Cleveland Plain Dealer Fires One-Third of Newsroom Staff

Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 03:49 PM

By Dan Weil

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The Cleveland Plain Dealer laid off 50 journalists, about one-third of its newsroom staff, Wednesday, as the paper prepares to curb its delivery to three days a week starting next week.

The Newspaper Guild, which represents the newsroom workers, announced the firings.

“It’s a terrible day for the newsroom employees who have been through this before in 2008, and anybody who has been through a mass layoff knows how awful it is," said Harlan Spector, chairman of the Plain Dealer's unit of the union, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.

"Beyond that, it’s also a sad day for Cleveland journalism."

Reporters, photographers, page designers and others lost their jobs.

"Many of those let go will be familiar names to readers — reporters, columnists, photographers and artists whose bylines have accompanied some of the paper’s finest content, and whose expertise touches virtually every subject the paper covers, from transportation and investigative reporting to education and sports coverage," according to the Save The Plain Dealer Facebook page.

"Many others, though less well-known publicly, have been every bit as essential to the quality of The Plain Dealer. They are editors, page designers and others whose skills have ensured a high-quality daily newspaper."

Newspapers around the country have been cutting workers during the past 10 years, as the Internet has taken away readership and advertising from newspapers.

“These cuts that are taking place, . . . beyond the newsroom staff cuts, the other layoffs and cuts to home delivery, the disinvestment in the newspaper itself, are a tremendous blow to the community," Spector said.

"The community depends on its daily newspaper to deliver serious journalism. The Plain Dealer’s ability to do that has been severely compromised due to these cutbacks."

The Plain Dealer has a weekday circulation of about 286,400. It's owned by Advance Publications. Other Advance papers, including the New Orleans Times-Picayune and The Birmingham (Alabama) News have trimmed their publishing schedules to three days a week.

The Plain Dealer will still come out every day.

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