Robert Wilonsky is Leaving the Observer for Something Called The Dallas Morning News

Wilonsky_opt.jpg
Hope the Morning News likes plaid!
Yes, you read that correctly: Robert Wilonsky, the longtime editor of this blog, is going behind the paywall. Or maybe he's becoming the paywall. We can't be sure. But we know this: He's leaving the Observer for The Dallas Morning News, where he'll officially be known as the digital managing editor, charged with overseeing the paper's website.

Wilonsky, who's 43, recently celebrated his 20th anniversary with Village Voice Media, the Observer's parent company. Aside from a brief stint in Los Angeles, he spent all of those years in Dallas -- as a staff writer, as a music editor, as a film critic, as a pop-culture and sports columnist and as Unfair Park editor. Wilonsky is a famously tireless worker, and that ethic helped build this blog into one of the most read and respected alt-weekly blogs in the country. We're obviously sad to see him go, and we wish our offer of unlimited access to the office beer fridge was enough to change his mind. If only we'd invested in a fridge full of bourbon and photos of really old buildings.

Unfair Park will undoubtedly undergo some changes in the weeks and months to come, as we search for a new lieutenant and plan for the future. Blogs anchored by one person naturally take on the identity of that person; a new anchor means a new identity. But we'll keep moving, powered by the same original reporting, the same frivolity, and the same occasional shotgun blasts from Schutze. (You are still very unwelcome on his lawn.)

I understand The News will be along with a press release shortly, complete with quotes from Robert. I'm sure he'll show up in the comments here soon enough. So I'll just say this: When he told me about the offer last week, and when he resigned late Friday, he looked like shit. Hadn't slept in days, he said. Thought he'd grow old and die here. Or at least die here. He wanted to stay, but he had to go.

His last day here is Friday, March 2. Expect some link-heavy nostalgia. Until then, enjoy him while he's around, and tell your friends -- at least the industrious and amusing and willing-to-cap-the-occasional-knee journalist types -- to send their résumés and clips this way, with Unfair Park Editor in the subject line.

Now, about that bourbon.

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83 comments
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lost in eastern Collin County
lost in eastern Collin County

Thanks,Robert!  You have done an outstanding job here and will be terribly missed.  Hope you can knock some sense into the digital DMN.   They keep forgetting that the DMN is supposed to be for ALL of North Texas, not just from downtown to Southern Dallas.  Seldom is Allen and McKinney mentioned.   If you aren't on the  tollway, you don't exist to the DMN unless it is hot murder or sexual assault.

richard schumacher
richard schumacher

Will Belo let him make it worth paying for?  Don't turn into another Mayor Miller.  Dallas needs a great newspaper, not a house organ. 

W W
W W

wow.. " unlimited access to the office beer fridge"I think that would be more than acceptable.And all you have to do is:"please everybody, all the time?"

Bigfatmichelle
Bigfatmichelle

great now DMN will even be more liberal, another reason not to read

Big Mike
Big Mike

Good riddance!

Belo & Wilonsky were made for each other!

Allen
Allen

2/26/2012

Dear Wendy,

I want to tell you that my brother in law Robert Wilonsky is leaving the Dallas morning orbserver and he is going into a new position on March 2 on a Friday. So I want to tell you that did you know that well now you do.

Pecos_Drifter
Pecos_Drifter

 He also wore shoes with live goldfish in the heals.......nothing like being in a industry on it's last dying days.......

FatFreddie
FatFreddie

Robert, you will be missed here.BTW - would you see if you can get the DMN to kill all of the pop-ups, pop-unders, pop-folds from the right? If I use my blocker then I can't see the pics. Their site is also the slowest to load of any of the majors.

An example of a good page that loads quick is here. www.local6.com/index.html   Tells you virtually everything at a glance and loads quickly.

Tell Blow-hard hello

Good luck, given their history you may need it!

Daniel
Daniel

End of an era. (Awkward pause followed by clumsy farewell embrace as in every buddy movie ever.)

Daniel
Daniel

P.S. To paraphrase the late Bill Graham ... Robert Wilonsky is not the best at what he does, he's the only one who does what he does.

I mean, more or less.

catbird
catbird

You won't like it...you'll have to wear a suit and tie every day and then, to keep your job, you will have to "adjust" the things you say from time to time to harmonize with the editorial board.

After the newness of the money wears off, you'll wonder why you ever did it. 

Sorry dude.

Bucks Burnett
Bucks Burnett

C'mon = not even the President wears a tie most the time..

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Doesn't this make you "Anakin Skywalker" to Schutze's "Obi-Wan Kenobi "?

I am, of course, "Jar Jar Binks".

You'll look awesome in black while striding across the bridge of the Belo Deathstar, Lord Wilonsky.

Good look with all the soon to be your "Little Birchers" over there.

shrubstex
shrubstex

Mr. W.( I hope you are reading your reviews)I must add my voice to the chorus of your fans who discovered you on the pages of the Dallas Observer who hope that you will actually take the Dallas Morning News into the Digital Age and make its pages into something that I would like to visit.  May I suggest ''Tome on the Range'', "la reunion", ''Highland Park Adjacent'', "Vicinity of Highland Park" as some blog names?

Urbandweller203
Urbandweller203

Does this mean I have to pay to get the real scoop in Dallas? Best wishes and I hope you bring a lot of positive changes to DMN.

Viper
Viper

Good Luck Robert you're  the best in town... Stay real Bro !

Rawlins Gilliland
Rawlins Gilliland

Ah, this news shocks me more than when I learned that Mexia, Texas' Anna Nicole Smith's breasts were not staying in Mexia.... or in her case not even FROM Mexia.   I know that giving your notice had to have been harder that loving Mark Cuban but you are the antithesis of a one-trick pony....you're a race horse of rare speed-of-light.  And truth.  So as I think Naomi said to her man in the Bible.... or was that Ruth...(Hell, who knows):  "Where Thou Goeth, I shall go".  I'm happy for you because a man in his prime needs to make Herschell & Mary go, 'What in God's name are you going to do'.  It keeps those family events perky. 

Parisrec
Parisrec

what the f is a paywall?

mark zero (Jason)
mark zero (Jason)

I believe the answer was hinted at in Sunday's Dilbert:

http://www.dilbert.com/strips/...

Hopefully Robert will prove it wrong, adding things that just weren't feasible before when the site was all free.

edit: Robert, please ask on your first day why there's no online-only subscription level. That would boost your rolls right away, I bet.

ChrisYu
ChrisYu

a polite way of saying pay me

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

He's not going to be able to stand it for long.

Dougiedt
Dougiedt

Congratulations Robert!   You'll be missed on your blog.  While I've been reading your reporting for years, I never really had the opportunity to meet you in person, but I feel like I've known you for years!  Now shake some things up and keep making Dallas proud.  As on fellow Dallasite to another, thank you for staying and helping make this city something better than the transplants know it to be.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

CueCat 2. Make it happen, Robert!

MattL1
MattL1

Why?  You can't improve on perfection.

ignoreLander
ignoreLander

I gave up commenting on this blog years ago, but this would be an occasion to come back one last time. The Observer has seen its share of awful, awful, awful writers in its time (Megan Feldman, Andrea Grimes, Laura Wolens, and king crap himself, Jim Schutze), but I imagine the writing was on the wall with the crop they turned up in some dump recently. Merlan, Hargrove, Daniels, and ESPECIALLY Tone, officially the worst writer and human being I have never met, are likely what drove Robert away. Someone with integrity and pride could not stand working conditions like those.  Anyway it is sad because Wilonsky was the only thing that kept me lurking back to Unfair Park from time to time. Unfortunately, even his greatness likely won't be enough to draw me to the DMN. End of an era, indeed....

Joe Tone
Joe Tone

We've met? That seems unlikely. 

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

First off, good to see you again, iL -- been way too long. And while I appreciate the kind words, let me be clear: I am not leaving here because of the writers or Joe, all of whom I think are doing bang-up work and will continue doing so long after I'm gone. I'm going because the DMN made me an offer I could not refuse, simple as that. As I said yesterday, I thought I'd stay here forever. But the future came knocking, and I couldn't say no.

ignoreLander
ignoreLander

Point taken Bob. Best of luck to you. By the way, I might have ben bluffing about the DMN....

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

What about "The Sassy Knoll"?

ignoreLander
ignoreLander

"Electronic Bourbon"?

Yeah, let's keep brainstorming....

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

 I hope so. Missed seeing your comments. There are quite a few Friends of Unfair Park I haven't seen 'round these parts in a while; all will be welcome over at the new gig.

They want me to come up with a name for my own blog. Whadya think:

Dallas Times Harold Taft.

Probably need to keep workshopping it.

cactusflinthead
cactusflinthead

Mixed emotions about all this. Glad to see him getting the gig at the DMN but sad to see him leave the DO. I don't expect the straight-laced types over there to allow the commenters the leeway we get around here. RW went to CBS and it was a chorus of crickets and I haven't been back since. I am not sure I want to subscribe to the DMN. But, this will motivate me to consider it, even out here in the hinterlands what impacts BigD impacts me. 

Casey's 182nd comment
Casey's 182nd comment

Eight uses of the word "digital" in one 300-word press release. Jeez. Robert, please tell your new bosses that *everything* is "digital" nowadays, and those who fight it or make a big deal out of it are soon relegated to searching for the illusive major label record contract. That said, I am really happy for you and your family, and I hope the DMN higher-ups listen to you as much as we, your readers, do. 

MattL1
MattL1

Wow, I just read the news this morning, and it shook me to my core.  Well, to whatever core I have left, anyway.

Robert, if you serve the people of Dallas HALF as well at the Morning News as you have done here at the Observer, this city may still have a chance.  Good luck.

Towski
Towski

How could that press release not mention Till 2?

ts
ts

I'm going to miss your presence at Unfair Park Big Bob.  Without a doubt, this blog has been the most informative source for all things Dallas in this entire media market.  I think I'm going to have to start paying attention to the DMN again.  Good luck.

Jane Slater
Jane Slater

Good Luck! I have always been a big fan

Harvey
Harvey

I don't believe Unfair Park got this much bandwidth flying when Bible Girl and Jack Jett were doing the mud wrestling naked and live.

It will be fun to watch DMN grow up.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Robert isn't an idiot.  Maybe he should look you up, would you be his agent pro-bono?

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

I don't look at this being the Observer's fault. How can you compete with the big boys and how can Robert not go somewhere where his work can affect thousands more people than currently. I don't fault him at all nor do I fault the Observer.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Well, that would mean adding more classified ads with massage parlors and strip clubs. It can be done but I'm not sure RW wants to bring that with him.

Jack Perkins
Jack Perkins

 Mazel tov No. 10,

I'd read you off of a cereal box, I'd watch you on a 13" black and white, and I'd listen to you through a can and a string.  The DMN is immediately better.

Joe's a smart guy.  He'll figure something out.

When you need it, come by.  I'll buy you a burger and a #10 soda.

pak152
pak152

 doubt that the paywall will disappear. more and more newspapers are instituting the same. unfortunately the daypasses and cost for a single article are too high IMO

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