CLEVELAND - After this week, Cleveland will become the latest big city without a paper delivered to homes on a daily basis. Wednesday, layoffs at the Plain Dealer were made official.
Plain Dealer service cutbacks begin Monday with a shift to four-day-a-week delivery on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
In 2012, The New Orleans Times-Picayune became the largest U.S. city to shift to three-day-a-week publishing.
The website "Newspaper Death Watch" lists a dozen daily metropolitan newspapers that have ceased operations since March 2007 in cities like Baltimore, Honolulu and Tucson.
The Dealer will still be available seven days a week in a printed edition available on newsstands and in an e-edition, joining a list of nearly a dozen other newspapers like the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Detroit Free-Press in moving to hybrid or online-only business models.
In a letter to readers, Senior Vice President of Circulation of The Plain Dealer Robert Perona wrote, "We are pleased to receive your feedback and are working hard to make this a smooth transition for you."
The "Save the Plain Dealer" Facebook page has been updating the changes. They posted Wednesday that approximately 50 journalists were laid off, eliminating more than one-third of the newsroom staff.
President & Publisher of the Plain Dealer Publishing Co. Terry Egger released the following statement:
Back in 2012 we made some key announcements about impending changes to our business model that would allow us to continue to provide quality journalism for and about the Northeast Ohio community for years to come.
Since that time, our business has continued to evolve and we have redesigned our operations and made some difficult but necessary staffing decisions. In order to realign our workforce for future growth, we have found it necessary to make additional reductions. As we stated back on June 19, final negotiated reductions would be occurring in late summer. Today we are announcing that layoffs will occur on July 31.
On Monday, August 5, we chart a new course to ensure that we are positioned to be a viable business in an effort to better meet the needs of our community and remain Northeast Ohio's number one source for news and information in today's changing media environment. We will be sharing a preview of the changes with our readers in a guide that will be included with The Plain Dealer on Sunday, August 4.
Members of the Newspaper Guild protested Tuesday the company's plans to reduce the unionized newsroom by more than a dozen additional people than agreed to seven months ago.
Harlan Spector, chairman of the Plain Dealer's unit of the Newspaper Guild, said supporters will gather in front of the Plain Dealer building at 6 p.m. Wednesday in honor of those who lost their jobs on what he called "a sad day in Cleveland journalism."