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CJR story on Dallas Morning News

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by lone star scribe, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. Two former Dallas Morning News staffers, now journalism profs at Southern Methodist and North Texas, authored this report in the Columbia Journalism Review on the two waves of cutbacks at the DMN and the broader ramifications for the industry.

    Long story short: Most of the people who left the DMN are glad they did, whether they stayed in newspapers or went into another field, because they had lost confidence in management. "Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic" was the operative phrase.

    Also informative were the experts who said why cutbacks like this don't work. It's long, but worth the read. Here's the link:

  2. Editude

    Editude Active Member

    Re: CJR's take on DMN cutbacks

    To think it all started with the Cue Cat ...
  3. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    Re: CJR's take on DMN cutbacks

    I know a lot of the people quoted in that article. The DMN has lost some quality people, and it sounds like Mong and Moroney just really don't have the solutions to fix the problems. Not sure if it can be fixed.

    I recall when the CueCat came out, I was watching Fox 4 Dallas' Morning show, they had a couple of them on there and were having a good laugh with it. It quickly became a laughing stock.
  4. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Re: CJR's take on DMN cutbacks

    A very informative read. The CueCat was laughable, but there was also Texas Cable News, the circulation scandal, and a very ill-timed push into the northern suburbs to cover ninth-grade volleyball.

    It remains to be seen whether Quick (the free tabloid they ginned up to head off a competitor), Al Dia or Neighbors have any staying power.

    But it was definitely the circulation scandal that brought the House of Belo to its knees.
  5. SockPuppet

    SockPuppet Active Member

    Re: CJR's take on DMN cutbacks

    Here's another couple of Belo boners:

    1. Belo once owned The Food Channel, but sold it.

    2. Belo had a chance to get in on the ground floor with Cuban's Broadcast.com but passed. Said it wouldn't work.
  6. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    Re: CJR's take on DMN cutbacks

    Definitely a very good read. I was startled at how the DMN's quality had dropped in the few years since I'd visited Dallas and how much better Fort Worth had gotten. DMN's still a great paper, but it's no longer among the best in the country.
  7. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    Re: CJR's take on DMN cutbacks

    Fort Worth had a plan that I don't think Dallas ever saw coming. Back in the early 90s they went after the DMN's copy desk and began making offers to editors that the DMN refused to match. I was told that one guy on desk approached Dave Smith and told him that FW had made him an offer. Smith apparently scoffed at it. Kinda came off along the lines as "Why would you want to work at that piece of crap?" He took the offer that day. FW had done this with a couple others, then went after the writers. And no there wasn't a mass exodus as at the time DMN had a lot of loyal staffers. But the point being, the DMN was too full of its own ego to realize how quickly FW was rising. They coulda put the pieces together over 10 years ago and at least saw some of this coming.

    Personally, I think Texas Cable News Network was one of Belo's better ideas. They just got it screwed into a single cable system though.
  8. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    Re: CJR's take on DMN cutbacks

    The ironic thing is, because Dallas dropped in quality (but is still good on most days) and Fort Worth rose so quickly, the Metroplex is one of the best areas in the country to read about sports. Go figure.

    And yes, I remember the CueCat debacle. I was there in 2001, picked up DMN while I was in Arlington for a few days and remember thinking "what the hell is this?"
  9. Re: CJR's take on DMN cutbacks

    That is truly and amazing and enlightening article. I never thought I would see they day the DMN was turning into such a rag. It used to be the best paper in wth United States, if not the world.

    There's an old saying ... and today's publishers need to listen hard to it ... it goes like this ....

    "To make money, you got to spend money."

    You invest and you hope your investment has a return. It's a gamble, a risk somewhat but it's what brings back the return if you have something people want or will buy. Too bad the publishers of today and thrown this way of thinking into the garbage.
  10. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    Re: CJR's take on DMN cutbacks

    let's tap the brakes a little here. the dmn was never the "best paper in the United States, if not the world" but it certainly isn't a rag today.
  11. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Re: CJR's take on DMN cutbacks

    Belo is part of a trend I don't think gets enough attention. The people who run newspaper companies are, or were before they began cutting their own throats, pretty good at their core business of putting out the paper(s). But as big businessmen, they're horrible flops. Selling the Food Network! My case in point was Sulzberger buying the Boston Globe, thereby putting the Times in competition with itself. The bigger Tribune gets, the worse it does, Its TV station group is not considered a whiz in that industry, either.
    As we all know, daily newspaper work at any level requires a short-term view of existence. Publishers are no exception. Successful big business requires looking ahead.
  12. standman

    standman Member

    Re: CJR's take on DMN cutbacks

    I never understood the push to the northern suburbs. The folks in Plano were taking the paper already, the opportunity for new readers appeared to be in NE Tarrant. Maybe they got scared after getting their heads handed to them with the Arlington Morning News idea.
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