PD Staff Members Dress In Black Today

See addition to article below. Also note that Damian Guevara took the buyout as did April McClellan-Copeland and Jesse Tinsley.

Plain Dealer editorial staff dressed in black today, according to staff members, as the news dribbled in that colleagues had gotten the dreaded call that they were no longer needed.

The sorrowful tone at the Plain Dealer offices reminded some news watchers of the demise of the Cleveland Press in 1982.

The names of people who received the call from Editor Susan Goldberg this morning include some well-known bylines and a number of unfamiliar names to many readers. They receive two weeks pay for every year they worked at the newspaper.

Those dismissed include David Briggs, religion writer, long-time reporters Terry Oblander and Maggie Martin, photographers Roadell Hickman and Brynne Shaw, Melissa Hebert, home section writer, Brenda Junkin, food, Janet Filmore, also a religion writer.

Others included desk and editorial people – Jennifer Gonzalez, Susan Patton, Merlene Santiago and Melissa Hebert.

We had reported here earlier the names of Sam Fulwood, Scott and Chris Stephens, Alana Baranick, Wally Guenther, Karen Sandstrom, Molly Kavanaugh, Joel Rutchick, John Campanelli, Fran Henry, Mary Vanac and Chris Seper. Some of those who decided to leave were not staff members the Plain Dealer wanted to lose.

Management “basically could lay off anyone it wanted,” said a reporter, noting that seniority – often the major factor in layoffs where there are unions – was only one of a number of determining factors, and not the top factor.

Staff members, I was told, also were wearing a sticker that said, “Pledge,” a take on the Newhouse owners’ “pledge” of no layoffs for management people. Some believed that had a number of unnecessary managers been forced to retire more of the editorial staff jobs could have been saved.

Editorial staffers will be meeting tonight at 6 p. m. at Becky’s, a bar on E. 18th street, not far from the downtown PD editorial offices to “drown sorrows” and “commiserate,” said a PD reporter.

Campanelli, cited above, has rescinded his buyout (those who took buyouts had a period of time to change) and has been kept by the PD.

Goldberg was quoted by a reporter as having said to those dismissed that “you were selected” to be dumped. Not exactly the best choice of words to hear.

Others reported to have been told they were dismissed include the following: Sara Hollander, Eric Marched, Linda Steward Degraff, A. J. Janke, Lisa Higgs, Milan Ketchum, Amy Richard, Diane Behrens, Carl Matzelle, a 35-yer employee and a reporter who had been a librarian, Greg Richards, Doris Staneff, Bill Bevins and John Spetz, a long-timer at the PD and a wonderful individual with a very large family.

I don’t know all of these people but certainly there are tragic stories with each one, as there are with so many workers now facing the loss of jobs.

Comments

Another sad day in Cleveland. If the Newhouse family gave Cleveland a readable paper maybe their circulation would go up and, in turn, would be able to lure advertising.

So this is what we get for a price cut. Layoffs. Good Job at digging your own grave PD.

"you were selected" good to see there is compassion alive as we enter the holiday season.

So the Plain Dealer has invited Terry Oblander to leave. I hope Terry will continue to provide the Public Squares puzzle on the comic page. The puzzle is certainly more important than ever considering the PeeDee won't have anybody to actually cover news stories.

Bevins and Spetz were the two best wire editors The PD had; now what was once the state's best forn/nat operation is a rip-and-moveblock operation -- but that's okay, since there's no longer any space anyway. And in a region famous for its rich mix of faiths, there are no local religion writers, either. What a hideous day.

It is a well known psychological factor - you become what you think you are. Think you are a loser? You become a loser. The PD is acting like it has lost the "battle" with other media... so it is losing - drowning - dying. When you repeatedly tell folks that advertising dollars are down, others who advertise hesitate to buy ads - thinking "hmmm, what do those other advertisers know that I don't?"
It becames a downward spiral, that proverbial slippery slope. Once the descent reaches a particular point and momentum stopping it becomes nearly impossible.
The PD is going about this all wrong. They should accept a lower profit marginf for the business for now , increase stories, cover those things that no one else can cover - in depth - which TV, radio and the internet cannot do. Instead of raising the price of the paper and paying all those new salepeople hired to increase subscriptions the PD needs more than ever to have the BEST writers, editors, photographers. Readers notice: fewer stories, large pics and graphics that fill space but do little else, a steady decline in writing quality (do they really thing flippant is a good attitude for news stories?)
And the fact of the matter is, no one - NO ONE - can beat a newspaper for getting more quality ads to the most number of people on a daily basis. Sure one can search the internet but in the time it takes to check out one item in four or five online stores one can flip through every ad insert in the Sunday PD.
And among the worst things the "new" PD is doing is assuming that all its readers love to finish getting their news on the internet... Stories lack details and carry the proviso, to see more visit cleveland.com Well DUH, if people wanted to read their PD news online why are they buying the paper (by subscription or at newstands)? What a slap in the face to the very people who actually pay money to read the paper. If the goal is to kill the PD, they're on the right path.

I get every bit of my news online - local, national and international. I haven't subscribed to a paper since - well I can't remember since when - probably since the 90s.

cover those things that no one else can cover - in depth - which TV, radio and the internet cannot do.

Like what stories? And why couldn't those stories appear online?

Print's days are numbered. Just a matter of time - has been that way since internet news took off.

The same sort of things are happening to the Newhouse/Booth Papers in Michigan. Older, veteran reporters, writers and editors are being told where the door is, while younger people -- who maybe don't know the Africa Continent or State Question -- are being urged to hang around. What is it with Newhouse that they don't understand what sells papers = "news" from a paper that has earned the trust of its readers, a paper with integrity that is willing to set its writers "free" to cover the controversial stories, write the controversial columns that break with local denial and tom foolery and "take a chance" on readers that don't want to be spoon-fed the flotsam that backs the status quo? And raise the subscription rates and ad rates at the same time?

The Plain Dealer has written its own obituary. By cutting down on news stories and reporters and raising their prices, they have nothing to offer to their readers. No readers, no advertisers - a vicious circle. The daily newspaper isn't large enough to line a bird cage. And the Sunday paper is a joke. It used to take my husband and myself hours to read all of the interesting articles. Now, maybe an half hour. Just nothing of interest. It used to be worth while to get it just for the coupons. Now, the coupons are just about nonexistent. The paper has no one to blame but themselves. They only offer a liberal viewpoint on issues that should be non-biased. Stories that are on cable and of national interest are never even mentioned. The next step that they'll probably do is ask their idol Obama for a bail-out and in turn be owned by the government.