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Monday, April 13, 2015

@1801SuperiorAve Is Driving the Bosses and Reporters at Cleveland.com Batty

Posted By on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 at 1:48 PM

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Just about every media outlet has a troll and the man to the right is Cleveland.com's.

That's not his real face, of course — Internet trolls don't use real faces or names. That's the face of Louis B. Seltzer, longtime editor of the Cleveland Press and legendary Northeast Ohio journalist. And the handle itself: just the address of the former Plain Dealer and current Northeast Ohio Media Group offices.

@1801SuperiorAve has been on Cleveland.com's case for awhile with a mix of vitriol, critiques and newsroom gossip. The account is protected now (and it occasionally goes offline for reasons unknown), but it's been a persistent thorn in the sides of both PD and NEOMG employees (we'll get to that juicy bit below) and the source of much speculation.

Plenty of names have been bandied about as the culprit, ranging from former Plain Dealer writers and employees to third parties with tangential interests in lambasting the operation. Yes, a handful of specific names have been discussed as the source, a few even confronted or accused personally by current scribes, but the true identity of 1801 remains a mystery. (We emailed @1801 about answering some questions for us back in January — "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up. Send your Qs," he/she responded — but we've heard nothing since.)

The account claims only 156 followers (as of publication), but just about everyone at 1801 checks in to see what he/she is saying. Most just don't want to publicly follow the account or give @1801SuperiorAve the pleasure of clicking the follow button.

Here's a small sampling of what they find when they land there though.

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As you can glean, @1801's attacks aren't merely professional in nature. Most of his targets get nicknames — Captain Click, for instance, for NEOMG boss Chris Quinn — and @1801 has crossed all boundaries of good taste with a couple of significantly mean-spirited and prying personal attacks against certain people. 

Which is part of the reason the account is such a topic of conversation in the newsroom and in the offices of Top Men.

Here's how one newsroom source described it to Scene last week:

"People at PD and NEOMG are pulling hair out like crazy. His/her tweets are spot on and the folks have thin skin. It is schadenfreude at its best for us here. I think people are spending more time checking his/her Twitter feed than working on stories. Reporters on both sides are so mad." 

And then there was this:

"[Chris] Quinn is going apeshit over this. It is an obsession. I know he reached out to Twitter to shut it down but they, of course, refused. The irony — the suppression of protected speech by a newspaper — was not unnoticed.

We reached out to Quinn to see why he would want to get Twitter to shut down the account but haven't heard anything back yet, and we probably won't. Until then, our offer still stands to learn more about you, @1801. We're sure you're reading.

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