Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper current and former writers Guild union presidents to participate in grassroots forum for support for newspaper to stay a daily on Sunday, Dec 2, 2:30-4:30 pm, Lil Africa, 6816 Superior Ave in Cleveland, Publisher Terry Egger, Editor Debra Adams Simmons comment on invitation to attend, other speakers on the issue include State Representatives Bill Patmon, John Barnes Jr, Councilwoman Mitchell, Shidea Lane, Genevieve Mitchell, community activists, the newspaper endorsed President Obama for reelection, who won Ohio

Harlan Spector
Richard  Peery
Debra Adams Simmons
Terry Egger

By Kathy Wray Coleman

"We really appreciate the opportunity but are unavailable on such late notice."... Plain Dealer Publisher Terry Egger and Editor Debra Adams Simmons in a prepared statement to Cleveland Urban News.Com....Read this quote and more in the article below

CLEVELAND, Ohio- A former and current president of the Cleveland Plain Dealer Local One of the Northeast Ohio Newspaper's Guild, the newspaper's union for some 170 reporters, photographers, designers and other employees, will speak and take questions from a panel and the community at a grassroots forum on the union's campaign push to keep the Plain Dealer a daily print publication on Sunday, Dec. 2, from 2:30-4:30 pm at Lil Africa Recreation Center, 6816 Superior Ave in Cleveland. The event will be moderated by State Rep. Bill Patmon (D-10), who said that he "would be happy to moderate the forum." (For more information on the forum call The Imperial Women at 216-659-0473).

It is sponsored by several grassroots factions including The  Imperial Women, Black on Black Crime Inc., The People's Forum, The Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network, The Oppressed People's Nation, Stop Targeting Ohio's Poor, Peace in the Hood, The Carl Stokes Brigade, The Joaquin Hicks Real People's Movement, The Lucasville Uprising Freedom Network, The People's Fight Back Center, Revolution Books, Worker's World, Ohio Family Rights and The National Organization for Parental Equality. 

"I will be there and will be glad to answer questions from the community and the panelists," said Harlan Spector, president of The Guild, who will be joined on stage by former Guild president and retired Plain Dealer Reporter Dick Perry, also a former Reporter of the Call and Post Newspaper, Ohio's most notable Black press with distributions in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati

"I can't imagine anyone wanting to move from a daily publication to three days a week. It doesn't make sense and I will be glad to participate in a community forum," said Peery, who is Black and worked at the newspaper for 35 years before retiring, and who was a union president during the newspaper's flourishing days when it was peaking moments in the 1990's and early on in the following decade.

Plain Dealer Publisher Terry Egger and Editor Debra Adams Simmons, the newspaper's first Black female editor, were invited to speak but said in a prepared statement to Cleveland Urban News.Com that "we really appreciate the opportunity but are unavailable on such late notice."

Among the other speakers at the scheduled forum on the state of affairs of the newspaper and whether to support the union's efforts, and the newspaper in general, will be Shidea Lane, a  passenger who was upper cut and thrown from a Cleveland RTA Bus in Sept by a since fired bus driver in an episode that went viral, State Rep. John Barnes Jr. (D-12), Cleveland Mayoral Candidate Donna Walker Brown, Community Activists Don Bryant and Khalid Samad, and Former Cleveland School Board  Member Genevieve Mitchell, who will discuss the impact of the newspaper over the years on the Black community of greater Cleveland. 

"I will asked if the newspaper  will be fair to all people in its reporting including young Black single mothers and other women," said Lane, 25, and a single mother who said she will only speak briefly.

Panelists are Community Activists Art McKoy, Roz McAllister and Al Porter, and Cleveland Ward 6 Councilwoman Mamie Mitchell.  

After questions from the audience, those in attendance will vote on whether to back the union's request for support to urge the newspaper's owner's to keep it as a daily print publication, with results introduced before the audience and issued later to the press and other media.

"This forum, we hope, will be one of many in the community to discuss the future of the Plain Dealer Newspaper as it impacts Plain Dealer employees and the grassroots and Black communities, and the majority Black major metropolitan city of Cleveland and its suburbs of Cuyahoga County," said Imperial Women Leader Kathy Wray Coleman, one of the organizer's of the forum who also publishes the online newspaper Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's most read online Black news venue. "We invite everybody that reads to this forum."

Also at the forum, community activists will give an award made by PS Awards in Cleveland to Lil Africa owner and operator Nelson for community service, and one to Gavin Steinke, 8, for youth activism and for recently winning his school spelling bee.

A week ago on Nov 18 Terry, who is resigning next month as publisher of the Plain Dealer, told readers that the owners of the publication would be implementing a bold restructuring plan with specifics coming later, a statement that drew scattering attention and more national notice on the stability of the newspaper that endorsed President Barack Obama for reelection in the pivotal state of Ohio, a state that he won by only 2 percentage points. 

At issue, among other controversial measures, is the potential by the 170-year-old newspaper's out of-state owners, Advance Publishing, stationed in Staten Island, NY., to change from a daily print distribution to a  three-day a week newspaper, a controversial perspective as to its impact on the community, and on the futures of the employees of Ohio's largest newspaper. 

In an article yesterday published in USA Today, the national news publication says that the campaign to save the Plain Dealer, which also has an online publication with some similar and same news at Cleveland.Com., includes community forums and union billboards opposing expected cutbacks.  

Print news publications, often relied on by the elderly and those that want a newspaper in hand,  are having a time in America as online newspapers that bring in a fraction of the revenue are becoming more and more popular.

In Cleveland, the Plain Dealer and Call and Post have struggled to stay afloat but continue to fight to bring the community news in the traditional way that it had been use to receiving it. 

The Call and Post survives partly because its publisher, millionaire internationally known boxing promoter Don King, wants it to, though its overhead in no way matches that of the Plain Dealer, a print newspaper in debt like so may other newspapers nationwide. 

Reach Cleveland Urban News.Com by email at and by phone at 216-659-0473.