From the Dept. of Smart Bloggers

Published December 23, 2004 3:48PM (EST)

Management at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has seized the computer hard drive of staff writer Daniel P. Finney and suspended him from work, according to local alt-weekly the Riverfront Times. Perhaps it was because Finney was discovered to be doing some extracurricular blogging on the clock. And/or maybe it had something to do with the contents of said blog.

"In his blog, begun this past September, 'Roland H. Thompson' -- a reference to a song by one of Finney's favorite musical artists, the late Warren Zevon -- took frequent, thinly veiled potshots against his employer and co-workers. He also wrote about stories he was working on for the paper. An example: 'Today was an absolute abomination. It began unwillingly at 7:30 a.m. when I was forced from my sweet, gentle slumber to go to work on a hideously lame story involving Santa Claus and the Hard Rock Cafe.'

"In another entry he poked fun at the subjects of the Post's annual '100 Neediest Cases' feature. 'Speaking of dicks, I've been reading the Post-Dispatch's annual 100 Neediest Cases stories,' he wrote on December 2. 'The bottom line is that there are a lot of poor people who need stuff. It is a worthy cause. And, at some level, I feel sorry for these people. But at another level, one in which your friend Crazy Roland is much more in touch with, I must admit that I feel as if a good number of these needy cases could be avoided by a well-placed prophylactic.'

"Six days later, a '100 Neediest Cases' installment carried Finney's byline."

Make that 101 neediest cases?

By Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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