The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

July 31, 2013

Union: Plain Dealer cuts third of newsroom staff

CLEVELAND — The Plain Dealer in Cleveland cut about a third of its newsroom staff Wednesday, months after announcing it was reducing home delivery of the newspaper, union leaders said.

About 50 reporters, photographers, page designers and other Newspaper Guild-covered employees received layoff notices, according to the guild.

The newspaper did not release a list of those who lost their jobs. A message seeking comment was left the newspaper.

Guild chairman Harlan Spector said those let go included veteran reporters and photographers who had become familiar names to the paper’s readers. “We have not completed a tally,” said Spector, who volunteered to be laid off.

The Plain Dealer, beginning next week, will reduce home delivery to three days a week while also providing a “bonus” home-delivered edition on Saturdays.

The newspaper, which announced the changes to home delivery in April, also will be printed every day and be available for purchase at outlets in northeast Ohio.

A new digitally focused media company called Northeast Ohio Media Group will also start this summer. The organization will be responsible for all ad sales and marketing for The Plain Dealer and oversee the operation of the Cleveland.com website and Sun News, a chain of weekly newspapers.

The Northeast Ohio Media Group and The Plain Dealer Publishing Company will provide content for all print and digital platforms.

The newspaper, which has a weekday circulation of about 286,400, is owned by New York-based Advance Publications Inc. Other Advance papers, such as the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and The Birmingham News in Alabama, have cut back their publishing schedules to three days a week.

Union leaders in Cleveland expect about 110 guild-covered employees to remain in the newsroom following the layoffs.

The Guild had been waging a billboard campaign to preserve jobs and Cleveland’s seven-day publication schedule.

“It’s a sad day for northeast Ohio,” said John Mangels, a reporter who organized the campaign and also volunteered to be laid off. “The community deserves better than this.”

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