Save The Cleveland Plain Dealer
The Cleveland Plain Dealer tells says it plans to cut about one-third of newsroom staff. If you immediately think, “Who cares?” remember that Ohio is a swing state, and the political coverage that the PD provides is crucial.
The Plain Dealer has told the Guild it plans to reduce the number of Guild members in the newsroom to 110 next year. Guild members are the heart of the paper. They report, photograph, copyedit, design, draw, create graphics, archive information, edit and so much more. The reductions, which represent about 1/3 of our membership, would be devastating to the news-gathering operation. The paper said most of the reduction would be through layoffs, though some employees will be offered jobs at cleveland.com. They will not say how many or what those jobs would be. The Plain Dealer is pressing for the ability to handpick who stays and who goes.
The truly shitty part of it all is that even during the worst years, the PD has stayed in the black and made money. CJR:
The problem is that rather than using the new-found cash flow created by reducing operating costs to support its news operations, Advance is gutting its newsroom, getting its community off the habit of a daily paper, and moving to what looks for all the world like a hamster-wheel model online.
The problem with a click-driven, volume-based digital model is that the “news becomes a constant stream of bits and pieces designed to attract viewers”:
“What happens under that model is that the stories that get the most clicks are sex, crime and sports,” Spector said. “That’s a real shift of emphasis where housing and education and other things fall. And then you cut staff and lose coverage and than what? You have to wonder how much serious journalism will get done.”
For obvious reasons, my heart sinks whenever more news hits of a newspaper’s demise, but this news hits our family particularly hard: my father-in-law has worked at the PD for almost 30 years. He’s a wonderful writer and a real inspiration to me, but also one with seniority, and therefore, expensive. For now, we cross our fingers.
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