Plain Dealer slowly folds; alternatives needed.
“In effect,” the Guild statement read, “he is admitting that this decision is part of a broader move to eliminate The Plain Dealer and its staff altogether and not an attempt to provide meaningful coverage on areas the company has stopped reporting on in any depth for years… A move like this is incomprehensible and can only be interpreted as a way to punish people for belonging to a union.”
We’re definitely going to need a new business and economic model for a) supporting good reporting; and b) informing the public.
The Plain Dealer’s ownership sucks (!) of course but the overwhelming trend is that you can’t make money running a big metropolitan daily newspaper in print that’s funded by advertising. That model worked incredibly well from (I’m guessing) like 1900 to around 2000 but it started to sputter around then and it’s obviously failing now. (I.e., even if Advance wasn’t a terrible company this would still be a problem.)
Before that, newspapers tended to be hyperpartisan and run by special interests. That system worked in its way.
So what’s the deal now? Sponsored reporting? Paying individual reporters $5 a month to get their newsletters in email? Running something like Patreon but for news? Relying on super public-spirited amateurs to write investigative stories on their blogs? Merging media with political parties? Tip economy?
I don’t know. I do know that people need to know what’s going on around them, and there needs to be a way to make that available in a sustainable way, and hardcopy metro daily papers isn’t it.
April 7, 2020 @ 10:19 am
Cleveland.com and Advance Publications are a much bigger villain in all this. If you are angry about these layoffs and the gutting of the Plain Dealer (as well you should be), do not support cleveland.com. Don’t give them page views or advertising revenue. There are other local news sources–Cleveland Scene (which needs our help), WKYC and WEWS both have online news sites.