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The Plain Dealer

The Plain Dealer
The Plain Dealer
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner(s) Advance Publications
(Newhouse Newspapers)
Founded 1842
Headquarters Plain Dealer Publishing Co
4800 Tiedeman Road
Brooklyn, Ohio 44144
Circulation 311,605 daily and 458,838 Sunday [1]

The Plain Dealer is the major daily newspaper of Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It has the largest circulation of any Ohio newspaper and was a top 20 newspaper for Sunday circulation in the United States as of March 2013.[2]

As of October 2013, The Plain Dealer had more than 537,000 daily readers and 856,000 readers on Sunday.[3] The Plain Dealer's media market, the Cleveland-Akron DMA (Designated Market Area), is one of the Top 20 markets in the United States. With a population of 3.8 million people, it is the fourth-largest market in the Midwest, and Ohio's largest media market.[4]

In April 2013 The Plain Dealer announced it would reduce home delivery to four days a week, including Sunday.[5] This went into effect on August 5, 2013. A daily version of The Plain Dealer is available electronically as well as in print at stores and newsstands.


  • History and ownership 1
  • Awards and honors 2
  • Pricing, distribution, circulation 3
  • Bureaus 4
  • Major sections 5
    • All editions 5.1
    • Weekly features 5.2
    • Discontinued sections 5.3
  • Design 6
  • Employees 7
    • Executive staff and editors (Plain Dealer Publishing) 7.1
    • Executive staff and editors (Northeast Ohio Media Group) 7.2
    • Columnists 7.3
  • Criticism and controversies 8
    • Political leanings 8.1
    • Publishing concealed weapons permit holder lists 8.2
    • "Held stories" controversy 8.3
    • Music critic sidelined 8.4
    • Shirley Strickland Saffold 8.5
    • Removal of debate video 8.6
  • 9
    • Politifact Ohio 9.1
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12

History and ownership

Front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer dated August 7, 1945 featuring the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.

The newspaper was established in 1842, less than 50 years after Moses Cleaveland landed on the banks of the Cuyahoga River in The Flats, and is currently owned by Advance Publications (Newhouse Newspapers).[6] The Plain Dealer Publishing Company is under the direction of Virginia Wang (general manager). The paper employs over 700 people.

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.[7] 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 closing by its major competitor, the Cleveland Press, owned by the E.W. Scripps Company, in 1960.[8]

On December 18, 2005, The Plain Dealer ceased publication of its weekly Sunday Magazine, which had been published uninterrupted for over 85 years.[9] 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 the morning of Wednesday, July 31, 2013, nearly a third of the newsroom staff was eliminated through layoffs and voluntary resignations. The Plain Dealer's corporate owner, New York-based Advance Publications Inc., a private company run by the heirs of S.I. Newhouse, under a strategy to focus more on online news delivery, had been cutting staff and publication schedules. Previously, in December 2012, under an agreement with the Newspaper Guild, nearly two dozen union newsroom staff voluntarily accepted severance packages.[10] The July round of layoffs led to accusations by the Guild that management had misled the union by cutting more employees than had been agreed upon.[11]

On August 5, 2013, the Northeast Ohio Media Group launched and The Plain Dealer Publishing Company was formed. Northeast Ohio Media Group operates and Sun News and is responsible for all multimedia ad sales and marketing for The Plain Dealer, Sun News and It also provides content to The Plain Dealer, and Sun News. The Plain Dealer Publishing Company provides content and publishes in print seven days a week. The company also provides production, distribution, finance, information technology, accounting and other support services for the Plain Dealer Publishing Co. and Northeast Ohio Media Group.

Awards and honors

Pricing, distribution, circulation

The daily paper costs $1 and the Sunday/Thanksgiving Day edition is $2.25 at newsstands/newsracks. The full subscription weekly price is $4.65. These prices only apply to The Plain Dealer's home delivery area, which are the Northeast Ohio counties of Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Portage, Erie, Ottawa, Summit, Ashtabula, Medina and Lorain. The Plain Dealer is available all over the state at select newsstands, including in the state capital, Columbus, and anywhere in the US or world via US mail service. The newspaper reported daily readership of 543,110 and Sunday readership of 858,376 as of October, 2013.[3]

Effective August 5, 2013, home delivery was reduced to four days a week; a "premium" (full) edition on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, and a bonus version on Saturday.[22] Subscribers to the three premium editions have access to a digital version seven days a week, which is an exact replica of the morning's paper.[23] A print edition is still available daily at stores, newsracks and newsstands.[23]


The Plain Dealer formerly operated a variety of news bureaus. By the middle of 2014, both the state capital bureau in Columbus and the Washington bureau were shifted to the Northeast Ohio Media Group, as shown by the affiliations of their bureau chiefs. [24][25]

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 August 5, 2013.

Major sections printed in most editions include:

All editions

Local, state, national, and international news, editorial/op-ed page, and weather
Local and national business news, stocks, bonds.
Cleveland and national sports news and commentary. The sports section focuses its beat reporters on the Browns, Cavaliers, Indians, Cleveland State Vikings men's basketball, Mid-American Conference football and basketball and Ohio State Buckeyes football and men's basketball.
Includes comics (printed in full color), TV listings, and the Dear Abby advice column.
Home, auto, jobs, other classified advertising.

Weekly features

On October 8, 1922, The Plain Dealer, published an article written Royal S. Copeland telling Clevelanders to "Eat Candy as a Part of Your Daily Meal and Enjoy the Best of Health."
Friday! Magazine
Weekend magazine featuring movie reviews, event calendars, restaurant reviews and other cultural/nightlife pieces. (Friday)
Articles and stories about the latest trends in food, locally and nationally (Wednesday)
North Coast
detailing local trends and community stories. (Sunday)
expanded arts section. (Sunday)
expanded business section. (Sunday)
Buckeyes Extra
expanded Ohio State football coverage. (Sunday)
Browns Extra
expanded Browns coverage (Monday)
expanded editorial and opinion section. (Sunday)

Discontinued sections

The Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine
discontinued as of December 18, 2005
discontinued and merged into Style & Taste as of July 1, 2008[26]
a section devoted to younger readers that was discontinued in 2008.


The Plain Dealer employs a modern styling of a daily newspaper, but has undergone dramatic stylistic changes in the past few years to update the print edition's look. 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.


Executive staff and editors (Plain Dealer Publishing)

  • Virginia Wang, General Manager
  • Joseph J. Bowman, Vice President of Operations
  • William Calaiacovo, Senior Vice President, Labor Relations, Human Resources, and Organizational Development
  • William V. Mickey, Vice President of Information Systems
  • Howard Patterson, Controller
  • Frank Horvath, Vice President, Circulation and Product Distribution

Executive staff and editors (Northeast Ohio Media Group)

  • Andrea Hogben, President
  • Mike Maleski, Vice President of Sales & Marketing
  • Chris Quinn, Vice President of Content
  • Michael Tribble, Director of Product Innovation
  • Elizabeth Sullivan, Director of Opinion


  • Regina Brett
  • Ted Diadiun – Reader Representative
  • Brent Larkin
  • Michael McIntyre
  • Phillip Morris
  • Kevin O'Brien
  • Thomas Suddes – Ohio politics & government
  • Bill Livingston – sports
  • Terry Pluto – sports/religion
  • Bud Shaw – sports
  • Dennis Manaloff – sports
  • Michael Heaton – "Minister of Culture"
  • 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, the editorial board voted to endorse

  • on Cleveland.Com (Editorial Site)The Plain Dealer
  • on Cleveland.Com (Mobile Site)The Plain Dealer
  • (Business Site)Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • Politifact Ohio
  • Encyclopedia of Cleveland History article in the The Plain Dealer
  • Andy Netzel (April 2009). "Critical Sinking". Cleveland Magazine. Retrieved 2010-05-17.  (in-depth discussion of the Rosenberg lawsuit.)

External links

  • Tidyman, John (2009). Gimme Rewrite, Sweetheart: Tales From the Last Glory Days of Cleveland Newspapers. Cleveland, OH: Gray & Company, Publishers. ISBN 978-1-59851-016-4
  • Archer H. Shaw: The Plain Dealer. One Hundred Years in Cleveland. Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1942 - Internet Archive - online

Further reading

  1. ^ The Plain Dealer |Northeast Ohio Media Group
  2. ^ Top 25 U.S. Newspapers for March 2013
  3. ^ a b The Plain Dealer |Northeast Ohio Media Group
  4. ^ Cleveland DMA |Northeast Ohio Media Group
  5. ^ Northeast Ohio Media Group to launch in summer: Press Release |
  6. ^ Columbia Journalism Review (2005). [6] Who Owns What. Retrieved June 5, 2006.
  7. ^ Cleveland: Confused City on a See-saw (Electronic Edition). [7] Philip W. Porter, 1976. Pages 234–235.
  8. ^ Cleveland: Confused City on a See-saw (Electronic Edition). [8] Philip W. Porter, 1976. Page 10.
  9. ^ "The Plain Dealer kills off Sunday Magazine", Editor and Publisher, December 2005.
  10. ^ Robert L. Smith (December 11, 2012). "Newspaper Guild endorses labor agreement with The Plain Dealer". Archived from the original on January 15, 2013. 
  11. ^ Robert L. Smith (July 31, 2013). "The Plain Dealer executes newsroom layoffs as era of daily delivery nears end". 
  12. ^ The Pulitzer Prizes (2005) [9]. Retrieved June 5, 2006.
  13. ^ "It's Time To Do What Feels Right", Connie Schultz, February 16, 2006. [10]. Retrieved June 5, 2006.
  14. ^ Connie Schultz Devotes First Post-Sabbatical Column to Her Father
  15. ^ The Plain DealerPulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz resigns from
  16. ^ "Plain Dealer photo staff named best in Ohio 11th straight year". Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  17. ^ Ewinger, James. "The Plain Dealer's Gus Chan named Ohio news photographer of the year; staff named best in state". Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  18. ^ "PD AP awards" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  19. ^ "PD AP awards" (PDF).  
  20. ^ "PD AP awards" (PDF). Associated Press. Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  21. ^ APSOContestWinners
  22. ^ Dear Readers: Information about The Plain Dealer's delivery schedule |
  23. ^ a b "Dear Readers: Information about The Plain Dealer's delivery schedule". The Plain Dealer. May 21, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Profile page, Washington bureau chief Stephen Koff". Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  25. ^ "Profile page, Columbus bureau chief Robert Higgs". Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  26. ^ "PD Changes" (PDF). Cleveland Plain Dealer. June 29, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-12. 
  27. ^ The power of a publisher.
  28. ^ Cool Cleveland on PD and Voinovich.
  29. ^ Ohio for Concealed Carry
  30. ^ "WHO HAS YOUR BACK? Journalism in the Corporate Age", Columbia Journalism Review, September 2005.
  31. ^ "Keeping reporters' notes out of court", The American Editor, August 2005 – October 2005, FREEDOM OF INFORMATION. Pam Luecke, Author.
  32. ^ Wakin, Daniel J. (September 25, 2008). "Music Critic vs. Maestro: One Loses His Beat". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  33. ^ Lebrecht, Norman (February 12, 2004). "Franz Welser-Möst – The conductor they loved to hate". La Scena Musicale. Retrieved 2007-09-04. 
  34. ^ Cleveland Orchestra Scandal: Update, The New Yorker blog, December 12, 2008
  35. ^ "Plain Dealer reporter drops all but one claim against paper". The Plain Dealer. 28 January 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  36. ^ Wakin, Daniel J. (6 August 2010). "Cleveland Critic Loses in Suit Over Job Change". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  37. ^ a b c McCarty, James F. (March 27, 2010). "Anonymous online comments are linked to the personal e-mail account of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved January 4, 2011. 
  38. ^ a b Atassi, Leila (April 8, 2010). "Cuyahoga County Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold files $50 million lawsuit against The Plain Dealer and others". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved January 4, 2011. 
  39. ^ Farkas, Karen (April 22, 2010). "Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold is removed from the Anthony Sowell murder trial". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved January 4, 2011. 
  40. ^ a b "Saffolds dismiss lawsuit against Plain Dealer, settle with Advance Internet". The Plain Dealer. December 31, 2010. Retrieved January 4, 2011. 
  41. ^ Gomez, Henry. ""Gov. John Kasich ignores Ed FitzGerald in their only meeting of election season: 5 observations"". Northeast Ohio Media Group. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  42. ^ Mismas, Joseph. ""PD Pulls Video Of Kasich Refusing To Answer Editorial Board Questions"". Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  43. ^ Cushing, Tim. ""Cleveland Plain Dealer Owner Demands Takedown Of Unflattering Video Featuring Candidate It Endorsed In Governor's Race"". Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  44. ^ Jackson, Tom. ""PD silent on debate video"". Sandusky Register. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  45. ^ Castele, Nick. "The Only Video of Kasich and FitzGerald Debating Isn’t Online Anymore. What Happened?". Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  46. ^ Rosen, Jay. ""Chris Quinn, vice president for content at the Northeast Ohio Media Group… What’s up?"". Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  47. ^ Marx, Greg. ""News executives need to explain why video of an Ohio campaign interview disappeared"". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  48. ^ Diadiun, Ted. ""Here's why Chris Quinn took down the interview video of John Kasich, Ed FitzGerald and Anita Rios: Ted Diadiun "". Northeast Ohio Media Group. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  49. ^ Zimon, Jill Miller. "NEOMG Finally Publishes Its Explanation, Apology For Chris Quinn’s Video Removal Decision". Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  50. ^ Allard, Sam. """Finally, Poorly, the NEOMG Explains the Kasich Video Debacle and Chris Quinn's "Error in Judgement. Cleveland Scene. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  51. ^ , Jan 2006Cleveland Magazine"The New Dealer",
  52. ^ "About us –"
  53. ^ ""The Plain Dealer drops PolitiFact, but keeps on factchecking"". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 


In July 2010, The Plain Dealer launched Politifact Ohio, a website that analyzes issues relevant to Ohio and the greater Cleveland area. The feature was produced in conjunction with its creator, the Tampa Bay Times. Four years later, the relationship was ended. Although the operation had generated criticism, the decision to drop it was attributed instead to a desire to keep all content on rather than the separate PolitiFact Ohio site, which remains available as an archive.[53]

Politifact Ohio

The quality of the site (as well as other Advance Internet sites) is regularly criticized by the staff, newsroom staff and locals.[51] The website was recently redesigned as a result.[52]

The Plain Dealer is the major news contributor to, the regional news, event and communication portal run by Advance Internet via Northeast Ohio Media Group. The paper does not operate its own editorial website. Northeast Ohio Media Group runs a separate website for the business side of the newspaper, including advertising. also features news from 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.

At 7 a.m. on the day after the election, which Kasich -- endorsed by the NEOMG -- won easily, the news organization posted online an explanation of events written by its reader representative. The column cited this as Quinn's explanation: Shortly after the video was posted, the Kasich campaign contacted him and said it had not been aware a video would be posted online. Quinn eventually decided that his failure to explicitly explain the presence of a video camera was unfair. Further, "I thought that if I stated my reasons, the obvious next step would be people going to the candidates and asking them if they had any objection to putting the video back up," Quinn is quoted as saying. "That would mean my error could put people into an uncomfortable situation."[48] The explanation left at least some critics unsatisfied.[49][50]

During the debate, a video camera was positioned eight feet in front of the candidates. The resulting video was posted on A few days later, however, it was removed.[42] When other sites posted copies of the now-deleted video, the NEOMG sent letters threatening legal action.[43] The NEOMG's actions drew coverage from other media organizations[44][45] and criticism from media observers, particularly because Chris Quinn, the NEOMG vice president who sent the letters, declined all requests for comment.[46][47]

In October 2014, the Northeast Ohio Media Group hosted the three Ohio candidates for governor in what would be their only joint appearance. The debate was held before the NEOMG's editorial board (which also serves as the editorial board of The Plain Dealer) and NEOMG reporters. Incumbent Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, showed up at the debate without a tie and largely ignored his main rival, Democrat Ed FitzGerald. Kasich went so far as to refuse to admit he could hear the questions of FitzGerald, who was sitting next to him, and instead insisted that a reporter repeat them.[41]

Removal of debate video

In April, the judge sued the paper, its editor Susan Goldberg, and affiliated companies for $50 million, claiming violation of its privacy policy.[38] In December 2010, Saffold dropped the suit against the newspaper, and reached settlement with Advance Internet, the Plain Dealer affiliate that ran the newspaper's website.[40] The terms of the settlement were undisclosed, but included a charitable contribution in the name of Saffold's mother.[40]

In March 2010, the Plain Dealer reported that approximately 80 comments had been posted to articles on its web site by an account registered to the email address of Shirley Strickland Saffold, a judge sitting on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.[37] Several of the comments, posted under the pseudonym lawmiss, discussed matters that were or had been before the judge.[37] Although the judge's 23-year-old daughter Sydney Saffold took responsibility for the postings, the paper was able to use a public records request and determine that the exact times and dates of some of the postings corresponded to the times that the corresponding articles were being viewed on the judge's court-issued computer.[37] The revelation led one attorney, who had been criticized in the postings, to request the judge recuse herself from a homicide trial in which he represented the defendant.[38] Ohio Supreme Court Acting Chief Justice Paul E. Pfeifer subsequently removed Saffold from the case.[39]

Shirley Strickland Saffold

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".[33] 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.[34] Rosenberg dropped a number of claims against the paper in 2009,[35] and in August, 2009, a jury rejected the remaining claims.[36]

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.[32]

Music critic sidelined

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.[31]

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.[30]

"Held stories" controversy

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 Clifton's home address and phone number.[29]

Publishing concealed weapons permit holder lists

The paper had also been accused of being too soft on Sen. Eric Fingerhut, a Democrat.[28]

New York Times'., including the wire services The news coverage is generally more neutral, with national and international news often culled from [27]

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