The morning began with the Plain Dealer reporting major changes in two front page stories about life in Northeast Ohio. One piece, with a big photo, told of a change on the way for the lakefront parks. The other informed us of something that we've been hearing about for months: a new way of life for the PD itself.
In a letter to readers signed by publisher Terry Egger and editor Debra Simmons, we were told in agonizingly reassuring terms that the paper will hit the reset button after January 1. What does that mean? From what I've heard from insiders plus the alarm expressed in the newspaper guild's big ad last week, the PD will no longer be home-delivered 7 days a week. One scenario making the rounds is that home delivery will be cut back to Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with availability at news boxes the other four days.
To soften the blows to its readers and staff, the puffed-up preening letter about the PD's journalistic accomplishments promised to continue its high quality with a decision "not based on cost-cutting".
As the Guild pointed out , a staff that once reached 350 has been cut in half.
The paper is owned by Advance Publications, a Newhouse operation, which has already altered its other papers ways of reaching readers and advertisers in an electronic media world.
Oh, I should remind you that one of the letter-signers Terry Egger, recently announced that he's leaving on January 1. One step closer to that reset button.