Blog: Turning the page on the Plain Dealer

1:52 PM, Jul 31, 2013   |    comments
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Between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Wednesday, Plain Dealer journalists will learn if they still have their jobs. Layoffs will reduce the newsroom by about one-third of its staff.

Late Tuesday afternoon, editors, reporters, photographers and other staff were told to wait by their phones Wednesday morning.

That's when they will be told whether to show up for work or not. Harsh? Efficient? Is that any better than getting a pink slip in your paycheck?

Cuts in other departments have already occured. And staffers also learned Monday that more than a dozen more staffers will be added to the original list of cuts. 

The loss of newspaper coverage in Northeast Ohio will be felt quickly. The owner of the Plain Dealer -- Advance Publications -- also owns the Sun Newspapers, where (in an effort of full disclosure) I was once a reporter.

I left Sun more than six years ago, right before they began the buyouts and downsizing there.

Sun has gone from 22 editions to 11, closed all of its satellite offices and I am wondering, since my Chagrin Solon Sun is delivered with my Thursday Plain Dealer, what will happen to its delivery because the Plain Dealer isn't making home delivery on Thursdays?

I am still a Plain Dealer subscriber and it will be hard to get used to not stepping outside every single morning while my water boils on the stove for my morning tea. It's a habit, a hard habit to break.

Despite the fact that I am primarily the reporter/producer for WKYC-TV's online website, and read the bulk of my news online, I still like the tactile feel of a newspaper in the morning.

I have been reading the Plain Dealer since I was in grade school and we had it delivered daily to our house. I also remember when the Cleveland Press published its last edition -- June 16, 1982.

That was just over 31 years ago.

Of course, that was long before we had the digital age where you could get your news, weather and sports online. I liked reading both newspapers -- one in the morning and one at night. I also liked the different editorial opinions.

But the loss of the Cleveland Press didn't leave a complete void because we still had the Plain Dealer. And though there will still be a few days of home delivery, it won't be the same.

Now we will become a large city without any daily newspaper and many hard-working journalists will lose their jobs. We always need good journalists to dig for the good stories and bring issues out in the open.

Of course, getting your news online is much faster than waiting for a paper to be delivered. Whether online or in print, we will get the news.

And it's no coincidence that other media -- radio and TV, for example --  have taken their message online long ago as well.

They still maintain their over-the-airwaves products but know full well that the habits of their listeners and viewers have changed from "appointment" TV or radio to "what-I-want-when-I-want-it."

It's just a shame that the Plain Dealer can't remain a seven-day-a-week home delivery for those who want it, instead of just Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The economy was the main reason the Cleveland Press stopped publishing. Advertisers were dwindling.

On the Save the Plain Dealer Facebook page, it was written:  Other newspapers are adopting innovative and far less disruptive strategies that allow them to continue to serve their readers and maintain journalistic excellence while confronting the challenges of the digital era.

That's just not what Advance decided to do. I'll be thinking about the PD staffers Wednesday morning.


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