WASHINGTON, Mo. — In the weekend issue of The Missourian, the new publisher is addressing the racist cartoon the newspaper published earlier this week.
The cartoon shows a white woman being robbed by a black man. The woman says, "Help!! Somebody call 911!" The man responds, “Good luck with that, lady…we defunded the police.”
The co-owners of the newspaper, Susan Miller Warden and Jeanne Miller Wood, issued an apology after the cartoon ran in the paper and resigned hours later.
The co-owners’ father and former publisher of the paper, 90-year-old Bill Miller Sr., also resigned.
Patricia Miller took over as publisher on Thursday. She's also the daughter of Bill Sr.
She addressed the controversy in this weekend’s edition of The Missourian. First, she talked about her career over the years and how she got her start as a newspaper inserter at The Missourian when she was 14 years old. She went on to join the St. Louis Business Journal team and worked there for 33 years, including as editor/publisher. She retired in 2018.
Then, she began to talk about the cartoon and admitted they made a mistake in running it.
“My 90-year-old father took full responsibility for the mistake, made a public apology and resigned,” she said. “That mistake exposed a breakdown in editorial procedures at the newspaper, which we are now addressing.”
She said after her father resigned, both of her parents asked that she come out of retirement to become editor and publisher of The Missourian.
Patricia said as the interim publisher, her challenge will be to repair the “broken trust” with the community and rebuild rapport with readers, “ensuring that racism has no place" in the newspaper.
She said she will be looking to the community for help and plans to form a Community Engagement Board.
“We are committed to doing better. We are committed to listening and learning. We want to hear from you,” she said.
The weekend edition of the paper also included letters it received from members of the community discussing what they thought about the cartoon.
"We are writing to express our horror at the cartoon that was printed in the Wednesday, June 10, edition of The Missourian," one person wrote in one of the letters.
"The editorial cartoon in the June 10 issue of The Missourian is so blatantly racist that it could have been published by the KKK," another person wrote.
Patricia said some readers were angry and some were sympathetic and said she pledges to "carefully consider" everyone's responses.
“We hope you stay engaged with us as we work toward becoming a better resource for our community,” she said.
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