Boston Globe Columnist Jacoby to Return After Election

By Jason Pierce | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

( - After being silenced by his employer for four months, Boston Globe conservative columnist Jeff Jacoby is set to return to work Nov. 8, one day after the presidential election.

Jacoby, the Globe's sole conservative voice, was suspended July 7 for four months without pay after Globe management concluded that his July 3 column on the fate of the signers of the Declaration of Independence borrowed too heavily from previously published material and violated journalistic ethics.

Jacoby's boss, Commentary editor Renee Loth, stopped just short of calling Jacoby's action "plagiarism." Instead, in a press release from the Globe, his action was labeled as "serious journalistic misconduct."

Jacoby said he expects a quiet return to the Globe.

"My first piece of writing will be the day after the elections, Wednesday," Jacoby said. "They are planning sort of a gang page, in which all the op-ed columnists do a mini-column on the election results. So, I'll just be a name in the crowd."

Jacoby, who is not under contract with the Globe, said he hopes to stay at the paper, unless his return is not well-received.

"It will certainly feel strained going back there and I'm concerned about the editor and the publisher who behaved toward me this way," Jacoby said. "I'm going back in hopes that it will be tolerable and it will be a good work environment. If it turns out that I am not allowed to write the columns I want to write, then I will leave."

Richard Gulla, spokesperson from the Globe, said Jacoby's return will be welcomed and he will hold the same status as before his suspension.

"Jeff will return as a columnist in the position he had before. We had said that all along, following his four-month suspension," Gulla said. "Whether there will be changes in the column remains to be seen -- that is between Jeff and his editors. But, we look forward to his return."

During his hiatus, Jacoby said he found other work at a Boston radio station, WTKK, and wrote several columns for the Internet and one for the American Enterprise Institute.

Jacoby said the suspension not only gave him a chance to spend time with his three-year old child, but also allowed him to realize the size of his readership.

"I keep in mind that I am not writing for the Globe, but I am writing for my readers and there are a lot of them out there," Jacoby said. "I heard literally from thousands of people in the course of the last four months. I often wondered whether I have an audience, I know now that I do."

Jacoby, a member of the Boston Globe Employees Association, has filed a grievance with the Globe over the suspension. Gulla would give no specifics for the grievance or speculate on its outcome, but said the grievance will be given due process.