‘Plain Dealer’ Story Discusses Return of Columnist Connie Schultz

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By: E&P Staff

Connie Schultz’s first post-sabbatical column will appear in The Plain Dealer this Friday, according to an article in the Cleveland newspaper.

The story’s writer, freelancer Laura Taxel, also discussed Schultz’s “dual roles” as a columnist and the wife of newly elected U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

Taxel wrote: “Doug Clifton, editor of The Plain Dealer, pointed out that Schultz doesn’t have a reporting beat, which would be more cause for concern. Nor does her work appear on the Forum page. He does not plan to police the content of her columns. The two have already agreed that it would be inappropriate for her to cover topics when her husband is debating them on the floor or voting on relevant legislation. Beyond that, it’s business as usual.

Clifton was quoted as saying: “There are readers who are not sympathetic to her worldview, and they’re likely to see a conspiracy in everything she writes. I expect that will motor up now. But the fact is her subject is life as it is, and she has an agenda that predates her marriage and her husband’s election to the Senate.”

And Schultz, who won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, told E&P in November: “I’m separate and distinct from my husband. Women have their own opinions, and I’m one of them.”

Schultz took a leave of absence last February to work on her husband’s Senate campaign. Taxel wrote: “A self-described feminist, Schultz admitted she worried that serving in that capacity, as well as temporarily putting the campaign ahead of her own career, might be misinterpreted. ‘I didn’t want to send the wrong message. I have not given up being who I am, but I think my choice worried some women.’ That choice, she said, was not about playing second fiddle to her husband’s ambitions. It was a natural extension of the beliefs they share and her conviction that Brown could help bring about change in the country, she said.”

Taxel also wrote: “Schultz’s dual roles of journalist and senator’s wife have prompted some to wonder whether that automatically equals a conflict of interest. ‘I doubt this would even come up if the roles were reversed,” said Brown. Schultz, he said, is her own person and abides by the highest professional standards. ‘Some won’t believe that because they’re sexist or because they don’t like her, or me, or what we stand for. A small number of people may express concern, but that doesn’t mean there’s a problem.'”

Recent E&P stories about Connie Schultz’s return to column-writing:

Columnist Connie Schultz Back at ‘Plain Dealer’ on Jan. 22

In Wake of Husband’s Senate Win, Schultz Resuming Column

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