Thom Fladung departs Pioneer Press for Cleveland Plain Dealer

Categories: Media

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Thom Fladung: Back to Ohio.
After five years editing and steering the St. Paul Pioneer Press in the midst of massive news industry trials and tribulations, Thom Fladung is moving on.

He's been named managing editor of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, and will start his new post in mid-February.

Pioneer Press publisher Guy Gilmore said the search is now on for Fladung's replacement.

Here's part of Fladung's statement today:

I'm taking this step for a number of professional and personal reasons. My new boss, Plain Dealer editor Debra Adams Simmons, was a colleague in Detroit. She's a talented, dynamic editor, we share many of the same philosophies and approaches, and I'm very excited to have the chance to work with her again. Also, my wife's company is based just outside Cleveland, so she now will be able to return to the headquarters, after years of telecommuting. And we have many family members and friends in Ohio.

These are tough times for newsrooms, and the Pioneer Press was no exception. Coming on board in September 2005 after stints as managing editor at the Akron Beacon Journal, and then the Detroit Free Press, Fladung presided over a constantly shrinking editorial staff.

Yet at the same time, the paper's print circulation grew every year under his leadership, and Pioneer Press publisher Guy Gilmore praised him for staying the course during "a time of high drama for the industry.

And amid the chaos of newsroom economics, Fladung never lost the nose for a great story. Former PiPresser Bob Ingrassia offered a window into Fladung's hard-charging newsroom ways today, recalling the day the Vikings' "Love Boat" scandal broke:

Details were still coming in and I was trying to rewrite our Page One lead. Fladung came over, sleeves rolled up, and peered over my shoulder. Together we knocked out a lead about a "wild sex party" where workers were saying they had to "step over players and naked women engaged in sex acts on the floor."

We were both amazed at what we were writing. At one point, Fladung exclaimed, "I love this stuff!"

His new editor in Cleveland, Debra Adams Simmons, praised him for "his energy, enthusiasm and can-do spirit."

Fladung grew up in Ohio, and graduated from the University of Dayton, where his daughter is now a freshman.


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