Plain Dealer publisher Terry Egger told employees today that the paper will continue to publish as a daily -- even as the PD's parent company, Advance Publications, slashes some of its Michigan newspapers to three and two days a week.
"As soon as you do that, game over," Egger said, according to this cleveland.com post.
I agree. Two weeks ago, while I was debunking the Web speculation that the PD would close, I wondered whether Egger would have to look at the model Detroit's dailies are turning to. They're cutting home delivery to three days a week and publishing newsstand-only mini-papers the rest of the week.
The PD's parent company looked at the Detroit model and went further with four of its Michigan papers. The Ann Arbor News is closing, to be replaced by a website that'll put out a twice-weekly print edition. The Saginaw News, Flint Journal and Bay City Times are going to three days a week.
But Egger's reaction to that idea is a forceful no. (He delivered it as he announced reductions in pay and work days for non-union staff.) I think his "game over" line means: the people who loyally read the paper daily over breakfast are your core audience, the last readers you want to give up on.
I agree. Egger's insistence that the PD will remain a daily (read: as long as he's in charge) should reassure anyone who cares about Cleveland journalism.
p.s.: Egger is speaking at Old Stone Church on Public Square at lunchtime Wednesday. I'm sure he'll get lots of questions about the PD's future.