Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Saving the Plain Dealer... and One Chic's Dream

Lying in bed last night with my mind racing about all the goals I want to accomplish in the coming, oh… 40 years or so, I kept circling around one in particular: to write more. But not just to write more, to get published for my own original thoughts and musings. And if I’m being totally candid, perhaps one day live out my wild, Carrie Bradshaw-Brett (like that pen name, the love child of Sex and the City and our very own Regina Brett?) fantasy of having my own column.

This whole brainstorm started around 4:45 a.m. and culminated at 5:50 a.m., when I realized sleep would not come - despite having gone to bed at 2 a.m. That’s how you know you’re really jazzed about whatever it is you’re thinking about. So I put on a pot of coffee and here I am in front of the glow of the computer screen, with some very shadowy, phantom light just creeping up the horizon of the Cleveland sky, replete with a great blanket of snow beneath it.
What’s got me up isn’t just my bucket list goal of writing more and being published; it’s much more than that. If you’ve got the time to give your coffee a warm-up and stay awhile here with me, I’d love to tell you about it. I’ve always been at my best in the written word. And, perhaps, if I can connect with enough of you, we all might be changed for the better and might also do some good as a result of it.
So I told you I want to write more, and I do. But I want to write more with a specific publication in my sights: The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Here’s the rub: how do I write more for a publication that’s in jeopardy of being diminished at best and phased out at worst? Now THAT is what has got me out from underneath my down comforter on a frigid winter morning before first light.
Some people like yourself, 7,314 to be exact, have signed the petition to save the Plain Dealer. Many others have written letters and gone to community events to speak out. As is so often said, every little bit helps. And if I’ve learned one thing in my life, the squeaky wheel truly does get the grease. Much has been written about why the cuts facing the Plain Dealer are devastating: the journalists (and likely, editors, reporters and photographers) whose jobs are on the chopping block; the fact that our city could become the largest in the United States without a daily paper; watered down, digitized content that doesn’t adequately reflect the breadth, depth and vibrancy of what is really going on in Cleveland. But here’s what I haven’t seen written, spoken or tweeted yet: the dreams – like mine – that fall flat before they’ve even had the chance to produce anything. How can I aspire to share great content and connect with people through my cherished newspaper if it “isn’t interested in new talent” because its parent company is too busy cutting corners and looking for ad revenue? The short, somewhat crappy, bleak answer is: I can’t.
But for those of you that know me personally, you know very well, that just isn’t good enough for a gal like me. For those of you that don’t know me, let me fill you in, I’m an “if they tell you no, then just put on your best smile – and your best outfit doesn’t hurt either – and show them what YES looks like.” In my case, it’s usual smart, tenacious, and a little kooky with a killer fashion sense.
So, I’m getting noisy from my corner of our awesome city – which happens to be in Tremont, by the way – and I’m ready to lend my voice, my thoughts, my keystrokes, to save the PD and keep my dream of one day being a columnist for it, alive. Because if there is one thing this city, my city, your city – OUR CITY – stands for, it’s standing up despite adversity, “oh so close” moments, and keeping faith alive when others would have us believe it’s just not meant for us to win. This time, I’m hell bent we win this one. Taking my talents elsewhere is not an option, and it shouldn’t be forced upon the talent at the Plain Dealer (current and future), either.
Well, my coffee cup is now empty. And yours probably is too. The chat, as enlightening as it’s been, is over. Now it’s time to take some action: pass this blog post along, join the Facebook community to save the PD, sign the petition. Remember, when I mentioned that 7,314 have signed? We are a city of 390,000-plus. I have 541 Facebook friends, as of today anyway, and if you’re reading this, you’re likely one of them. How many Facebook friends, Twitter followers, email contacts, colleagues past and present, college, high school, middle school, kindergarten acquaintances, ex boyfriends or girlfriends, babysitters, dog walkers, etc., etc. (you get the drift), do YOU have? Imagine what impact we might have together. One small choice, when amplified by many, is not so very small, and I for one believe we, Cleveland, are mighty and worthy of being treated and represented like the major, kick ass city we are. Morning coffee, paper and all.

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