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The Plain Dealer is the major daily newspaper of Clevelandmarker, Ohiomarker. It has the largest circulation of any Ohiomarker newspaper, and is a top 20 newspaper for circulation in the United Statesmarker. , The Plain Dealer had more than 785,000 readers on weekdays and 1 million readers on Sunday. The Plain Dealer reported an average daily paid circulation of 336,939 for the six-month period ending in September, 2006. The Plain Dealer's media market, Greater Cleveland, is ranked #1 in the country for Sunday newspaper readership percentage (75.4% of total adults) and #2 in daily newspaper readership percentage (62.6% of total adults), second only to New York Times in the weekday editions.

History and Ownership

The Plain Dealer's Editorial headquarters in Downtown Cleveland.
The newspaper was established in 1842, less than 50 years after Moses Cleaveland landed on the banks of the Cuyahoga Rivermarker in The Flatsmarker, and is currently owned by Advance Publications (Newhouse Newspapers). The Plain Dealer is under the direction of Terrance C.Z. Egger, who serves as President and Publisher, Robert M. Long, Executive Vice President, as well as Susan Goldberg, who serves as Editor, replacing Doug Clifton. The paper employs over 1,500 people. The paper is referred to in short by Clevelanders as the "P.D.," as well as the "PeeDee" (the latter sometimes in a derogatory manner by critics of the paper). In 1917, the Cleveland Leader merged with The Plain Dealer.

The newspaper was sold on March 1, 1967 to S.I. Newhouse's newspaper chain, and has been under the control of the Newhouse family ever since. The paper was previously held by the trusts of the Holden estate, and operated as The Plain Dealer Publishing Company, part of the Forest City Publishing Company, which also published the Cleveland News until its purchase and subsequent closure by its major competitor, the Cleveland Press, owned by the E.W. Scripps Company, in 1960.

On December 18, 2005, The Plain Dealer ceased publication of its weekly Sunday Magazine, which had been published uninterrupted for over 85 years. The demise of the paper's Sunday Magazine was attributed to the high cost of newsprint and declining revenue, and the PD reassigned the editors, designers, and reporters to other areas of the newspaper. It also assured readers that the stories that would formerly have appeared in the Sunday Magazine would be integrated into other areas of the paper.

On May 14, 2007, Susan Goldberg, formerly Executive Editor of the San Jose Mercury News, was announced as Doug Clifton's replacement, effective May 29, 2007.

Awards

In 2005, Connie Schultz won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. It was the first Pulitzer for The Plain Dealer since 1953. Schultz announced a self-imposed sabbatical from her column in February 2006, to work on her husband Congressman Sherrod Brown's (successful) run for U.S. Senate. Schultz returned to print in January, 2007.

In 2008 and again in 2009, columnist Regina Brett was a Pulitzer finalist for commentary.

Other recent awards have included a "2003 Editor of the Year" honor for Doug Clifton, given by Editor & Publisher, the industry newsletter. E&P cited Clifton's efforts to energize The Plain Dealer's reporters and newsroom as quick and extremely successful; they had been languishing for years beforehand.

The Plain Dealer was named best large newspaper in Ohio by the Associated Press in April 2007.

Between 2001 and 2008, The Plain Dealer's photography staff was named Staff of the Year eight consecutive times by the Ohio News Photographer's Association.

The Plain Dealer has been a consistent top-ten finisher in the Society for News Design annual "Best of Newspaper Design" competition. In the 29th edition (for work done in calendar year 2007), the paper received 25 awards, including two Silver medals and one of only six Gold medals awarded in the competition.

Three Plain Dealer staffers won National Headliner Awards in 2008: columnist Philip Morris, photographer Gus Chan and illustrator/photographer Andrea Levy, who won her fifth consecutive Headliner.

Pricing, distribution, circulation

The daily paper costs 75 cents at the newsstand, 42 cents for home delivery, and the Sunday edition is $1.50 for newsstand or home delivery. These prices only apply to The Plain Dealer's home delivery area, which are the Northeast Ohio counties of Cuyahogamarker, Lakemarker, Geaugamarker, Portagemarker, Eriemarker, Ottawamarker, Summitmarker, Ashtabulamarker, Medinamarker and Lorainmarker. The Plain Dealer is however, available all over the state at the newsstand, including the state capital, Columbusmarker, and anywhere in the US or world via US mail service. The Plain Dealer currently has a total circulation of 330,280 on weekdays and 442,482 on Sunday, making the paper the largest newspaper in Ohio by circulation, a status it has held for some time. The paper posted an increase in weekday circulation for the first time in recent memory in April 2007.

Bureaus

The Plain Dealer operates a variety of news bureaus. In addition to its local metro reporters and columnists, The Plain Dealer operates a bureau in Columbus, at the state capital, that focuses on state-wide news and reporting. The P.D. also operates a Washingtonmarker bureau that reports on national news and events, focusing on the actions of and stories relating to the Ohio delegation in the U.S. Congress.

Major sections

The Plain Dealer is organized into several major sections, depending on the day of the week. The Sunday edition is, as with any major U.S. daily newspaper, the largest edition of the week. The current organization took effect July 1, 2008.

Major sections printed on most editions include:

All editions

News
Includes Front Page, International, and National News (including Washington, D.C.), editorial/op-ed page.
Metro
Local news for Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, obituaries and death notices, local, national and international weather.
Business
Local and national business news, stocks, bonds.
Sports
Cleveland and National Sports News and Commentary. The sports section focuses its "beat reporters" on the Browns, Cavaliers, Indians, Cleveland State Vikings, Mid American Conference and heavy coverage of the Ohio State Universitymarker football team.
Diversions
Includes comics (printed in full color in almost all daily editions, black & white is quite rare).
Classifieds
Home, auto, jobs, other classified advertising.


In addition to these sections, various work week editions include special sections such as:

Inside and Out
Home and garden section, with articles relating to home improvement and decoration.
Friday! Magazine
Recently revamped weekend magazine featuring movie reveiews, event calendars, restaurant reviews and other cultural / nightlife pieces.
Style & Taste
Combination of fashion and food
PDQ
"Lighter" feature section aimed at younger readers.


Sunday Plain Dealer

Sunday editions include, in addition to the major sections above:
Travel
detailing travel tips.
Homes
detailing homes in the area and housing trends.
Sunday Arts
expanded arts section.
BigCollegeSunday
college football section, focusing on Ohio State.


Discontinued sections

The Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine
was discontinued as of December 18, 2005
Style
was discontinued and merged into Style & Taste as of July 1, 2008
Taste
was discontinued and merged into Style & Taste as of July 1, 2008
Arts & Life
was discontinued and merged into Diversions as of July 1, 2008


Style

The Plain Dealer employs a modern styling of a daily newspaper, and the P.D. itself has undergone dramatic stylistic changes in the past few years to update the print edition's look. The Sunday edition was known as Plain Dealer Sunday, while weekday editions were The Plain Dealer, however in recent weeks the paper has standardized its masthead as "The Plain Dealer" across all weekday editions and refers to the Sunday edition as "Sunday Plain Dealer". Sunday is also more colorful and includes many one-time special sections with full page graphics, pictures, and other content. Weekday and Sunday editions regularly feature front pages with content boxes on the upper part of the page detailing news inside. The physical width of the paper has been reduced in recent years as well, a trend throughout the newspaper industry.

Employees

Executive staff and editors

  • Terrance C.Z. Egger, President and Publisher
  • Robert M. Long, Executive Vice President
  • Susan Goldberg, Editor
  • Elizabeth Sullivan, Opinion Editor
  • Daryl Kannberg, Deputy Managing Editor/Operations
  • Ted Diadiun, Reader Representative (ombudsman)
  • Elizabeth McIntyre, Deputy Managing Editor/Content
  • Chris Quinn, Metro Editor
  • Debbie Van Tassel, Assistant Managing Editor/Features
  • Randy Roguski, Business Editor
  • Roy Hewitt, Sports Editor
  • David Kordalski, Visual Editor
  • Jean Dubail, Assistant Managing Editor/Online


Columnists

  • Tony Brown, theater
  • John Campanelli, pop culture
  • Joe Crea, food
  • Kim Crow, fashion
  • Regina Brett
  • Brent Larkin
  • Phillip Morris
  • Kevin O'Brien
  • Donald Rosenberg, ballet, opera and other classical music events, but not the Cleveland Orchestra
  • John Soeder, pop music
  • Elizabeth Sullivan
  • Bill Livingston, Sports
  • Terry Pluto, Sports
  • Bud Shaw, Sports
  • Connie Schultz
  • Michael Heaton, Minister of Culture
  • Sheryl Harris, Consumer Affairs
  • Teresa Dixon Murray, Personal Finance


Criticism and controversies

Political leanings

The Plain Dealer has been criticized by liberal columnists for staking out generally conservative positions on its editorial page, despite serving a predominantly Democratic readership base. In 2004, most notoriously, the editorial board voted to endorse John Kerry. However, it was overruled by then-publisher Alex Machaskee, who ordered the board to write an endorsement of George W. Bush. Ultimately, editorial page editor Brent Larkin managed to talk Machaskee into withholding an endorsement. The news coverage is generally more neutral, with national and international news often culled from wire services, including the New York Times and Washington Post.

The paper has also been accused of being too soft on Sen. George Voinovich, and in the 2004 election cycle for the U.S. Senate, not providing fair coverage, if any, to Voinovich's opponent, State Sen. Eric Fingerhut, a Democrat.

Publishing concealed weapons permit holder lists

In 2005, the newspaper twice published lists of concealed weapon permit holders from the 5 counties around Cleveland. Editor Doug Clifton defended the paper's decision, sparking a feud with a pro-carry lobbyist group. State Senator Steve Austria called it abuse of the media access privilege, saying publishing these names would threaten the safety of the men and women who obtain these permits. An Ohio gun rights group then published Mr. Clifton's home address and phone number.

"Held stories" controversy

The Plain Dealer made national headlines in the summer of 2005, when editor Douglas Clifton announced that the newspaper was withholding two stories "of profound importance" after Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time Magazine were ordered to reveal confidential sources who had provided information on Joseph Wilson's wife being a CIA operative. The decision to compel the reporters to reveal sources was seen in the news media as a license to go after reporters and newspapers in the courtroom for not revealing confidential informants and a violation of the trust between reporter and said informants. Clifton was vilified in the news media as "having no backbone" and he himself even admitted that people could refer to him as "chickenshit." Clifton told the national press that while he and the reporters involved in the story were willing to be jailed for not revealing sources, the legal department of the Plain Dealer Publishing Company was worried that the newspaper itself would be sued and strongly opposed the printing of the stories. "Talking isn't an option and jail is too high a price to pay", Clifton said. The controversy ended when the Cleveland Scene, an alternative weekly Cleveland newspaper, published a similar story, thus allowing The Plain Dealer to print the withheld story. The story turned out to be on former Mayor Michael R. White's federal corruption probe, which was leaked to the press by an attorney on the case. The second withheld story has yet to be revealed.

Theater critic assaulted

In late 2006, the head of the Cleveland Play House assaulted theater critic Tony Brown after a negative review of a Play House play.

Music critic sidelined

On September 17, 2008, The Plain Dealer's music critic of 16 years, Donald Rosenberg, was told by the paper's editor, Susan Goldberg, that he would no longer be covering performances of the Cleveland Orchestra. Rosenberg had been critical of orchestral performances under its conductor Franz Welser-Möst, although his reviews of Welser-Möst as a conductor of operas had been positive. Terrance C. Z. Egger, president and publisher of the paper, is also on the orchestra's board. Welser-Möst is no stranger to robust criticism; during his tenure at the London Philharmonic Orchestra London critics gave him the nickname "Frankly Worse than Most". In December 2008, Rosenberg sued Cleveland's Musical Arts Association, the newspaper, and several members of their staffs, alleging a conspiracy to have him demoted.

Cleveland.com

The Plain Dealer is the major news contributor to Cleveland.com, the regional news, event, and communication portal run by Advance Internet. The paper does not operate its own editorial website, but does run a separate website for the business side of the newspaper, including advertising. Cleveland.com also features news from WKYC-TVmarker, the local NBC affiliate, and the Sun Newspapers, which are a group of smaller, weekly, more suburban-oriented newspapers in the Greater Cleveland metro area also owned by Advance Publications. The Sun Newspapers are the largest chain of paid weekly newspapers in the country.

The quality of the site (as well as other Advance Internet sites) is regularly criticized by the staff, newsroom staff and locals.The website was recently redesigned as a result.

References to The Plain Dealer in popular culture

  • The paper was parodied as the Sto Plains Dealer in Going Postal by Terry Pratchett.
  • Janet uses The Plain Dealer to cover her head in the rain in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  • Santa reads about himself in the Plain Dealer in the Christmas special The Year Without a Santa Claus.
  • In The Mad Scientists' Club children's story "The Strange Sea Monster of Strawberry Lake," the young heroes confide in a reporter for The Plain Dealer in revealing that they are behind the fake sea monster.
  • The title of the humor publication of the University of Chicago, The Chicago Shady Dealer, is a parodied title of The Plain Dealer
  • Headlines from The Plain Dealer were created for the film Major League.
  • "Is There Any Love?" a song by Kid Cudi featuring Wale from the mixtape "A Kid Named Cudi," contains the lyrics "I stayed away from reading The Plain Dealer / Most of my niggas back in Cleveland were plain dealers."


References

  1. Editor & Publisher, April 2007
  2. Scarborough Research, May 2006. Retrieved .
  3. "Newspaper circulation declines", Seth Sutel, October 31, 2006.[1].
  4. Scarborough Research Multi-Market Study R2, Nov. 2003; Demographics USA 2003. Retrieved .
  5. Columbua Journalism Review (2005). [2] Who Owns What. Retrieved .
  6. "For the Record", Presstime, September 2004, Reggie Borges.
  7. Crain's Cleveland Business Book of Lists 2005. "Largest Cuyahoga County Employers".
  8. Cleveland: Confused City on a See-saw (Electronic Edition). [3] Philip W. Porter, 1976. Pages 234–235.
  9. Cleveland: Confused City on a See-saw (Electronic Edition). [4] Philip W. Porter, 1976. Page 10.
  10. "The Plain Dealer kills off Sunday Magazine", Editor and Publisher, December 2005.
  11. Plain Dealer Names New Editor, May 14, 2007.
  12. The Pulitzer Prizes (2005) [5]. Retrieved .
  13. The Pulitzer Prizes (1953) [6]. Retrieved .
  14. "It's Time To Do What Feels Right", Connie Schultz, February 16, 2006. [7]. Retrieved .
  15. null
  16. "Plain Dealer's Regina Brett and Diane Suchetka are finalists for Pulitzers in journalism", April 21, 2009>
  17. The Plain Dealer, April 22nd, 2007 edition, Metro Section.
  18. The power of a publisher.
  19. Cool Cleveland on PD and Voinovich.
  20. Ohio for Concealed Carry
  21. "WHO HAS YOUR BACK? Journalism in the Corporate Age", Columbia Journalism Review, September 2005.
  22. "Keeping reporters' notes out of court", The American Editor, August 2005 – October 2005, FREEDOM OF INFORMATION. Pam Luecke, Author.
  23. Theater Critic Assaulted
  24. Cleveland Orchestra Scandal: Update, The New Yorker blog, December 12, 2008
  25. "The New Dealer", Cleveland Magazine, Jan 2006
  26. "About us — Cleveland.com"


External links




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