Colonel Jones

A Globe-Democrat cartoon published the day after Jones was ousted as editor of the St. Louis Republic.

“Journalists who take themselves seriously, who regard the work of moulding public opinion as a high vocation, who believe in duty and are willing to accept responsibility, who would rather champion the rights of the many than defend the privileges of the few, are finding it more and more difficult either to enter or to remain in the newspaper field, whether as employees or proprietors.” – Col. Charles Henry Jones, Feb. 23, 1899 [From “Charles H. Jones 1848-1913: Editor and Progressive Democrat” (1974)]

Veteran newspaperman Charles H. Jones was given full editorial and managerial control of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1895 under a five-year contract signed by founder Joseph Pulitzer. But his relationship with Pulitzer, who was still majority owner, soon soured because Jones was, among other things, an advocate of free silver, while Pulitzer was pro-gold. Pulitzer tried to oust him, but Jones prevailed in the courts.

Ultimately, health concerns — his and his wife’s — caused Jones in 1897 to sell his one-sixth stake back to Pulitzer. (The Post-Dispatch announced Jones’ resignation on June 27, 1897; The Post-Dispatch was again “an organ of gold-buggery,” The Herald of Jasper, Indiana, snarked soon after.)

Jones’ short tenure may have been the only time until the sale in 2005 to Lee Enterprises that Pulitzer or his heirs surrendered editorial control of the Post-Dispatch.

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