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In a letter to readers Sunday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer editor says the “specific plan, timeline or structure” of the newspaper will be known “very soon.”

The talk in recent weeks has been what will happen to the Plain Dealer? Will there be deep cuts or publication changes from 7 days a week to 3?

While the answers to those questions still remain uncertain, readers of Sunday’s newspaper were told that “very soon” answers will be known.

Sunday’s letter from publisher Terry Egger and editor Debra Adams Simmons begins with “Dear Readers,” telling them “we do not have a specific plan, timeline or structure for Cleveland. But we will – very soon.”

It goes on to say, “whatever our final decision, this is not about cost cutting. It is about making a bold move to sustain our mission and viability in the future. Our real value to the community, indeed our core competency, is the information we gather and provide for and about Northeast Ohio. We will continue in that role and we will continue to do it better than anyone else, while at the same time recognizing consumers’ demand for information when and where they want to receive it.”

But it’s not how reporters there feel. John Mangels, chairman of the Save The Plain Dealer steering committee, wrote a response, saying “journalists who are conducting the Save The Plain Dealer campaign share Mr. Egger’s and Ms. Adams Simmons’ commitment to preserve quality journalism in Cleveland. But the actions of the paper’s out-of-town owners undermine that commitment.”

Mangels fear is that Advance Publications, which owns the Plain Dealer, will reduce the daily newspaper to three days a week and fire half or more of the experienced journalists who produce them. He said that’s what’s the publisher has done in other cities.

“It’s basic math. Fewer journalists equal fewer questions, less scrutiny and shrinking coverage. It’s all about cost-cutting. And that’s unfortunate, because there are other alternatives available to Advance besides dismantling The Plain Dealer.”

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