Jo Mannies, the dean of eastern Missouri’s political reporters and one of the most widely read, will retire from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after the November election. She will be missed.
During her distinguished journalistic career, Jo has probably written and uttered more words about the nuts and bolts of politics and political campaigns than the next five most prolific reporters at her newspaper combined. She has moderated dozens of major debates, sat on hundreds of panels, and been quoted nationally and internationally on Missouri and US politics. While some of her younger colleagues still struggled with their digital recorders, Jo taught herself about blogging, twittering, YouTube and the other techniques of contemporary reporting.
A recent story on her widely read blog Political Fix is illustrative of both her professionalism and her humor. Jo walked over to a downtown hotel to cover a press conference by political asterisk Ralph Nader only to discover that she was the only reporter to show up. Unfazed, Jo filed a thoughtful report and blogged it — noting slyly that her account was “an exclusive.”
I have never heard a candidate or elected official complain that Jo was too busy to take their calls, though plenty of us have been awakened from sound sleeps in the middle of the night to find Jo on the phone looking for a quote on a breaking story.
I’ll enjoy the extra sleep, but miss the reporter.