Moroney's Memo

Categories: Media
moroney_cspan.jpg
When I spoke with Dallas Morning News publisher and CEO Jim Moroney Wednesday morning about the paper's forthcoming "'Subscriber Content' initiative," the very first thing he said was that he couldn't believe someone hadn't leaked his memo sent to the staff, which he then proceeded to summarize. This morning, the full text of his note found its way to Jim Romenesko's media news site. An excerpt:
So brace yourself. We will be vilified by the digital futurists, ridiculed by colleagues in our industry and fitted with a dunce cap by the trade media. In fact, some of the same will be heard in our own hallways. Much like our 40% increase in home delivery pricing in 2009, this strategy goes against the grain. But that's okay. We've been there before.

We are still living in adverse times in our industry. Newspaper industry advertising revenues declined for the fourth straight year in 2010. Last year felt better because the rate of decline decelerated; nevertheless, no one is certain that advertising revenues will grow in this new year.

Fortunately, we can learn more in times of adversity than prosperity. Based on this, we should have all learned a lot in the last decade in this industry. I hope we have. Yet of this one lesson I am certain: If in these adverse times, we cling to the status quo, if we just try to do better and better that which isn't providing us growth, we are failing in leadership and we are failing each other. And ultimately our business will fail.

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22 comments
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Kiuhgfs2
Kiuhgfs2

The paper costs way too much and delivers very little. It has the worst web site in the history of journalism. Looks like something that was created by an 8 year old for a school project. Raise subscription prices one more time and I'm out of here.

Montemalone
Montemalone

I wonder how big his short position is in Belo?

JS
JS

You can't spell Moroney with the moron. Speaking of which, does the picture up above make him look like Rep. Pete Sessions? or is it just me?

richard schumacher
richard schumacher

Today what is the largest city in the US without a daily newspaper?

warden62
warden62

My parents, who have subscribed to DMN since the Herald went out of business, recently changed from 7 days a week to Sunday and Wednesday only -- and they have been daily newspaper readers since I can remember. Their reasoning: the recent price increase.

Mike
Mike

Hey Robert, what's up with Briefing? Didn't get it for months, now all of a sudden it's back.

Lolotehe
Lolotehe

Aw....lucky! They only throw Al Dia at my house.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

Well, I'm sure that it is a small price to pay for having the articles from the New York Times reprinted and thrown in my driveway every morning.

Howard
Howard

It's this kind of hubris that will ultimately sink the DMN.

Taylor
Taylor

What leadership? The same leadership that failed in Cowboys Plus? The same leadership beaten to stories by the Observer in regards to Bernice Johnson, DART, Trinity River Road?

It's interesting Moroney is talking about learning from history yet ignores the experts, colleagues and even their own customers who are predicting failure on a paywall. It sounds like Moroney is pulling a Jerry Jones and saying "I can make this a world class paper, I'm motivated to beat the odds" but the reality is when this fails, and it will, it'll be the lower-end staff who'll pay the price for his arrogance.

Montemalone
Montemalone

While others are studying what we've done, we'll be making our own history.

or something to that effect uttered by some wacko wingnut in Washington.

case_williams
case_williams

Wouldn't it have made more sense to have polished their homepage news offerings as irresistibly first class and then charged for it? Instead, we see irrelevant articles languishing for weeks at the bottom, and no mention of daily and breaking news at the top. Sometimes I feel the printed version is more current than dallasnews.com

Kerry_okie
Kerry_okie

It's this type of arrogance that led me to cancel my subscription. When I e-mailed to complain about the hidden price increase they tried to pass me by switching my billing from quarterly ($85.50) to monthly ($31.95), I got an answer that was the equivalent of "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out" - and I've been a subscriber since they killed the Herald.

JS
JS

@Kerry_okie, you should try calling -- when I complained and asked to switch my daily to a Sunday only, they discounted my rate back to the old one.

cp
cp

JS- Maybe you got lucky and talked with one of the customer service people who hate their job at the DMN.

When I called to cancel my subscription, they tried to shame and guilt me into keeping it. "Oh but we are saddened at the idea of losing such a loyal customer, it's just that the economy has been bad on us too, and well, you can't expect us to give it away for free!!!"

I asked, "Then why have you giving away those Briefings all over town? Seems you could cut your costs there."

I finally told the guy that, speaking of cutting costs, this is exactly why I'm canceling my subscription.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Don't forget the Spanish paper they plaster all over every apartment complex in Dallas.

John_McKee
John_McKee

Or perhaps when everyone is telling you, from your customers and colleagues that an idea is bad and explaining why, some of which have even tried said bad idea, it is a bad idea that you should't proceed with.

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