Tim Rowden named Editor
Dana Spitzer, 72, managing editor of the St. Louis and Southern Illinois Labor Tribune, will retire March 1 culminating a 44-year career in journalism. Tim Rowden, 48, of Arnold, has been promoted to the position of Editor to assume Spitzer’s responsibilities, Publisher Ed Finkelstein announced.
Spitzer, of Kirkwood, has been the labor paper’s managing editor for the past 16 years. Rowden joined the paper’s staff in 2012 as a senior reporter and was promoted to associate editor. He also manages the paper’s website (www.labortribune.com), Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/labortribune) and Twitter account (@STLLaborTribune).
“We are extremely pleased to have a professional journalist of Tim’s talent and caliber to take over Dana’s responsibilities,” Finkelstein said. “He has shown since coming to the Labor Tribune that he not only understands the paper’s mission, but truly believes in what our responsibilities are to the labor movement and works hard every day to fulfill those responsibilities.
“On the other side of the coin, we are reluctant to see Dana retire, but he’s earned every minute of it. His professionalism, his depth of knowledge of so many subjects, his willingness to stand and fight for what we all believe in, is testament to not only Dana Spitzer the professional labor journalist, but Dana Spitzer the man and friend,” Finkelstein stressed. “He will be missed.”
The Labor Tribune is one of America's oldest and most respected labor newspapers reaching over 60,000 subscribers each week. With 110 subscribing unions, the Labor Tribune is the only AFL-CIO endorsed newspaper in the bi-state metropolitan region, covering national, regional and local news important to Organized Labor.
A letter to our readers
At the end of a career, a fond farewell
By DANA SPITZER
After 16 years of spirited discussions with my boss, Labor Tribune Publisher Ed Finkelstein, over one or another of the myriad details that go into the production of the weekly Labor Tribune, something came up recently to which he reluctantly agreed after my persistence: I am going to retire on March 1, just a few weeks shy of my 72nd birthday.
On the same night we decided on my retirement, we agreed to promote Tim Rowden to the position of Editor, where he will officially assume all of my previous responsibilities, plus several others related to his talent with social media. Many of you know Tim, who came to us in 2012.
My retirement will bring an end to a wonderful career in journalism that began in 1966, when I started as a cub reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Most of my reporting has been in the political arena. It started when Warren Hearnes was Missouri’s Governor; not exactly the horse and buggy era, but light-years away from the technologies, styles, and finance that define today’s politics.
My years at the Labor Tribune have been filled with excitement and intensity. Every week is a new challenge to fill the paper with news and information important and interesting to our readers, who are the most engaged audience I have ever served. They express their appreciation with phone calls, letters and emails. And they express their disagreement and dismay in the same way. We hope you won’t ever stop letting us know your opinions.
We get many of our best stories from our readers. One of the best examples of this came shortly after I arrived at the Labor Tribune in 1997.
It was a series of stories in which rank and file readers discussed what their unions had meant to them and their families. The series was popular with readers and quite an education for me.
It gave me a profound appreciation for the value of unions in promoting not just better wages and benefits; but job safety, grievance representation at the work place, and the valuable political influence of unions in gaining such things as the eight-hour work day; overtime pay, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and strong public schools, community colleges and state universities.
Much of my work at the Labor Tribune has been with the building trades in Missouri and Southern Illinois. I have never worked with a group more interesting, engaging and often hilarious. Day in and day out, they bring to our industrial plants, corporations, schools and universities, plus scores of other projects, a cost effectiveness in construction second to none in the country.
In St. Louis, building trades unions and their contractors have forged a long-term, unique working relationship with many of their private and public customers. The advent of PRIDE and Project Labor Agreements has saved millions of dollars in the construction industry over the years by settling disputes among unions and contractors and keeping jobs running that might otherwise shut down, throwing workers off the job and busting budgets for contractors and their customers.
Despite the impression I might have left at the beginning of this farewell, Ed Finkelstein and I have known each other for at least 30 years and worked together for 16. We have never had a disagreement that ended with rancor. He is the most understanding, creative and energetic person I have ever worked with. It has been a blessing to have worked with him and to end my career having worked for all of you.
A fond farewell to you all.
Rowden named editor of Labor Tribune
Tim Rowden has been promoted to the position of Editor of the St. Louis and Southern Illinois Labor Tribune, effective March 1.
Tim previously served as the Labor Tribune’s associate editor and senior writer. He also manages the paper’s website and social media efforts.
A UNION FAMILY MAN
Rowden was raised in a union family in St. Louis. His father, Jerry, is a retired letter carrier and member of the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 343. His mother, Mary, is a retired grocery clerk and worked as a head cashier for Schnucks Markets as a member of UFCW Local 655.
“I learned early on the importance of unions and hard work,” Rowden said. “It was just a given in our house. You never crossed a picket line and you never voted against the working man. My Dad used to tell me ‘If a man works hard and provides for his family, then he can consider himself a success.’ I still believe that.”
Rowden started his career in 1989 at the Daily Star-Journal in Warrensburg, Mo., where he worked as a general assignment reporter, photographer and agricultural editor.
From there he came to the St. Louis Suburban Journals, where he worked as a senior reporter in Jefferson County, Mo., from 1992 to 1999, when he was hired by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He served as the Post’s bureau chief in Jefferson County, a position he held from 1999-2007, when he ventured into corporate communications. He joined the Labor Tribune staff in 2012.
Rowden is also a Venturing Crew advisor, merit badge counselor and public relations chair for the River Trails District of the Greater St. Louis Area Boy Scouts of America.
He and his wife, Kim, live in Arnold, Mo., with their four children Connor, Ian, Emma and Quinn.
“We welcome Tim and his family to the Labor Tribune family,” Publisher Ed Finkelstein said. “He has already shown his ability to take over and grow the paper into the future. We are proud of his accomplishments and look forward to an exciting future.”
An end and a beginning in our ‘Circle of Life’
By ED FINKELSTEIN
Just as one era ended and another began with the retirement of beloved Managing Editor Sherwood Kerker and the ascendance of the new breed of labor journalist in Dana Spitzer, so we mark yet another beginning into the print/digital age with Dana’s retirement and the ascendance of Editor Tim Rowden.
Just as in the past, we are sad to see a professional colleague and personal friend take up his well-earned retirement, something we all fight to protect every day for every trade unionist. And yet, looking to the future, Tim brings a sense of vigor, vitality and continued professionalism that will propel the Labor Tribune into a brighter future.
It’s the Circle of Life in the ongoing renewal of the Labor Tribune.
To Dana, my friend, the entire Labor Tribune family and the Labor Movement family you’ve served so well, joins me in wishing you and your wonderful wife Doreen fun-filled years enjoying your children and grandchildren, fine dining and travelling to your heart’s content. You have taught me a great deal about our profession and how to face life’s joys and adversities with reason and a good heart. I am profoundly grateful.
From all of us Dana, thank you for 16 great years of dedication and service to the ideals and goals of working families throughout the Greater St. Louis and Southern Illinois bi-state region. You have made a significant contribution, and we will never forget it.
To Tim, my new young friend whose energy and enthusiasm (and understanding of the Twitterverse) are exciting to watch and yes, learn from as well, we know you are prepared to assume the mantle of responsibility and leadership.
It is an honor and privilege to work with both these talented men who are the finest professional labor journalists.
Thank you, Dana and Tim. You have both helped make the Labor Tribune the clear and strong voice of the Labor Movement. We are all grateful.