be, officially, a freelancer.

What a heartbreaker.

McClellan was never one of those columnists people loved to hate. We, his readers, all genuinely liked him -- and believed that he spoke for us, and understood us. He was by far the biggest name in St. Louis media, but he never seemed like one of the powerful people. He was on our side.

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Bill McClellan Taking Severance Deal; Will Write One Column Per Week

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McClellan captured on YouTube during an appearance on KETC's Donnybrook
Bill McClellan

UPDATED at 6:09 p.m. with names of other reporters leaving the paper.

Long-time Post-Dispatch scribe Bill McClellan is bowing out as a full-time columnist, but will continue writing one column per week, according to union president Jeff Gordon of the United Media Guild.

McClellan, five reporters, two editors and a paginator all voluntarily resigned and will collect severance pay based on how long they worked at St. Louis' only daily newspaper. Four reporters had been targeted for layoffs, Gordon says, but because these nine people volunteered, the four will be able to stay.

See also: Why Bill McClellan Matters

Other departees include reporters Michael Sorkin, Margaret Gillerman, Stephan Thomas, Kenny Roberts, Susan Weich and Bob Kelly.

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How the Post-Dispatch Shamed a Possible Rape Victim -- and Embarrassed Itself

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Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Regan76
A night of heavy drinking turned into a nightmare for a Jefferson City lobbyist -- thanks in part to the Post-Dispatch's A-1 report Friday.

Editor's note: We updated this story at 5 p.m. on June 22. Scroll to the bottom for the latest.

The woman called Jefferson City police at 8 a.m. on April 9 to say that she was worried she'd been sexually assaulted the night before. She couldn't remember where she'd been most of the evening -- and not only did her wrist hurt, but her clothes were both muddy and bloody. Police took her to the hospital and compiled evidence for a rape kit.

Two months later, on June 19, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran her photo on its front page. The accompanying story listed all the alcohol she'd consumed the night before -- with details including the size of various bar tabs and the specific drinks (wine, vodka Red Bull, Jagerbombs) she'd paid for. It also named the man she'd previously been in a sexual relationship with, even though he was not suspected of any wrongdoing and wasn't even present for the night's festivities.

It published her name and her job (a lobbyist at the time she filed the police report, she's now in public relations) and said she'd declined to be interviewed.

And then, in classic daily newspaper fashion, it attempted to make the story about something bigger, something important.

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch Asks Fleshlight for Photo Credit after 9/11 Tweet

Categories: Post-Dispatches

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After noticing that Fleshlight, the company that sells handheld vaginas and assholes for your masterbational pleasure, tweeted a St. Louis Post-Dispatch picture in a September 11 tribute, the newspaper asked the company for a photo credit.


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St. Louis Post-Dispatch Cuts Columnist Who Doesn't Understand How Rape Works

Categories: Post-Dispatches

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Goodbye, George Will.
If you cancelled your St. Louis Post-Dispatch subscription over George Will's highly offensive column belittling rape victims, you can come back to the fold now. The paper says it has tossed Will's columns for good.

Tony Messenger, the Post's editorial page editor, says he's replacing Will's Thursday and Sunday dispatches with columns from Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and an alum of Westminster Christian Academy.


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This Guy Hacked the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Paywall in Ten Minutes, And You Can, Too

Categories: Post-Dispatches

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Mike Flynn
Mike Flynn, of Punching Kitty fame, found this quick work-around in less than ten minutes.
Mike Flynn, a St. Louis native who now lives in San Francisco, wanted to read Bernie Miklasz's sports column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Monday morning.

But Miklasz's column, like much of what the Post-Dispatch calls "insider sports coverage," is now an stlEXTRA!, or premium content protected behind a paywall for subscribers. Only readers who pay $13.50 in monthly subscription fees get access to the clumsily named stlEXTRA! content, such as special columns, business market wraps and even online quizzes.

See also: Post-Dispatch Quietly Hikes Newsstand Price

Flynn is not really one to take no for an answer. In less than ten minutes, he published an HTML script that would allow any Post-Dispatch reader to access all the content, even stlEXTRA! stories, without paying a dime.


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The Post-Dispatch Article That Made Joe Buck Cry

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Dan Caesar in 1990, the year he humiliated a wannabe broadcaster.
He resides among the cellar dwellers in RFT's St. Louis Sports-Media Power Rankings (at No. 44 in our list of 50), but Dan Caesar can still throw a punch.

In fact, in a tussle back in 1990, the Post-Dispatch sports-media critic once made Joe Buck (No. 8 in RFT's ranking) cry.


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Ed Martin Won't Meet With Editorial Boards: A Rare (and Probably Smart) Move

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Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
Ed Martin to newspapers: Not gonna meet with ya. But endorse me anyway! 
So far this year, most candidates for statewide office have made the pilgrimage. 

They've stepped into the inner sanctums of the Post-Dispatch and the Kansas City Star. 

They pow-wowed with the editorial boards, fielded uncomfortable questions, asked for a kiss on the forehead. 

Not Ed Martin

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Post-Dispatch Quietly Hikes Newsstand Price

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The new Post-Dispatch: Half the news at one-and-a-half times the price.
The price of the Monday through Saturday Post-Dispatch increased 50 percent last week from $1.00 to $1.50. The Sunday paper also jumped 50 cents to $2.50.

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Warren Buffett Now Owns More Lee Enterprises Stock

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Warren Buffett cosplays as a newsie.
Berkshire Hathaway, billionaire Warren Buffett's conglomerate, revealed in SEC filings Tuesday that the company has increased its stake in Lee Enterprises to the tune of 3.23 million shares. That just about doubles the amount of Lee stock Berkshire Hathaway owns, which it first acquired when Buffett purchased $85 million worth of the company's debt.

As is often the case with Buffett, when he buys a stock, others follow in his wake. Lee Enterprises' stock opened Tuesday morning trading at $1.29 per share; it opened this morning at $1.60.

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