Magazine article St. Louis Journalism Review

Ads for Strikebreakers

Magazine article St. Louis Journalism Review

Ads for Strikebreakers

Article excerpt

When the new owners of the Pioneer Press wanted to recruit strikebreakers they turned to the University of Missouri School of Journalism to bring in reporters for the group of 41 weekly newspapers in the north and northwest suburbs of Chicago.

And the Journalism School came through.

As a service to its graduates, the school's Career Center runs a telephone job hot line, the J-Line. In November, it listed openings for "permanent replacement" reporters, preferably "current Chicago-area residents" or others "if they can relocate quickly."

Why run the listing?

"It's an MU alum who edits the paper," said Mike Hoeferlin, director of the Career Center. "He was real open about it. He said he hoped to settle it."

Hoeferlin seemed apologetic. "My personal opinion is I'm very uncomfortable with it," he said. "Are we supposed to be censoring the J-Line?"

He conceded that there are times when the Career Center would decline to list jobs. It would not list jobs restricted to say, straight people or married people, he said. It has recruited for a Baptist magazine asking for reporters "familiar with Baptist issues," but would not recruit Baptists only.

But strikebreakers?

"I think that people who hear this should be able to make up their own minds," Hoeferlin said. "There's nothing illegal about this. . . . My personal opinion is just that we're not here to make political statements. . . . This is a school of journalism. We promote free speech. We preach it."

"To look the other way and say we're being neutral is pure bullshit," said Jerry Minkkinen, the executive director of the Chicago Newspaper Guild. …

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