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Monday, January 12, 2009

Post-Dispatch Plays the Race Card. Question Is: Will it Pay?

Posted By on Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Was I the only one scratching his head after reading yesterday's front-page story advertisement in the Post-Dispatch announcing the paper's new blog on race?

Has the daily fired so many of its reporters that an announcement of a blog now constitutes front-page news? Or is that the Post-Dispatch sees a way to increase Web traffic (and, thus, advertisement rates) by baiting folks with an issue that has long divided St. Louis?
Neither -- at least not according P-D scribe Doug Moore who penned yesterday's sappy story about the blog, which just so happens to come at a time when Americans will inaugurate their first black president.

That's why the blog is being started. We want to have a candid talk about race, a place where all of us can talk in an informal, but civil, and respectful way.

For those tempted to interject an irreverent or, ahem, off-colored comment to the blog, the Post-Dispatch won't tolerate it.

We know by our online reader comments that almost any topic -- crime, politics, education -- can devolve into name calling, finger-pointing and out-of-bounds discussions. If that is your cup of tea, keep it out of the blog. That's not what we're after.

Hmm, I wonder if that same rule applies with the daily's Barack Obama inauguration edition slated for Jan 21. For the low, low cost of $9.95 the paper is letting readers share their "thoughts and congratulations to this section that will be cherished for many years to come."

And, you still thought the daily wasn't trying to make any money on the subject? A bigger concern of mine is columnist Sylvester Brown. With the Post-Dispatch editors and readers engaging 24/7 on the issue of race, what's going to be left over for Sly Brown to write about?

-- Chad Garrison

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