Watch yourself

So what do noosepapers expect of hard-charging columnists when they go to the women’s section?  If she’s a mother, they’d like something about breastfeeding in public, Debra Pickett found out at Sun-Times — as by Phil Rosenthal of Chi Trib, who ran this a day after Michael Miner blogged it at Chi Reader.

Once a weekly Page 2 columnist . . . and cast as one of [S-T’s] rising stars, Pickett had her column moved back into the Lifestyles section while she was on maternity leave. When an editor this week passed along [publisher] Cooke's suggestion that she ought to write about breastfeeding in public, it was a stark reminder of what being in the Lifestyles section might entail, and she quit.

"I didn't quit in protest over a single assignment," said Pickett, the 34-year-old whose column was for a few years was called "Age 29." "That seems to be the story going around, and it's very `Norma Rae.' ... But the question was what were expectations of me going to be when I got back, and that was a pretty good illustration."

Get personal, he said. 

None of your business, she replied.


Later: Automatic response from her Sun-Times address is “Debra is on maternity leave and will return to work in January.”  Asked Phil Rosenthal, whose item is quoted above, about it.  He: “She quit.  It's possible she doesn't have access to her Sun-Times e-mail account anymore.”

Yet more: As said above, Chi Reader’s Michael Miner blogged the story in detail.  Among comments is this good one from “Insideout”:

The breastfeeding story idea gets at everything that is going haywire these days at the Sun-Times. Where did all the news go? The front of the paper is filled with wire and the news of the absurd. The editor and publisher are too busy hobnobbing with the powerbrokers (Daley, Blagojevich, Natarus and Burke) to care about writing critically about them. Instead, let's try the Tribune for mismanaging the Cubs. Or put a Sam Zell puff piece out front. An "independent newspaper"? Hah! Not long ago, the paper used to be one of the 10 papers that "did it right." Where has that paper gone?
And another good one from “Hobbes”:
The serendipitous beneficiary to this fascinating story is the kid. He now gets a full-time mom, who's there whenever he needs her---not when she decides to bestow "quality time."

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