More Layoffs at Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Print Media Rally Slow to Start

As The Buggles famously sang in 1979, video, in fact, killed the radio star. As The Fort Worth Star-Telegram continues to share content with Dallas' Only Daily and slice positions and send talented writers out into the cold in 2011, it's apparent that the Internet is choking out newspapers.

My first job out of UT-Arlington in 1986 was at the FWST and I worked there 18 years before jumping to the Dallas Observer. Still have a lot of friends over there. Always a sad day when your colleagues are put out of a job, especially when they are as talented as Jan Hubbard and Gary West.

Those two, according to industry sources, are on the chopping block as part of an imminent 22 layoffs looming in Fort Worth.

Says publisher Gary Wortel, "Although we've seen improvements in revenue, we're still facing recessionary challenges. With an economic recovery that is slower than expected, we need to take additional steps to reduce costs."

Yikes.

The Star-Telegram laid off 15 employees last July and, if you get a vibe from parent company McClatchy, this isn't the end. Citing ad revenue that fell 10 percent from January 2010, McClatchy-owned papers in Sacramento, Kansas City and Charlotte also made cuts -- a combined 70 throughout the chain -- last week.

It's going to get worse before it gets better. Or, for newspapers, will it ever get better?

With the iPad and papers like the Morning News scrambling behind pay walls and good writers like Jim Reeves and Todd Archer jumping to dot.com, the outlook is grim. It's a better sports world when you can read Hubbard's take on the NBA and West's award-winning coverage of horse racing.

But more and more I find myself as consumed with blogging and tweeting as constructing columns for the gool ol' newsprint. The future, er present, is online instant communication and social networking. I just hope newspapers find a way to stay relevant.

It's at this time I'd like to officially cringe, while being thankful that my two gigs offer content for free. Enjoy. Please. I beg you.

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14 comments
larrypage00001
larrypage00001

Print media really hit the ground today. Most people are saying that there is no future in print media anymore. Well I guess they are true. With the fast evolving e-book industry, print media days are behind it.


Source: http://www.inkjetsuperstore.com/

Cowtown
Cowtown

Too bad that it was not Floyd-Engel and Lebreton that got axed. They are the definition of lazy journalism. West and Hubbard actually put some effort in their work.

mbtank
mbtank

Years ago, I moved from the Dallas area to San Antonio, thus ending my addiction to dead-tree news. The paper in San Antonio was a mere shadow of the mighty Dallas Morning News (although I preferred the Times-Herald as a child, as they featured giant World Class Wrestling posters on some weekends.) It was around that time that I made the jump to news on the internet & have not looked back.

I agree that the future of print journalism is either in glossy magazines (although Kindle & the like may threaten even those) or free Dallas Observer-style give-a-ways.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Y'all know the crazy prospector OU BB writer that works for the Startlegram? I would of fired him 10 years ago..he sucks Zerou penis more than RW fellaciates his roommates.

cactusflinthead
cactusflinthead

The recurrent theme in all of our online commentary is that we are willing to pay for content that is "unique" or even just "good". Some of us already do that. The writers themselves or some other content that is unique to that site will drive traffic to it or create desire in us to buy their dead tree edition. I still like the feel and snap of a paper, but I am increasingly going to the internet to get news. What did we buy the newspaper for? Box scores? Instant access now, in game live updates. To get Reevo's analysis of that event or TR's I have to go elsewhere since they left the Startlegram. What those two think of Hambone's signing I am not going to find tomorrow at my local coffee shop or on my front porch, but it is 2 clicks away on my computer or phone. Firing, retiring or otherwise diminishing the quality and number of writers on a paper is heading in the wrong direction. Less AP stories, more local reporters. I am not going to wait around to find out what happened in Egypt today until tomorrow morning. I will pay for a writer that I like.

Richie's Mailman
Richie's Mailman

Such a shame. Two good writers. The S-T is almost a pamphlet now instead of a newspaper. Does this mean they are getting ready to combine Sports with the Life section?

EAH
EAH

What will I start my fires with now?

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

I'm sad for the Startlegram, they tend to put out a pretty good product. But since I'm a Collin County resident, it's relevance to me is marginal.

Now that turd of a Belo paper? I'm very close to wishing failure on it. I used to buy from the newsstand every day when it was a quarter, even fifty cents. Then they wanted $.75. Then a dollar. Massive percentage increases to the price while the paper got thinner and thinner and relied more and more on wire stories and reformatted press releases. Now they're trying to Cowboy-bait people into their paywall and I refuse to give them a dime for crap content.

I'll still buy magazines, there's still a good market for good papers (WSJ comes to mind), and I'm willing to pay here and there for great online content, but I won't for bad content. The papers started delivering bad content AND jacked up prices.

The whole damn industry is going to have to consolidate to the point where newspapers are owned by companies with arms in other more profitable media. Sad but (probably) true.

Judge_Softy
Judge_Softy

Feel bad about the Startlegram having more layoffs, but it won't be long before the massive failure of DMN's pay wall leads to an even worse bloodbath at Belo.

P1Steven
P1Steven

Stopped getting my daily about 5 years ago, and moved to Sunday only. Then realized how much I got online & how little of the paper I read. I just wonder why DMN thinks its a good idea to have me pay for their online content...

CR
CR

I guess the Star-Telegram needs to follow the time-tested Dallas Observer model for raising ad dollars: escort services and booze

Rooster
Rooster

There's always going to be a market for news and opinions. The distribution has simply changed. People didn't stop wanting Jim Reeves' opinions. They just have to go to a different place for it now.

The dynamic that has changed for print media is gone are the days where you simply throw in a bunch of AP stories, and a couple of columnists and call it a day. AP stories are available almost immediately online, and by the time they make print they are literally "yesterday's news". This means you're going to need unique content (e.g. - Randy Galloways, Richie Whitts, etc) to make people pay for your paper.

Newspapers will figure out how to make money in the new online medium. To me there is no difference in paying a fee to have the DMN delievered to my door, or delivered to a tablet. There will be backlash at first, but I think most will come aboard.

Richie Whitt
Richie Whitt

Used to think I was addicted to the daily paper, but I'm weening myself.

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