01.06.09

Readers Of The Detroit News Won’t Have Rob Parker To Kick Around Anymore

Posted in Sports Journalism at 10:41 pm by

After a fateful bout of Rod Marinelli-baiting last month, columnist Rob Parker (above) has resigned from the Detroit News. From The Maynard Institute’s Richard Prince (link swiped from the Wayne Fontes Experience).

“He doesn’t work here any more,” Managing Editor Donald Nauss said. He said Parker resigned on Friday. Asked whether this followed a suspension of his column, Nauss said, “I can’t talk about personnel matters.” Parker, who had been at the paper for eight years, could not be reached for comment and has not responded to previous requests.

Lou Mleczko, president of the Newspaper Guild of Detroit, said grievances filed on Parker’s behalf might remain in place. “We’ve got some policy issues,” he told Journal-isms.

Back in 1991, Parker was brought up on charges by the Newspaper Guild for crossing picket lines during a bitter strike at the New York Daily News. The charges were later dropped and Parker moved on to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Even though Parker never joined the Guild, the Detroit union just on Monday filed another grievance on Parker’s behalf. It said the penalty for his questions to Marinelli were  disproportionate, and challenged the News’ assertion that Parker’s behavior was unprofessional and harmed the newspaper’s reputation nationally, Mleczko said.

“We have a legal as well as ethical responsibility to people who are in our jurisdiction to represent them” even if they do not join the Guild, the union president said.

It does seem as though the News is using Parker’s alleged breach of professionalism as a convenient cover.  But it might be a tad more difficult to make a public statement along the lines of, “we’re demoting the guy because we cannot find one reader who actually likes his work”.  While we wait for Rob to resurface at AOL’s Fanhouse (just kidding), perhaps the question can be posed to Mr. Nauss, “don’t you wish you and colleagues had married hired a better columnist in the first place?”

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