Plain Dealer readers will vote for charities to receive ‘editorial exposure,’ free advertising

The company that publishes The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer will send a ballot to subscribers Wednesday asking them to choose which of 50 local charities will receive “$1 million in free advertising in The Plain Dealer, Sun News and on”

The company’s press release says “the 20 agencies receiving the most votes will get editorial exposure during the holiday season, valuable free advertising throughout 2014 and funding from donations contributed by the community.” The advertising will be in print and online, Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Shirley Stineman tells Poynter in an email.

The remaining agencies will get free advertising, and “Everyone who votes will be entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win one of 10 iPads.”

The Orange County Register announced a similar program at the beginning of 2013. Read more


Retiring Ohio congressman hates commenters
U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette decided not to run for re-election this year. One thing he won’t miss about his old job? commenters, he tells Plain Dealer reporter Sabrina Eaton.

“What I won’t miss are the 20 people in their pajamas who go on anonymously and feel that the world is just dying for their snarky, stupid comments,” LaTourette said during an interview today.

The comments on the piece, which LaTourette agreed would be “bait,” are lively. “There are more than 20 people who posted on this article alone,” one wrote.

Related: Yale professor Stephen L. Carter on anonymous commenters (Bloomberg View) | Anonymous comments can be ‘a frothing, bubbling cauldron of insanity’ (Poynter) | Why we’ll never stop struggling over comment sections (Poynter) Read more


Cleveland Plain Dealer union gets new deal that protects staff from future layoffs, raises pay 8%

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has reached a new, tentative six-year agreement with the Guild’s bargaining committee. The new agreement offers some protections to the 58 people to be laid off next year and offers more protection to the employees who stay. The agreement also sheds some light on Advance’s plans for Cleveland publishing.

The layoffs were announced separately earlier this week and are not subject to negotiation. They will reduce the 168 Guild members in the newsroom by about one-third.

But the bargaining committee was able to limit future layoffs. “They had wanted to add a provision that allowed them to lose four [Guild] members a year through the length of the contract through attribution or layoffs,” Harlan Spector, chairman of the newspaper’s unit of the Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild, said by phone Thursday night. Read more

0 Comments embraces its anonymous commenters

While some news websites have turned to Facebook Comments and required commenters to use real names, The Plain Dealer website is embracing its anonymous commenters. “I think you miss out on the full extent of the [online] medium if you block out what readers have to say,” Editor In Chief Denise Polverine told NetNewsCheck. “Some news organizations feel their voice is the final voice on a subject, and that’s not the case at” That’s not to say the comments are untouched. Moderators remove offensive ones, and on sensitive stories comments may be disabled entirely. A community manager writes a note about commenters when they attain “featured user” status and quotes something they’ve posted recently. || Related: News websites see the benefits of using Facebook Comments; why people need anonymous identities on the Web.  Read more


Plain Dealer settles comment lawsuit, limits of anonymity untested
Last week’s out-of-court settlement of a reader comment lawsuit in Cleveland leaves several questions of newsroom operations and ethics unanswered.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer settled a suit brought by a Cuyahoga County Judge after an editor identified her as the source of a series of anonymous comments on

The comments, connected to cases before Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold, were traced to an account used by her family. Saffold denied making the comments and claimed her daughter was the source of the postings.

The Ohio Supreme Court removed Saffold from one case following the revelations citing the need to avoid the “appearance of bias.”

Saffold brought suit against the website and The Plain Dealer, claiming her right to privacy had been breached by the release of her identity in connection with the comments. Read more