Newspaper Industry | St. Louis Public Radio

Newspaper Industry

March 23, 2020 Daniel Hill
Courtesy of Daniel Hill

The week of March 16 was a terrible one for alt-weeklies. The free newspapers — which rely entirely on advertising and public events for revenue — were dealt a terrible early blow by the nation’s response to the coronavirus. From coast to coast, publications suspended print editions and laid off staffers

St. Louis’ Riverfront Times was among those hardest hit. The 42-year-old publication announced that it was suspending its print edition (though it later decided to publish its March 25 issue). It also laid off seven staffers, including three editors, the art director and a staff writer. Only two journalists remain on the payroll: Editor in Chief Doyle Murphy and Digital Editor Jaime Lees.

But one of the laid-off journalists has simply refused to leave.   

September 17, 2019 Bill McClellan
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Bill McClellan has been entertaining and enlightening the readers of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for 39 years, all but three of them as a columnist. In recent months, even as he battles cancer for a second time, he has continued to file regular dispatches that probe the city’s past and its future with insight and good humor.

McClellan joined us on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air to talk about the future of daily newspapers, the columns he’s lived to regret and the reason he continues to write, despite enduring regular chemotherapy treatments. 

“It’s fun. I still have this thin veneer of being a reporter. It’s getting thinner and thinner, admittedly,” he said. “But I can still call people up and say, ‘Why did you do this?’ And I can still go to trials. If I didn’t have this thin veneer of being a reporter, I’d just be another nosy old guy.”

The Post-Dispatch headquarters has been on North Tucker Boulevard in downtown St. Louis for decades.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The pending headquarters move by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is not a surprise to a retired reporter who spent more than three decades at the paper.

Tim O’Neil points out that it’s part of a trend of big-city papers moving into smaller spaces.

“The Kansas City Star sold its building. The L.A. Times, of all people, sold its building,” he said.

The Post-Dispatch is following those publications in announcing plans to move into a smaller space on North 10th Street after calling the building on North Tucker Avenue home for nearly six decades.