The company will also reorganize as the Northeast Ohio Media Group, which will handle “advertising sales and marketing for The Plain Dealer, Cleveland.com and Sun newspapers,” the announcement says. “And, Northeast Ohio Media Group will provide content for all print and digital products.”
Plain Dealer science writer John Mangels described the changes as “bittersweet” in a phone call with Poynter. “It’s better than what we had expected,” he said. In a newsroom meeting announcing the changes, Mangels said, management said planned layoffs would be delayed until late summer.
Also in November, Plain Dealer Editor Debra Adams Simmons and Publisher Terry Egger published a front-page letter to readers saying they foresaw a “significant reset of our business,” and that “We do not have a specific plan, timeline or structure for Cleveland. But we will — very soon.”
We also are saddened that the company intends to go forward with plans to let go more than one-third of The Plain Dealer’s newsroom staff. That will happen sometime later this summer, we learned today, rather than on May 1, which originally was the target date. Losing dozens of experienced, talented journalists inevitably will reduce the news coverage that Greater Clevelanders rely on.
We continue to believe that there are less-disruptive methods the paper’s owner and management could have undertaken as they shift to the digital delivery of news. We intend to keep the Save The Plain Dealer campaign active, and to serve as an ongoing watchdog for quality journalism in Northeast Ohio. To all of you who have written, emailed, called and attended meetings to show your support, we are profoundly grateful, and we’ll keep working on your behalf.
Abe Zaidan has been a professional journalist and freelance writer for more than forty years. He was the Ohio correspondent for the Washington Post, as well as a political columnist at the Akron Beacon Journal.