P’D Off

Confusion and uncertainty over the Plain Dealer’s future has hovered over the city since late fall.  The announcements made then hinted at cuts in staff and the possibility of part-time publication.  Yesterday, an answer came and gave Clevelanders…more confusion and uncertainty.

Advance Publication’s answer of keeping publication every day while cutting delivery to three days a week is naïve, or poorly thought out at best.  At worst, an attempt to undermine the paper.

This “solution” is insulting to PD readers and subscribers.  Imagine you’re paying $278 a year for a paper seven days a week then Advance cuts back to three days.  The real kicker, in the Q&A bit they printed about the change, they pretty much said they haven’t figured out how this will affect the prices for those subscribers.  Probably something that should have been determined BEFORE making this announcement, yes?

But hey, there’s that new e-edition subscribers will get seven days a week.  So shiny.

Advance gave a half-assed, half-hearted solution to the problem at hand.  How exactly is cutting delivery saving that much money?  Look farther down the line and more questions come up…

When pissed off subscribers cancel their subscriptions or cut back, how will this decision make up that lost income?  If advertisers then pull out, how will that loss be reconciled?  In short, an eight-year-old running a lemonade stand has a better business plan than this.

Or is it possible that this is exactly what Advance wants?  A set-up for failure that they can then say, “oh, gee…we tried,” before doing what they planned in the first place.

My hope is another buyer, preferably one that recognizes the importance of a newspaper to its region, will come in and work to preserve the paper as part of a bigger plan.  Even better would be an independently run PD, free from corporate decisions and gate-keeping.  Old-school journalism.

Thinking of a Cleveland without a newspaper concerns me.  Where the city is right now, a well run newspaper becomes even more important for the citizens.  Hopefully Advance will realize that, or get the hell out of the way.


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