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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Money's getting tight at The Plain Dealer

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2008 at 1:33 PM

Bad news at The PD. An anonymous reporter sent us this memo from editor Susan Goldberg, discussing ways to cut down the paper's cell phone bill. When you're examining something as small as cell phones at a business of this size, it's an indication that money's getting very tight at Cleveland's largest news gathering operation.
Folks: Let me say up front that this is not going to be everyone's favorite email, so bear with me... We need to be smarter about how we spend our money, and Terry [Publisher Terry Egger] has asked that we take a hard look at how we've distributed company cell phones...
The short version is that we are spending a whole bunch of money paying for cell phones for people who rarely * in some cases almost never * use them for work. Each department manager now has a list of everyone who has a company cell phone, as well as how much he or she has used it. We will look, case-by-case, at the records, each person's assignment and then make a determination about who needs a company-provided cell phone. If the answer is you don't, please be assured that you of course will be able to bill the company for any calls you make for your job on your own cell; you'll be reimbursed (we have a number of people who do this now). We also will have loaner cell phones available if that seems like it might be useful from time to time. Ellen will follow up with an email detailing various cell phone plans available, and the employee discounts you can get. I regret that this will be, for some people, a hassle you didn't need. But I'd ask that you look at the bigger picture. In a tight budget time, these are the kinds of expense cuts that are the easiest to make and that have the smallest impact on our staff and our readers. So, while this isn't fun (or why any of us got into journalism), I appreciate your cooperation in helping us with this relatively painless belt-tightening. Thanks...s.

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