Hang Tuft

An embittered Post-Dispatch reporter says her editors hung her out to dry.

"Previously, editors were always in your corner. They wouldn't make you go to a meeting with somebody yelling at you without records to show that what they're saying is false. But when Joyce Meyer's people came, I wasn't allowed to say anything," says Tuft. "The sale to Lee Enterprises was in the making and they didn't want a lawsuit. They did not want anything hanging over the sale of the paper."

"Not true," says Robbins. The editor declined to elaborate on the apology, saying only: "I think if you look through other stories that we've done, I think I've said that so I don't want to comment after the arbitration hearing."

Whether editors at the Post-Dispatch caved under pressure from Joyce Meyer Ministries or didn't want to jeopardize Pulitzer Inc.'s sale to Lee Enterprises by burdening the company with a costly lawsuit is a secondary concern for the guild's Shannon Duffy.

"If the paper is so ready to cave and print an apology whenever a powerful or well-connected group threatens legal action, then how safe are any of the reporters?" she asks. "What will happen is we'll wind up with people who are afraid to tackle tough issues because they don't think their papers are going to be there for them, and if that happens, that's a really sad day for journalism."

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