SAVE THE PLAIN DEALER …

This isn’t a post about my romantic suspense, “Love’s Secret Fire,” but it is about something that is near and dear to my heart — journalism.

Journalism in its printed form — newspapers. I am a newspaper reporter.

I don’t work for a newspaper right now but I swear, that ink gets in your blood and you never lose that drive to find the facts, get the story, share the news. It’s probably why my “Love’s Secret Fire” heroine, Valerie Daniels, is a part-time news reporter. And yes, I am a news junkie.

There is a campaign underway in Cleveland, OH. to save the city’s daily newspaper,The Cleveland Plain Dealer, one of the country’s biggest newspapers. Before relocating to Central Illinois, I proudly worked as a Plain Dealer reporter.

I’ve always been a newspaper reporter. My first “real” job out of college was at a now-defunct weekly newspaper in the Pittsburgh area where I worked my way up from part-time reporter to editor. Before leaving Pittsburgh, I could show you bylines in that’s city’s daily paper, The Pittsburgh  Post-Gazette — like The Plain Dealer it is among the top twenty in the country.

Today, The Cleveland Plain Dealer is threatened by the digital age. Advance Publications, which owns The Plain Dealer, wants to reduce the print product to three days a week and disseminate the news the other days solely online. Advance Publications already has cut staff and reduced print schedules at other papers it owns in New York, Harrisburg, PA., Alabama, Michigan and New Orleans.

I can’t get my head around not having a newspaper to read every day. Even on the days when I don’t get around to reading our local paper, I like the idea that it’s here. I know there are people who get all their news and information online, including my sons. I myself jump online several times a day for various reasons and, obviously, since my book was released first as an e-book, I’ve embraced the digital age.

But getting the news online is akin to only reading the headlines. If you want the full story, the factual details, you’ve got to read the entire news article. You won’t find that in the online versions of  news reporting where speed — be the first to break the story — takes precedence over check the facts and get it right.

Anybody can “post” the news. It takes training and talent to “report” it.

I still have friends at The Plain Dealer who are wondering today if they will have jobs next month. The reduction to three-days-a-week means at least one-third, if not more, of the staff will be furloughed.

As I said at the beginning of this post, there is an ongoing campaign to save the paper. The staff is challenging the plans and fighting the demise. You can join the crusade by signing a petition to Save The Plain Dealer. If you are a Facebook member, you can sign it from here:

http://www.facebook.com/SaveThePlainDealer

If you aren’t on Facebook, you can find it here:http://www.facebook.com/SaveThePlainDealer

You don’t have to. But I wish you would.

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