Magazine article St. Louis Journalism Review

Night the Music Died

Magazine article St. Louis Journalism Review

Night the Music Died

Article excerpt

Ellen Soeteber, editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, told news staffers they should not attend a pair of music concerts at the Fox Theatre last month because it might compromise the paper's journalistic integrity. In a long memo to the staff, Soeteber said proceeds from the Vote For Change Tour would benefit two groups working against the re-election of President George W. Bush--MoveOn.org and America Coming Together (ACT). The concerts featured Pearl Jam, Death Cab for Cutie and Gob Roberts on Oct. 5, and the Dixie Chicks and James Taylor on Oct. 6.

Soeteber cited the ethics policy she established that says journalists should not run for public office or take sides regarding a particular political viewpoint lest it be viewed as a conflict of interest by the newspaper. Some of Soeteber's troops called the ban heavy-handed and saw it as another effort to appease Republican readers.

It was a bit Orwellian that the editor would suggest a news department employee might taint the paper's reputation by buying a concert ticket when the chairman of the company, Michael Pulitzer, causes ongoing damage the Post's credibility by his decision to have himself and the newspaper be part-owners of the St. …

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