I've been asked many times recently about the fate of The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. It appears some changes are in the offing, and the seven-day delivery will probably be a thing of the past.
Just like in Detroit, where the two daily newspapers are delivered to the home just three days a week, look for the same to happen soon with The Plain Dealer.
The question I get is this: What would that mean to the Norwalk Reflector? Is less competition good or is the demise of a big-city paper the start of bad things for everybody in the business?
I have no answers. I will say this: It is a sad day when any newspaper either closes or cuts back. I remember back in the early 1980s when the Cleveland Press just closed one day. The Plain Dealer was the morning paper. The Cleveland Press came in the afternoon. It was a perfect combination, until times got tough and the Press just couldn't make it anymore. Competition among newspapers is a good thing. No competition leads to complacency in any business.
Go to any store in Norwalk and look at all of the papers. Usually you can find six daily newspapers on the rack -- Norwalk Reflector, Sandusky Register, The Plain Dealer, Toledo Blade, Lorain Morning Journal and USA Today. Go down to the southern part of the county and you'll also find the Ashland Times Gazette and the Mansfield News Journal.
There is plenty of competition for newspaper readers.
Here is how The Plain Dealer publisher Terry Egger and editor Debra Adams Simmons described their situation:
"Ours is not an "either/or" decision between print and digital," they said in an open letter to their readers. "We must do both.
"We do not have a specific plan, timeline or structure for Cleveland. But we will -- very soon. We have the opportunities to capitalize on the tremendous strengths of The Plain Dealer, Sun News and cleveland.com, which are all under the Advance umbrella.
"We also have a chance to be even more useful and responsive to an audience that in recent years has migrated to digital platforms -- looking online, on mobile devices and tablets for news and information we previously provided only in print."
We have no plans at the Norwalk Reflector to cut back on any of our printing time, but we have been devoting tons of time and effort with our website, norwalkreflector.com. Along with sanduskyregister.com and fandy.com, we are the leading news provider in the region. From an up-to-date news feed to live sports broadcasts, you can get your news 24/7 from anywhere.
We are taking another big step this week with the debut of our new Fandy.com Magazine.
Fandy.com Magazine, the popular Sandusky Register/Norwalk Reflector weekly high school sports publication, is going all digital for the winter sports season.
Beginning Thursday, Fandy will be delivered to email in-boxes throughout the five-county coverage area. Registration is free. Go to fandy.com to sign-up. All you need is a valid email address.
"We are excited about the opportunity to expand our reach beyond print to electronic devices like tablets and smart phones," Mike Greco, Reflector sports editor and Fandy content manager said. "People expect to be able to access their news when and where they want it, as soon as it's available and that's where the new Fandy magazine will shine."
This is an ever-changing business and we want to be in the front of the line with what we offer to our readers. While other newspapers are talking about cutting back, we are giving you more.
Give the new Fandy a try. I think you will like what you see.
Joe Centers is the Reflector managing editor. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.