Blogger's Remorse

Daniel P. Finney's blog sealed his fate with the Post-Dispatch. What now?

Dec 29, 2004 at 4:00 am
St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Daniel P. Finney has resigned from the newspaper following the discovery of his blog. First seen by Post management after being excerpted by the Riverfront Times [Unreal, December 15], the blog contained unflattering remarks about Finney's employer and story subjects.

Finney's hard drive was seized on December 16, and he was suspended around the same time. Apparently, the St. Louis Newspaper Guild then entered into discussion with Post brass about Finney's fate. A week later, he resigned. Neither the Post nor Finney would discuss the details of the resignation, but Finney says that the paper did not pressure him.

"I was an honorable person, and I observed church and state," Finney says. "I would have never used company equipment to write that blog or to conduct any personal business."

"I think he made a very courageous decision to resign," says Post director of industrial relations Mike Hammett, who was directly involved in Finney's case. "I hope he finds another opportunity in journalism someplace."

Finney's blog, entitled "Rage, Anguish and Other Bad Craziness in St. Louis" and written under the pseudonym Roland H. Thompson, often included the topics of his articles before they appeared in the paper. "As a journalist, it was a kid's mistake," says Finney, "and I'm old enough to know better, and I regret it.

"In journalism, I think we all write about things that we don't care about, or that we don't care for," Finney continues. "I just made a mistake about making those feelings public. I screwed up, and I'm sorry that I did that -- and not just because I got caught. When I typed it, I wasn't thinking about it in those terms. I was thinking that I'm a private citizen; these are my private feelings. But as a journalist, I should have been smarter."

Finney says that he is now talking with other daily newspapers about potential reporting and writing jobs. "I hope to be gone by the end of January," he says.