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Eric Mink has disappeared from the Post-Dispatch. He used to write a Wednesday column in the op-ed section from a progressive point of view. There was no announcement of his departure that I noticed, so I have no idea whether he took another job or was laid off. He just sort of isn’t there anymore.

Sylvester Brown, also a progressive voice, was offered a deal where he, too, would just sort of not be there anymore–with four weeks severance pay. His firing was based on what he calls a trumped up accusation. He decided not to go gentle into that good night. Instead, he called a press conference Monday afternoon to explain very publicly the reason for his firing.

Brown was told that he had violated the paper’s ethics policy by accepting a trip as a gift in return for writing a column. The details of the incident are at his blog, but the gist is that the day before his trip he wrote a column about a renewable energy project in East St. Louis. That column was in no way a quid pro quo for the trip, according to his statement:

If management had bothered to ask, they would have known that my trip had nothing to do with East St. Louis. If they had taken time to really know me, my past, my passions (inside and outside the Post walls) about investing in black youth and creating vibrant, sustainable urban communities, they would have instinctively understood why the Summit Council for World Peace – an international organization dedicated to addressing the crisis of world-wide poverty – invited me to Washington and offered to reimburse me for the trip.

You can listen to Brown defend his actions and speculate about the Post’s reasons for firing him: