Dallas News Publisher, CEO Jim Moroney Addresses Tuesday's Newsroom Layoffs

Categories: Media


Among the 38 let go from the Dallas Morning News yesterday was Lee Hancock, who said her goodbyes on the DMNCuts website: "I am grateful for the fun it's mostly been. I hope for better, happier days for all who remain." It wasn't so long ago that the newspaper ran the ad you see above, celebrating some of Hancock's award-winning output during her 24 years at the daily.

Last night, News Publisher and CEO Jim Moroney responded to my Tuesday-morning email in which I asked about this latest round of layoffs. This is what he sent, in its entirety:
No doubt you saw the newspaper industry's second quarter ad revenue numbers that were released last month. They represented the 20th quarter of consecutive down ad revenues for the newspaper industry. Also, I am sure that you have seen our second quarter earnings. Even with a better economy in Dallas, we have not been able to overcome the industry trends.

So we have been aligning our expenses to our revenues throughout the year. We have had a lower total staff count each quarter. And this trend continues. This is the state most metros find themselves -- a constant alignment of expenses to revenues -- which almost invariably means reducing headcount.
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29 comments
Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

After the New York Times went to a pay wall, I made an economic decision to cancel all but the Sunday DMN.  I did this because most of the DMN's national, economic, travel and leisure articles are NYT or wire service reprints, so I decided to pay my money to the company that was generating the product, not the company that was reprinting it.  It is a shame that people like Lee Hancock are leaving, because that guts the DMN in an area where it does provide original reporting.

Lisa
Lisa

I love to see a headline behind their paywall that I can then find for free somewhere else. Do they really expect me to pay for something I can find with a couple of mouse clicks? I really hate to see people losing jobs but DMN has shown for some time that management has no new ideas.

When our business opened in 2004 we advertised heavily with them and it paid off -- lots of new customers and then referrals from them. Before that I found every job I'd had in Dallas in the Sunday classifieds. Flash to 2 years ago and we advertised again for about a month with 2 responses.

Paul
Paul

Say what you will about the DMN and their Sr. management ... I have always felt that it has been a class act with superior journalism.  I read it every day.

It is tough to be in an industry that is shrinking.  I have been in O&G my entire career.  When I started in 1978, TX O&G employment was 1.2 million and by 1990 it was less than 600k.

LaceyB
LaceyB

Smells like DISD Redux: Newspaper Edition.

I stopped reading DMN years ago, with the exception of my beloved NY Times Crossword. But, this still sucks for those displaced.

hildifran
hildifran

I wonder if they still have a human curator for the Belo art collection, or if they've staff that out to an electronic manager, too.

JS
JS

Or the DMN could actually think about investing in reporters, doing their own stories instead of reprinting from other sources, and trying to get people interested in actually reading their content.  THat might be too difficult a concept for mgmt to wrap their heads around, though.

Texbardog
Texbardog

Moroney once urged everyone at the DMN to carry multiple buckets --- turns out he's more comfortable carrying a crock.

Lee Hancock
Lee Hancock

Wow..... Who knew that ad was still floating @ out there? Those were the days -- ridiculous advertising budgets & all. I was among a handful of folk who jumped yesterday, actually. Raised my hand to walk the plank, figuring I'd be leaving the good ship in December anyway. In the end, it seems that the least we can do is be kind. Many committed journalists remain, cranking out fine work under trying circumstances. I'll be reading & rooting for 'em -- and y'all in the Loyal Opposition, too. Thx. Lee Hancock

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

The political system is completely fucked, with hyper-partisan boneheads in Washington who listen only to their most extreme constituents-- when they listen at all-- and our once magnificent middle class-friendly economy reducing itself to rubble by rewarding the wealthy more and more with lower taxes and higher salaries and bonuses while cutting pay and jobs for everyone else. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm not sure America is the greatest country in the world any more. We are WAY off axis and with the bizarre popularity of groups like the Tea Party, I don't see things getting better any time soon. 

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

Just received a letter from the DMN in today's mail.  The DMN is eliminating Monday through Friday subscriptions for both home and business addresses.  These subscriptions are being replaced with Sunday through Friday delivery.  In other words, they are throwing in Sunday for free, not that these papers will ever be read, in order to inflate Sunday circulation numbers.

Tom L (No, Not That L)
Tom L (No, Not That L)

For years now the DMN has been reducing its staff due to shrinking ad revenue. As sad as this is, it makes sense; you have to pay the bills with what you've got. But apparently, if I read the comments above correctly, they have not been cutting management. Indeed, they keep getting larger and larger bonuses. Which basically means that as time goes on the Belo organization is getting more and more top-heavy.

That's not something they (or anyone) can do forever. I wonder how long they can keep it up?

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

I met Moroney at a suburban community meeting a few years ago. He has all of the personal warmth of James Woods in the TV show Shark.

AintNoSunshine
AintNoSunshine

Is this Moroney related to the crooked Moroney on Batman (The Dark Night)??? 

Recovering reporter
Recovering reporter

Interesting that you link to Lee's commercial ... in 2008 the DMN shot commercials around the work of 4 reporters, effectively making them the public faces of the paper ... less than three years later, 3 of those 4 reporters are gone -- two were RIF'd and another left the business. 

DaGuerre
DaGuerre

Exactly. I remember placing a classified ad for an expensive piece of photo equipment in the Sunday Miami Herald 30 years ago. I turned on the answering machine as I walked out the door to go to work. When i got home there were 30 responses. I sold the piece to the first person who came to the house.

Ten years ago - 10! - I did the same thing with a lens. Got two responses after 3 days. I pulled the ad and put the item up for sale on eBay.

Newspapers still perform an indispensable service but the business model is obsolete. And execs are clueless about how to fix it.

Local news
Local news

The stories behind their paywall are unique, local stories -- not national stories that you can get anywhere else. You're paying for the newsgathering (reporting) and in many cases for the investigating that keeps politicians and other people in the community accountable. That costs money to do and that's why they charge for it.

Howard
Howard

They are cashing out, and there are no young people assigned in charge of anything who could have a more sensible vision to bring the DMN to the 21st century, in order to appeal to the younger Dallasite.

They really do not care, because their own time/era is about up, and they know it. It is as simple as that.

A lot of divisive things you see happening in this country now are not only class/money based but driven by the huge generation gap between the boomers and everybody else younger than them.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

And people blame unions for the mess at a lot of companies around the US bc they say the workforce in the union is too senior, well, what is Belo's excuse?  All thats left are the fat cats at the top, pretty soon they wont have any low hanging fruit to blame

RTGolden
RTGolden

Well, sure.  Gotta reward them executives for making such tough, critical money-saving decisions such as these.

Jim
Jim

When do they start the "investigating that keeps politicians and other people in the community accountable". Let me know I will re-start my subscription.

Lisa
Lisa

 I have seen paywall headlines on DMN, then found the same story on WFAA or KDFW websites more than once.

Howard
Howard

They know the jig is coming to an end soon. Plus, most of them are senior citizens and so don't really have a clue or care about the new digital media, inter-tubes, facebooks or smartyphones -- there is no younger generation in any significant level of power at the DMN who could have the vision and drive to try to turn things around. They are cashing out, saving their own hides for retirement. ("I got mine -- eff you!")

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

The way Executive pay including benefits are calculated isn't a matter for workers to discuss  and really has nothing to with the Profits & Loses that effect the common/branch workers pay packet , future employment  or the branch itself staying open.

Its Stock value !

This is the SH*T they feed us where I work .

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