Columnists come, columnists go: IBJ down 3

Dateline: Thu 17 Jan 2008

Indianapolis Business Journal's editor Tom Harton confirms that the weekly has eliminated three columnists: Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, radio talk show host, pundit, blogger/con man; Tim Roberts, a corporate trainer/developer who wrote about sales; and attorney Ron Gifford, who wrote about the law. Of the three, only Hakim-Shabazz collected pay for his work.

Changes in the IBJ lineup, sans names, were first reported by Jen Wagner at Bury the Lede. Here's what Harton has to say:

"It's not uncommon for us to shed a columnist or two or three. We recently got rid of three, one paid (Abdul) and two unpaid, and all three for different reasons. We're considering adding a few things to the regular rotation of columnists/non-story features, but we're not ready to say what those are yet because we haven't made any final decisions."

Harton added that Hakim-Shabazz, whose column ran once a month, was told of the decision in December. This was before, said Harton, "we knew anything about the public flap he was involved in," when news broke about Hakim-Shabazz' ties to the fake cop blog IndyUndercover, the failed search warrant to seize his computer, all that.

Gifford. who won a Society of American Business Editors and Writers award last year for his work, resigned from IBJ after taking a job with Indy Partnership. Added Harton, "If he was still at Baker & Daniels, we wouldn't have considered eliminating his column. It was terrific."

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