News CEO Jim Moroney on His Decision to Close the Paper's Southern Dallas Facility
Several Friends of Unfair Park have wondered about the irony of the announcement -- since, after all, the paper has made a self-proclaimed "crusade" out of "Bridging Dallas' North-South Gap." Which is why, just as editorial writer Tod Robberson was posting his position on the announcement, I sent News publisher and CEO Jim Moroney a note asking for his thoughts on the closing of the southern Dallas facility. Moroney, who ultimately made the decision but was not quoted in his paper's piece, responded with a lengthy note Monday night. It follows after the jump.
I am glad we could improve this acreage and help stimulate others to locate in this area. At the time we made the decision no one knew the kind of ad revenue loses that would cut across all major metros in the past three years. We have made many tough choices over the past few years and the toughest of all this year: layoffs, salary cuts for all including 15% for highest paid folks, reduction in benefits, closed our mid cities based commercial printing facility and merged its operations into our north plant. We also proved earnings by signing more commercial print and delivery contracts like The WSJ. We signed a co-distribution deal with "frenemy" ADVO. And of course we raised the price if home delivery by 43% and single copy by a third daily and 50% in Saturday.
Ad revenues have continued to be down as our earnings release indicated. So I very reluctantly had to make this cost savings decision. This opportunity has always been available to us and as you can tell from the foregoing, it was one of the last major moves we made. We wish it wasn't necessary but the focus and priority is on preserving the scale of our newsroom now. It will save over a million dollars a year and eliminate only a very few jobs. So better this than broader downsizing.
Fundamentally we are in the business of bringing to light important issues for our city and helping to stimulate the public discourse around these issues. We don't often make financial investments that align with our position on issues just as we don't participate in partisan politics or make donations to campaigns or ballot issues. However make no mistake about it, putting our packaging
Operations at our north plant would have been a lot less costly than locating it in southern dallas. So I was glad we were able to do it when we did. This move concentrates our resources [in] our core competency: publishing local news and information.
We will continue our "bridging the north south gap" unabated.
Publisher and CEO
The Dallas Morning News