Apparently even the oh-so-virtuous Charlton Heston has his price; that giant sucking sound is the Post-Dispatch's readership slipping away

And to think he came without any stone tablets. St. Louis University's Rev. Terrence Dempsey, S.J., dispatched a letter to the editor in the University News chiding Charlton Heston for having the audacity to cite greed as "one of the major reasons for the decline of American culture." Dempsey didn't quarrel with that, but what do you call Heston's getting paid $50,000 for a 35-minute talk on Nov. 3? Maybe charity.... St. Louis' daily paper of record is fading, slowly. Among the nation's top 25 Sunday papers, at least judging by circulation, the Post-Dispatch has lost the third-highest percentage of readers since a year ago. That means 15,840 people, or 3.1 percent of buyers, stopped getting the paper in the past year. The Sunday circulation now is 500,397. The only Sunday papers to be harder hit were the Philadelphia Inquirer, which took a loss of 60,814 readers, or 6.9 percent; and the Detroit News and Free Press, which lost 29,706 readers, or 3.7 percent. But just you wait until the readers catch on to this public-journalism thing. Eventually the searchlights through the fog will reach them. Sure.

Give us your feedback by e-mailing "Short Cuts" at shortcuts@rftstl.com, faxing 314-615-6716 or calling 314-615-6711.

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