Plain Dealing: Cleveland Journalists Tell Their Stories


Plain Dealing: Cleveland Journalists Tell Their Stories


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“Plain Dealing” is a book of essays by 25 accomplished Cleveland-area journalists. It’ a book of stories, many never told before. It’s a first-person account of journalism in Cleveland, life in the newsroom, the issues and events these journalists covered, and the characters they worked with and met.

The stories begin in the 1950s and go up to 2013, covering the post-World War II era through the days when Cleveland was a three daily newspaper city, then two, then one. The book ends with the mass layoffs and resulting decline that ushered in "digital-first" age.


ISBN 13: 978-1-936323-65-4 ISBN 10: 1-936323-65-6

Publication Date



MSL Academic Endeavors




Cleveland journalism, Cleveland history, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Cleveland Press, The Akron Beacon Journal, news reporting, Dick Feagler, George E. Condon, Louis Seltzer, newspaper Guild


Communication Technology and New Media | History | Journalism Studies


The e-book was written as part of the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Cleveland’s first newspaper, July 31st, 2018. It was formally launched on the same day as a noon lecture at the City Club and a 2:30 p.m. reception for a new exhibition at the Cleveland Public Library, all coordinated by the Cleveland’s First Newspaper Bicentennial Committee.

Watch an interview with the authors on WKYC Channel 3. July 25, 2018

About the editors

Dave Davis teaches at Youngstown State University as the Journalism Fellow. He worked for 24 years at The Plain Dealer, mostly as a reporter, before leaving the newspaper in July, 2013, with about 50 colleagues.

Before that, he reported for the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News and The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette, where he began his journalism career under the crusading publisher W.E. “Ned” Chilton III, who was known for his practice of “sustained outrage.”

At The PD, Dave wrote extensively about the nation’s widening racial health divide, aviation safety, inequities in the nation’s transplant system, among others. He has been honored with an Investigative Reporters & Editors Inc. Medal, a Polk Award, and the Heywood Broun Award, among others. He was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Dave received a bachelor’s degree in English from The Colorado College and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. He is an author and co-editor of this book. He is married to co-editor Joan Mazzolini.

Joan Mazzolini worked for nearly 19 years at The Plain Dealer, where she won numerous national awards. While at the paper she covered different beats including the business of medicine and hospitals, was on the investigative team, and covered the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, when the voting machines failed. She previously worked at the now closed Birmingham (Al) Post-Herald, where she wrote a series of stories on private country clubs that ultimately forced the PGA to change its policy and only hold tournaments at integrated clubs. (See

Joan received a bachelor’s degree in finance from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

Joan is an author and co-editor of this book.

Twitter: #Dave Davis@ByDaveDavis

Plain Dealing: Cleveland Journalists Tell Their Stories