Post-Dispatch fails to cover St. Louis union rally

“We messed up,” said Arnie Robbins, editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

He was referring to the paper’s not doing a news story on a rally held downtown within walking distance of the Post on Friday, March 11. It was attended by about 5,000 people, mostly members of unions in the area. Among the many speakers was Mayor Francis Slay.

The rally by organized labor was to take a stand against efforts in the Missouri Legislature by Republicans to weaken bargaining rights through Right-To-Work legislation, repeal of minimum wage increases, and repeal of child labor laws. Speakers voiced their opposition to “attacks on the middle class, tax breaks for the wealthy, tax incentives for corporations and legislators who are trying to overturn the will of voters,” according to a news release by organizers.

The rally was covered by all the media, except the Post-dispatch, said one of the organizers, Lara Granich, director of Missouri Jobs With Justice.

“It was a very important story,” Granich said.

While some were saying the Post has become anti-union since it was bought by Lee Enterprises, Granich said she didn’t believe that was the reason there was no news story. She chuckled that the rally was even attended by some by some Post-Dispatch employees.

Granich said the Post received many complaints and editors were blaming the omission on the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that had dominated the news-gathering efforts.

Robbins offered no excuses: “It was newsworthy and we planned to cover it and should have covered it. A string of miscommunications occurred and we failed to cover it. We messed up.”