Monday, April 23, 2007

Star Tribune won't let Aschburner have his job back

Star Tribune sportswriter Steve Aschburner took a voluntary buyout of his contract on March 10. According to the Minnesota Monitor, Aschburner, who's been covering the Timberwolves for 13 of his 21 years at the paper, told his editor just 4 days later that he wanted to stay. The Strib, however, "denied his request to rescind his buyout application, citing budget concerns according to a letter sent to publisher Par Ridder by members of the paper's Newspaper Guild unit." Click here to see the letter.

Aschburner quickly regretted his decision, recognizing it as an "impulsive, stressed-out thing" complicated by personal issues and the "ticking bomb" nature of the five-day clause, and within four days he told his editor he wanted to stay. For the past six weeks he's been pleading with Star Tribune managers to let him keep doing a job he loves -- but what he's found is that management sees his buyout as anything but voluntary...

"Someone is going to have to cover that team and league going forward, and no one on staff wants it or has experience," he said. "I am dying to stay on the job."

The article also says that Aschburner has been getting support from some of his peers:
Phil Jasner of the Philadelphia Daily News and Doug Smith of the Toronto Star have both written letters to Aschburner's editor urging his reinstatement.

To show your support, you can send a letter to Nancy Barnes, Helen Wainwright, or Par Ridder at
Star Tribune
425 Portland Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55488

You could also send me an email at and I'll include your messages in my letter to the Strib.