In the Columbia Journalism Review, I reported on the dismantling of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in a piece which has generated quite a lot of interesting feedback. It begins:
As a major reorganization of the Cleveland Plain Dealer takes shape, veteran reporters are adjusting to “backpack journalism,” the division of staff into two companies, a looming move to a new office, and demands to post stories more quickly.
At the same time, they are memorializing their old newsroom in striking images that are circulating on social media and in email chains. One such photo was sent to CJR by a former Plain Dealer employee with the subject line, “This used to be a newsroom.”
Over the past year, the Cleveland paper has followed much the same plan that owner Advance Publications carved out in New Orleans and elsewhere: it reduced print delivery, shed staff through layoffs and buyouts, and saw the creation of a new, non-unionized digital company under the same corporate umbrella. The Plain Dealer Publishing Co. and the new company, Northeast Ohio Media Group, are separate entities, but both contribute material to the free website Cleveland.com and to the print newspaper, which saw its newsstand price rise to $1 this week.
The changes aren’t just to the org chart. Amid an overhaul of the editorial workspace, the paper’s “newsroom culture is gone,” one Plain Dealer reporter told me. (He, like the other current Plain Dealer staffers in this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity.)
And here are some of the stories that picked up the thread:
- Why Cleveland needs the Plain Dealer to survive (Public Square News)
- Latest CJR dispatch paints fracutured picture of Plain Dealer newsroom culture (Cleveland Scene)
- The nomadic world that now is the Plain Dealer (Crain's Cleveland)
- The TP Fiasco: Cleveland Gets a Better Deal, Yet Staff Feels The TP's Pain (My New Orleans)
- CJR.org looks at The Cleveland Plain Dealer since "digital first" (Hell and High Water)