A moment of silence please for all those freezing cold folks in Hell right now…
Iconic Johnson County Sun scribe Steve Rose is joining the columnist ranks of the Kansas City Star. Don’t bother re-reading that sentence, it’s no typo. Nor an early April Fools.
It’s the honest-to-gosh, real deal.
Yes, the gentleman who’s father dropped the hammer on the Star of old for unfair business practices, the dude who’s been a fierce competitor with the newspaper, is now sleeping with his longtime enemy.
Fairly huge. Unlikely, too.
On more than one occasion I have been face-to-face with Star publisher Mark Zieman and listened to him berate Rose as an anti–Star zealot. In every imaginable way Zieman made clear his dislike of Rose.
However a failing economy and a dying newspaper biz can make for some strange bedfellows.
Not quite as strange however as the curious case of deceased Squire publisher Tom Leathers.
Back then the Star‘s editor,, Art Brisbane, was all about thinking outside the box. Bringing in a loser from arch enemy the Pitch to write a "cafe society" column (me), promoting women – not men – to head FYI and the arts and entertainment sections, and shit-canning a veteran, white sports columnist for plagerism (Gib Twyman), then hiring a mouthy, young black dude to take his place (Jason Whitlock).
Then it was more about bringing the Star up to date with society, rather than keeping the red ink away from the layoffs guilotine.
Like Rose – when he starts in January – Leathers was to write a column for the Star. A column never publically announced and that never made it into print. Leathers later explained he’d even gone down to the newspaper to have his column mug shot pic taken.
So what happened?
Anecdotically – though it was confirmed to me at the time and later by sources at the Star where I then worked – so universally unpopular was Leathers in the newsroom that pissed off Star staffers went about the task of researching his past and came up with just enough dirt to kill the hiring.
Leathers wasn’t happy about it. Nor was he anxious to go into detail about what it was that had been alleged against him.
I’ve got a pretty good feeling that Rose cleared those waivers without so much as a glove being laid on him.
The $64 million question: Combined with Rose dramatic exit from the Sun and magical appearance in the Star, could this be the beginning of the end for the suburban weekly? The jury’s still out, but certainly combined with everything, a case could be made it may be.