Once again the United Media Guild is mourning the loss of a prominent sports columnist at its Post-Dispatch unit.
Joe Strauss lost his battle to cancer Sunday at the age of 54. He was a member of the UMG since 2002, when he hired on as the newspaper’s primary newspaper reporter. He became a general sports columnist in 2012.
He embraced his role as the staff skeptic, needling subjects, co-workers and readers alike. But Strauss looked out for colleagues in need. Most notably he stepped up to offer constant support to fellow columnist Bryan Burwell during his cancer battle in 2014.
In another instance he intervened with the newspaper’s management team on behalf of a co-worker he was hardly friendly with. In another instance, he declined to pursue a grievance against a Post-Dispatch manager who wronged him egregiously.
Upset as he was about an incident, Strauss didn’t see the point of going after the manager’s job.
Regular readers of the Post-Dispatch might be surprised by Joe’s softer side. For instance, he went out of his way to help a young reporter helping out on the baseball beat.
When the UMG agreed to a concessionary contract with the Post-Dispatch with Lee Enterprises facing bankruptcy and the industry in turmoil, I braced for Joe’s grumpy response to the outcome. But he thanked our leaders for waging a tough fight and noted that we did the best we could under tough circumstances.
We will miss Joe Strauss, as will Post-Dispatch readers and the whole St. Louis sports community.