The Plain Dealer

The Plain Dealer
Plain Dealer front page.png
Front page of The Plain Dealer
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner Advance Publications
(Newhouse Newspapers)
Editor Debra Adams Simmons
Founded 1842
Headquarters Plain Dealer Plaza
1801 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44114-2198
 United States
Circulation 271,180 Daily (As of September 2009)[1]
428,000 Sunday (As of July 2008)[2]
Official website

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 circulation in the United States as of September 2009.[1] As of 31 March 2011 (2011 -03-31), for the preceding six-month period, the newspaper reported an average daily paid circulation of 254,372 and a Sunday paid circulation of 403,001.[3] As of May 2006, The Plain Dealer had more than 785,000 readers on weekdays and 1 million readers on Sunday.[4] 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 The New York Times in the weekday editions.[5]


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 River in The Flats, and is currently owned by Advance Publications (Newhouse Newspapers).[6] 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 Debra Adams Simmons, who serves as Editor, replacing Susan Goldberg.[7] The paper employs over 1,500 people.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10]

On December 18, 2005, The Plain Dealer ceased publication of its weekly Sunday Magazine, which had been published uninterrupted for over 85 years.[11] 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.


In 2005, Connie Schultz won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary.[12] It was the first Pulitzer for The Plain Dealer since 1953.[13] 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.[14] Schultz returned to print in January, 2007,[15] but resigned on September 19, 2011.[16]

In 2008 and again in 2009, columnist Regina Brett was a Pulitzer finalist for commentary.[17]

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.

Between 2001 and 2010, The Plain Dealer's photography staff was named Staff of the Year ten consecutive times by the Ohio News Photographer's Association.[18]

The Plain Dealer has been a consistent top-ten finisher in the Society for News Design annual "Best of Newspaper Design" competition.

Pricing, distribution, circulation

The daily paper costs 75 cents at the newsstand, 55 cents for home delivery, and the Sunday edition is $2 for newsstand, $1.75 for home delivery. 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 however, available all over the state at the newsstand, including the state capital, Columbus, and anywhere in the US or world via US mail service. The newspaper reported daily circulation of 252,608 and Sunday circulation of 348,324 as of September, 2010.[19]


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 Washington 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.[20]

Major sections printed in most editions include:

All editions

Includes Front Page, International and National News (including Washington, D.C.), editorial/op-ed page.
Local news for Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, obituaries and death notices, local, national and international 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 in almost all daily editions, black & white is quite rare), TV listings, and the Dear Abby advice column.
Home, auto, jobs, other classified advertising.

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

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."
Inside and Out 
Home and garden section, with articles relating to home improvement and decoration. (Thursday)
Friday! Magazine 
Weekend magazine featuring movie reviews, event calendars, restaurant reviews and other cultural/nightlife pieces. (Friday)
Style & Taste 
Articles and stories about the latest trends in fashion and food (Wednesday)
"Lighter" feature section aimed at younger readers. (Monday)

Sunday Plain Dealer

Sunday editions include, in addition to the major sections above:

detailing travel tips.
detailing homes in the area and housing trends.
Sunday Arts 
expanded arts section.

Discontinued sections

The Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine 
was discontinued as of December 18, 2005
was discontinued and merged into Style & Taste as of July 1, 2008[21]
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


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. 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

  • Terrance C.Z. Egger, President and Publisher
  • Robert M. Long, Executive Vice President
  • Debra Adams Simmons, Editor
  • Elizabeth Sullivan, Editorial Page Editor
  • Daryl Kannberg, Deputy Managing Editor/Operations
  • Chris Quinn, Metro Editor
  • Debbie Van Tassel, Assistant Managing Editor/Features
  • Randy Roguski, Business Editor
  • Roy Hewitt, Sports Editor
  • David Kordalski, Visual Editor
  • John Kroll, Director of Training and Digital Development
  • Ted Diadiun, Reader Representative (ombudsman)


  • John Campanelli - pop culture
  • Joe Crea - food
  • Regina Brett
  • Brent Larkin
  • Michael McIntyre
  • Phillip Morris
  • Kevin O'Brien
  • Donald Rosenberg - fine arts
  • John Soeder - pop music
  • Thomas Suddes - Ohio politics & government
  • Bill Livingston - sports
  • Terry Pluto - sports/religion
  • Bud Shaw - sports
  • 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.[22] The news coverage is generally more neutral, with national and international news often culled from wire services, including the New York Times'.

The paper had 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.[23]

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.[24]

"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.[25] 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.[26]

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.[27] 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".[28] 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.[29] Rosenberg dropped a number of claims against the paper in 2009,[30] and in August, 2009, a jury rejected the remaining claims.[31]

Shirley Strickland Saffold

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.[32] Several of the comments, posted under the pseudonym lawmiss, discussed matters that were or had been before the judge.[32] 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.[32] 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.[33] Ohio Supreme Court Acting Chief Justice Paul E. Pfeifer subsequently removed Saffold from the case.[34]

In April, the judge sued the paper, its editor Susan Goldberg, and affiliated companies for $50 million, claiming violation of its privacy policy.[33] 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.[35] The terms of the settlement were undisclosed, but included a charitable contribution in the name of Saffold's mother.[35]

The Plain Dealer is the major news contributor to, 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. 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.

The quality of the site (as well as other Advance Internet sites) is regularly criticized by the staff, newsroom staff and locals.[36] The website was recently redesigned as a result.[37]

Politifact Ohio

In July 2010, The Plain Dealer launched Politifact Ohio, a website that analyzes issues relevant to Ohio and the greater Cleveland area. The feature is produced in conjunction with its creator, the St. Petersburg Times.


  1. ^ a b E&P Staff (27 October 2009), "Top 25 Daily Newspapers in New FAS-FAX", Editor & Publisher (Duncan McIntosh), ISSN 0013-094X, OCLC 1567511,, retrieved 29 August 2011 
  2. ^ "PD By The Numbers" (PDF). Cleveland Plain Dealer. 29 June 2008. Archived from the original on 10 September 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2008. 
  3. ^ Audit Bureau of Circulations, "US Newspaper - Search Results; specifically, results for publication "Plain Dealer, Cleveland (Cuyahoga Co.)"", Newspaper (section) (Arlington Heights, Illinois: Audit Bureau of Circulations), OCLC 54060538,, retrieved 29 August 2011, "Preliminary figures subject to audit as filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Circulation averages for the six months ended: 3/31/2011." 
  4. ^ Scarborough Research, May 2006. Retrieved 27 November 2006.
  5. ^ Scarborough Research Multi-Market Study R2, Nov. 2003; Demographics USA 2003. Retrieved 21 March 2006.
  6. ^ Columbia Journalism Review (2005). [1] Who Owns What. Retrieved 5 June 2006.
  7. ^ The Plain Dealer/ (2010). [2] Debra Adams Simmons named editor; Susan Goldberg leaves The Plain Dealer.
  8. ^ Crain's Cleveland Business Book of Lists 2005. "Largest Cuyahoga County Employers".
  9. ^ Cleveland: Confused City on a See-saw (Electronic Edition). [3] Philip W. Porter, 1976. Pages 234–235.
  10. ^ Cleveland: Confused City on a See-saw (Electronic Edition). [4] Philip W. Porter, 1976. Page 10.
  11. ^ "The Plain Dealer kills off Sunday Magazine", Editor and Publisher, December 2005.
  12. ^ The Pulitzer Prizes (2005) [5]. Retrieved 5 June 2006.
  13. ^ The Pulitzer Prizes (1953) [6]. Retrieved 5 June 2006.
  14. ^ "It's Time To Do What Feels Right", Connie Schultz, February 16, 2006. [7]. Retrieved 5 June 2006.
  15. ^ Connie Schultz Devotes First Post-Sabbatical Column to Her Father
  16. ^ Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz resigns from The Plain Dealer
  17. ^ "Plain Dealer's Regina Brett and Diane Suchetka are finalists for Pulitzers in journalism", April 21, 2009>
  18. ^ "Plain Dealer photographers named best in Ohio", February 21, 2010
  19. ^ "Plain Dealer Circulation Drops Again", Cleveland Scene, October 25, 2010.[8]
  20. ^ Egger, Terry (29 June 2008). "A message to Northeast Ohio from The Plain Dealer's publisher, Terry Egger". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  21. ^ "PD Changes" (PDF). Cleveland Plain Dealer. 29 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-12. 
  22. ^ The power of a publisher.
  23. ^ Cool Cleveland on PD and Voinovich.
  24. ^ Ohio for Concealed Carry
  25. ^ "WHO HAS YOUR BACK? Journalism in the Corporate Age", Columbia Journalism Review, September 2005.
  26. ^ "Keeping reporters' notes out of court", The American Editor, August 2005 – October 2005, FREEDOM OF INFORMATION. Pam Luecke, Author.
  27. ^ Wakin, Daniel J. (25 September 2008). "Music Critic vs. Maestro: One Loses His Beat". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  28. ^ Lebrecht, Norman (12 February 2004). "Franz Welser-Möst — The conductor they loved to hate". La Scena Musicale. Retrieved 2007-09-04. 
  29. ^ Cleveland Orchestra Scandal: Update, The New Yorker blog, December 12, 2008
  30. ^ "Plain Dealer reporter drops all but one claim against paper". The Plain Dealer. 2009-01-28. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  31. ^ Wakin, Daniel J. (2010-08-06). "Cleveland Critic Loses in Suit Over Job Change". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  32. ^ 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. 
  33. ^ 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. 
  34. ^ Farkas, Karen (April 22, 2010). "Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold is removed from the Anthony Sowell murder trial". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved January 4, 2011. 
  35. ^ a b "Saffolds dismiss lawsuit against Plain Dealer, settle with Advance Internet". The Plain Dealer. December 31, 2010. Retrieved January 4, 2011. 
  36. ^ "The New Dealer", Cleveland Magazine, Jan 2006
  37. ^ "About us —"

Further reading

  • 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

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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