Hot on the heels of a hefty round of layoffs at The Plain Dealer—and just prior to yet another hefty round of layoffs—the newly formed Northeast Ohio Media Group is pushing for a hefty round of hires.
In what amounts to shell game-style switcheroos, the Northeast Ohio Media Group is now advertising job openings that bear an eerie resemblance to the jobs being lopped off the Plain Dealer's business operations. Think senior sales consultants, account associates, research analysts.
Prospective employees (and former employees, perhaps) can check out the offerings at neohiomediagroup.jobinfo.com. It's a strategy employed with similar head scratching at Advance's other properties—most notably in New Orleans when the NOLA Media Group turned around and posted job openings following layoffs at the Times-Picayune. There are newsroom jobs being advertised, as well (community reporters, high school sports reporters, editorial writers), which paves the way for the discussion about New York-based Advance Publications' journalistic offerings here in town.
South on I-77 in Valley View, Sun News employees are left with even fewer answers. (Disclosure: I worked for Sun News until last year. The company is also owned by Advance Publications.) With thick quotation marks on either side of the phrase, "the transition" has been spoken of for well over a year now.
But the endpoint of "the transition" has always been obscured. In any of the numerous press releases announcing Advance's shakeup in Cleveland, Sun News' various local newspapers garner little more than a passing reference. The likely result will be folding Sun's operations deeper into the Cleveland.com and Northeast Ohio Media Group. And the process has already been set in motion.
Readers rightfully point to the corporate higher-ups' handling of the Plain Dealer as a botched job at best and a fiasco at worst. But the news outfit getting an even shorter shrift is the one that actually pumps out true local news—with no wire-report filler. Earlier this year, though, a hiring freeze was placed on the newsroom, cutting resources even more dramatically than at the PD.
And what's turned into a massive rebranding effort for all involved companies has squeezed out much of Sun's local imprint—especially on the digital end. For example, cleveland.com/sun used to be heavily laden with the Sun brand. It now redirects to the rather vanilla cleveland.com/community. There's also the bizarre competition between PD and Sun reporters on local stories that blossom out of the 'burbs. Both outlets have reporters jockeying for web space on the same website, furthering fractures in the run-up to the new Northeast Ohio Media Group plan.
Regarding Advance's three-days-a-week plan for the Plain Dealer, all indicators right now have the Sun newspapers still being published and delivered on Thursdays. So there's that.
Back at 1801 Superior, however, Plain Dealer newsroom employees—and, you know, the paper's readership—are sweating the impending layoffs. Those will account for about one-third of the newsroom. Those cuts are expected to drop sometime before Aug. 5.