The Latest Round Of Layoffs Eliminates More Than 40 Positions At The Dallas Morning News, With About Half Of Those Coming From The Newsroom.
What a shitty day for North Texas media.
The Dallas Morning News eliminated some 40 positions from its ranks today, with around half of of those jobs coming from the newsroom. Shortly after a 9 a.m. meeting, news of this latest round of layoffs was broken by members the DMN‘s own staff on social media:
The newsroom just got news that the Dallas Morning News is laying off 40 people amidst a “restructuring”. We’re told about half of those will be from the newsroom.
— Dom DiFurio (@DomDiFurio) January 7, 2019
No reason has yet been given for this latest round of cuts, although some among the DMN‘s own ranks have already noted that these layoffs are coming shortly after after a hedge fund named Minerva began acquiring stock in the paper’s parent company, A.H. Belo Corporation.
An article since published by the DMN notes that the layoffs include “20 writers, editors, photographers and newsroom support personnel,” and quotes president and publisher Grant Moise as saying that the cuts are meant help the paper become “positioned for success” and allow it to “deliver quality journalism for many years to come.” More notably, it notes that the paper saw an 18.9 percent decline in revenue — from $184.55 million to $149.77 million — in the first three quarters of 2018.
Regardless, news like this always comes as something of a gut punch, given that fewer than half of the newspaper jobs that existed in the U.S. just 15 years ago remain today.
The DMN has not been immune to this downward trend. Its most recent previous round of layoffs came in March 2018, as the paper let go five from its ranks, including three in the newsroom. Within a few weeks of those cuts, two additional DMN writers would also leave the paper.
Rather than itself reveal the names of the employees it let go, today’s suddenly former DMN staffers have been announcing their fates on their own social media channels. So far, we have seen notices from the following now-former members of the DMN editorial department (we’ll update this list as necessary):
- Eddie Sefko, Dallas Mavericks beat writer
- Chris Vognar, culture critic
- Dawn Burkes, entertainment writer
- Sara Burgos, guide editor
- Brendan Meyer, lifestyle writer
- Tashia Tsiaperas, crime reporter
- Kelly Dearmore, music critic
- Louis DeLuca, senior staff photographer
- Jeff Mosier, energy report
- Leslie Barker, fitness writer
- Brentney Hamilton, culture writer
- Dianne Solis, immigration reporter
- Mike Merschel, books editor
That’s a wide spread, although arts coverage at the paper in particular appears to be taking a significant hit. No surprise there: Arts coverage in newspapers has long been in decline both locally and nationally, and the DMN has been picking at its music criticism scabs for a few years now. Of course, there’s little comfort in seeing that through-line.
Also not comforting? As noted in our coverage of last year’s significantly smaller round of layoffs, the following tweet that details the salaries of Belo’s higher-ups:
Layoffs are hitting journalists the Dallas Morning News today. Meanwhile, newly released corporate filings show their company’s top executives have gotten some nice raises in recent years. https://t.co/Ntyh2AYZi5 pic.twitter.com/2ELOekLi05
— Matt Pearce 🦅 (@mattdpearce) March 28, 2018
Again, as noted last time, the combined salary raises earned by four of Belo’s top-earning executives between 2016 and 2017 alone amounted to $360,880. And, given that the average journalist makes just $37,820 per year, that money would be enough to keep 10 editorial staffers employed for a year.
Dark times, indeed.
Many condolences to our friends who lost jobs today. We drink in your honor tonight.