Two Decades After Folding, ‘St.L Globe-Democrat’ Looks to Return Online

By Mark Fitzgerald

Published: November 02, 2009 10:50 AM ET
CHICAGO – A former St. Louis television executive says the St. Louis Globe-Democrat will return as an online newspaper on Dec. 8 — 23 years after it folded for its second, and last, time as a daily.

In an announcement, Dan Rositano said the free site will be staffed by people “whose name will be familiar to former Globe-Democrat readers and all St. Louisians.”

He added in the statement, “Our columnists will be among the most-read voices in both St. Louis and the world today, covering news, sports, politics and all issues of the day.”

As soon as Rositano announced the revival of the Globe-Democrat, however, a legal obstacle emerged. As first reported on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Web site by Deb Peterson, the publisher of a six-time a year publication that calls itself the St. Louis Globe-Democrat said his attorney would be filing a cease-and-desist letter to stop Rositano from using the name.

Steve DeBellis told the P-D that he discovered the name had been abandoned in 1995, and so he began using it for his newspaper. He said he registered the name with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office in 2000.

Rositano, the former director of information and technology for KPLR-TV in St. Louis, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment Monday morning. He told the Post-Dispatch that his application to use the Globe-Democrat trademark was “pending.”

If the Globe-Democrat is revived as a daily it would be another remarkable chapter in the history of the paper. Launched as the Missouri Democrat in 1852, it merged with the St. Louis Globe in 1875.

In 1959, the paper, then owned by Newhouse Newspapers, forged a joint operating agreement (JOA) partnership with Pulitzer Inc.’s Post-Dispatch. In 1983, Newhouse announced it was folding the Globe-Democrat, but continuing its JOA partnership with Pulitzer.

The U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division forced Newhouse to offer the paper for sale. It was bought by a young entrepreneur named Jeff Gluck. The paper quickly fell into financial difficulties, with paychecks bouncing. The daily was closed, but revived several months later by two local real estate developers.

It folded for good as a print daily on Oct. 29, 1986.

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