In an all-newsroom meeting called this morning with short notice, the Plain Dealer staff found out that publisher Terry Egger will retire January 1, 2013.
But that news was quickly shuffled aside as reporters peppered Editor Debra Simmons and Managing Editor Thom Fladung with questions about the paper's future. Specifically, the lingering specter of going to a 3-day publishing schedule like many of its sister papers.
The answers were not hopeful.
According to folks who were at the meeting, Fladung said (paraphrasing): "Change is coming. That's clear by what the company has been doing. "
And Simmons said: "If you need to make decisions based on the fact that change is coming, do so."
As a PD staffer points out, the top position at Cleveland.com is open and has not been filled, leading some to speculate earnestly that the two (PD and Cleveland.com) will become one (like the Syracuse operation) sooner rather than later.
Said one PD employee about Egger's departure: "We're assuming it's just so he doesn't have blood on his hands."