Picture-perfect CLE ❤️🌞— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) July 20, 2018
Photo: @[Gabe Leidy Photography] pic.twitter.com/8rnZRTzIM8
Talk about cuteness overload 😻❤️ Here's a gigantic mass gathering of golden retrievers!— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) July 20, 2018
BBC: The 150th anniversary of the founding of the golden retriever has been celebrated at the breed's ancestral home in the Highlands. https://t.co/CLmnoJCuiO
Harry Potter fans: do you think your dog is in the same Hogwarts house as you? This shelter sorts rescue pups to help them find a home ❤️🐶 (via In The Know) https://t.co/es392pBVnU pic.twitter.com/DOy1b3fe7m— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) July 23, 2018
What a stunning photo of sunflowers and the sunset in Avon, Ohio ❤️🌻— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) July 24, 2018
Photo: Gabe Leidy Photography pic.twitter.com/8SFTAw05mq
We ❤️ this photo of Cleveland's Terminal Tower. It was take from the top of Ohio's tallest building - Key Tower, which stands at 947 feet. pic.twitter.com/YEjste1XXF— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) July 24, 2018
And here are the five instances in which the word "journalism" has appeared in a tweet from the same account since Jan. 20, 2017, the day of Donald Trump's inauguration. (Two are promoting "Guns: An American Conversation" and one is quoting a Mashable headline.)
Students and staff members are mourning the death of Devin Moore, a senior journalism major from Cleveland. https://t.co/FL3eJ0Edvo— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) December 7, 2017
Let's talk about guns.https://t.co/bZO8B8L2qj is taking part in “Guns, an American Conversation.” This is a new approach to public service journalism that will bring together Americans in a Facebook group to discuss guns (via Poynter) https://t.co/9GoyIhBhwe— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) March 19, 2018
Mashable: Google's new message: "When journalism succeeds, we all do better." https://t.co/l7PKmcdD6L— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) March 21, 2018
They were recruited from across the country, & across the political divide, as part of an audacious experiment to create a new kind of journalism, a new kind of public discourse. They talked about ducking bullets, losing family members, the feel of a barrel pressed to a temple. pic.twitter.com/KcWruY3fBn— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) June 28, 2018
How best to memorialize Dick Feagler, who died Sunday at the age of 79? In his own memorable words. So excerpts follow from some of Feagler's most popular and noteworthy columns during his decades-long Cleveland journalism career. https://t.co/Ix25ZP2vT4— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) July 6, 2018
This is not, to be fair, a scientific or exhaustive comparison. But it's more or less illustrative of the account's tenor.
And there's not a ton of analysis required.
It's enough to mention that Cleveland.com is the region's largest and most influential media outlet. Quite apart from which digital content it chooses to prioritize or how it chooses to interpret audience "engagement" — there's no harm in agreeing to disagree on those fronts — it simply must be a stronger advocate for journalism and journalists in today's climate.
Our anxieties about Cleveland.com's leadership and mission are intensified by the calendar. In 2019, the Plain Dealer's union contracts will expire, and it's anybody's guess what will happen at that juncture. Will the reporters and editors at Advance Ohio's print offshoot, (consigned to stepchild status despite being the states's most recognizable brand in journalism), be invited to join the digital staff? Will they be tasked with producing a print product with ever-dwindling financial resources, pages, delivery days, and journalists?
Who can say?
Yesterday, the Chicago-based media company Tronc — eviscerated in this memorable John Oliver piece — laid off half the newsroom at the New York Daily News, the famous tabloid with the punny headlines that it acquired last year. Tronc saw fit to axe 25 of 34 sports journalists and most of the photo department, according to the New York Times. This devastating piece of industry news went unmentioned on Cleveland.com. Ironically, the last time the Daily News rated coverage on our local site was when it won a Pulitzer, with ProPublica, for its monumental reporting on eviction last year.
We suspect that working for distant corporate overlords who care far more passionately about profits than they do about their employees (or what their employees do) can be dispiriting. And we have immense respect for the committed reporters and editors who battle in Cleveland.com's trenches while their masters crunch the numbers on which they are judged.
But the numbers that this story's headline alludes to are ugly. They ought to be regarded with real embarrassment by the higher-ups at Cleveland.com. And if they're not, Advance Ohio should consider shifting fully to its digital marketing business and leave the journalism to the reporters and editors who have managed, through their abuse, to still give a shit.