Advance Offers Buyouts To Veteran Cleveland.com Staff

The headquarters of Advance Ohio, formerly the Plain Dealer's newsroom, on Superior Avenue in Cleveland. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
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Staff at Cleveland’s largest news outlet could learn as soon as Monday who has accepted a round of buyouts offered for Cleveland.com staff and for Plain Dealer managers.

The Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild, which represents Plain Dealer staff, said on Twitter this week that the news outlet’s parent company, Advance Ohio, offered voluntary buyouts for staff with at least 15 years of experience.

That applies not to the newspaper guild, but to PD managers and all staff at the non-unionized sister company, Cleveland.com.

Speaking on 90.3’s the Sound of Ideas, Advance Ohio president Chris Quinn said the financial situation is not dire.

“It’s just the falling circulation numbers in print, they continue to hamper us,” Quinn said. “So we’ll—you hate to see them go, they’re veteran people, it’s a lot of experience. Nothing matters more. But if it fits for where they are in their lives, and we can save some money, we’re going to do it.”

Even after the buyouts, Quinn said, the news outlet will still be “a huge operation.”

In a written statement, one of the vice presidents of the guild, Rachel Dissell, questioned that explanation. 

“The Guild is sad for the loss of any journalists, especially ones with institutional knowledge and experience who have done what we view as a public service for Cleveland,” Dissell wrote. “But we also are baffled how print circulation can be blamed for buyouts at a digital company that we’ve been told again and again over five years is a separate entity from The Plain Dealer.” 

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