Dallas Morning News Announces 43 Layoffs, 20 in Newsroom

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

From staff reports

Word came early this morning that the Dallas Morning News laid off 43 employees, including 20 writers, editors, and other newsroom personnel, marking yet another round of staff reductions as print revenue declines.

The 43 layoffs account for about 4 percent of the A.H. Belo Corp. employees, the newspaper said. It did not say what percentage of Dallas Morning News employees that equated to, nor did it disclose how much of the newsroom that accounted for.

“Arts and entertainment sustained the heaviest cuts, among them Chris Vognar, who’d been a critic at the paper for 23 years; Dawn Burkes, a longtime entertainment writer and editor; Sara Frederick Burgos, editor for Guide; and Kelly Dearmore, who was hired as a part-time music critic in 2016,” wrote Teresa Gubbins in her dispatch at CultureMap Dallas. “News staffers include Jeff Mosier, an environment & energy writer; Tasha Tsiaperas, a sharp metro reporter; and Dianne Solis, who wrote about immigration. Longtime photographer Louis deLuca was also let go.”

“After considerable thought and analysis, our management team has determined that our business in the future is largely supported by subscription revenue and the need for more aggressive investment in our digital products,” president and publisher Grant Moise said in the story announcing the layoffs.

The story attributed the need to a decline in print revenue from advertising, which has been bigger than the drop in circulation revenue. The company says it is focusing on digital subscriptions. A.H. Belo is a publicly traded company, and its fourth-quarter financial reports are due soon. Revenue declined nearly 19 percent in the first three quarters of 2018, and the company’s loss jumped to $5.58 million from $2.66 million the prior year.

As word got out, some began to dissect the latest travails of Dallas’ daily paper. One pointed out a recent stock buy by the hedge fund Minerva, while Matt Pierce, a reporter with the Los Angeles Times, pointed out that corporate leadership had gotten “some nice raises in recent years.”

The news also comes on the heels of a summer revelation via a Pew Research Center study, which found that those surveyed preferred getting their news from TV (44 percent) and online sources (34 percent), with print falling into last place at 7 percent.