Dallas Morning News Lays Off 43 Staff Members

Paola Hernandez Olvera, Reporter

The Dallas Morning News, a daily newspaper in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that was established in 1885 and has an average of 271,900 daily subscribers, laid off 43 staff members on Jan 7.

Of the 43 that were affected by the layoff, 24 were from the newsroom, the place in a newspaper or broadcasting office where stories are written and prepared for public presentation. Twenty were full-time journalists, many of them from the feature department. Three of the staff members were part-time journalists and one was a member of the administrative staff. According to the Dallas Morning News Editor Mike Wilson, the former staff were laid off due to revenue losses.

The newspaper industry has gone through major changes in the last 20 years as readers and advertisers have moved to digital media,” Wilson said. “Though we have a large digital audience, the money we make online does not completely replace the money we’ve lost in print.”

Society today is nothing like society 20 years ago. With the internet’s growing popularity, many readers of the print newspaper now turn to the internet for updates on crime, weather, traffic and many other topics. According to the Pew Research Center, a non-profit organization that collects facts about social issues, public opinions and demographic trends, 43 percent of Americans reported getting their news online in late 2016 compared to the 18 percent of Americans who got their news via print newspapers.

“Like any business, we have to make sure that we make more money than we spend,” Wilson said. “We laid people off in order to reduce expenses and because we wanted to invest in new areas such as technology and subscription marketing.”

Subscription marketing is when companies rely on consumers purchasing monthly or yearly subscriptions for a certain product instead of single-purchase products. Subscription marketing would allow the DMN to increase their revenue by focusing on the online paper. Math Science and Technology magnet program advisor and former Journalism teacher Audrey Smallwood said that over time, the newspaper industry has shifted.

“People always talk about how the news industry is dying,” Smallwood said. “I don’t necessarily think it’s dying, I think it’s allocating. Print is not what it used to be. Journalism has really changed to where it’s trying to go where people want, versus old journalism was telling you what you needed to know. Now people want very specific, tailored-to-their-request information.”

The day of the layoffs, DMN staff were not aware of the impending events. DMN leaders called meetings in various departments around the company and informed staff that some people were going to be laid off. Soon after, the individuals that were being laid off, were informed via email. The 43 journalists who were laid off are now looking for new jobs or careers, which is not easy because of the short notice. Many former DMN employees turned to social media to announce their situation.

Former DMN music critic Kelly Dearmore tweeted, “I was one of the folks let go from the Dallas Morning News today. It’s been a dream come true to write for the paper but I’m also really sad so many of my friends there have also lost their job. I’m on the market and very willing! Thanks! [email protected]

Wilson and many other journalists have called upon the community to remind people that the DMN still remains, but support is crucial to keep the newspaper running for more years to come.

“The Dallas Morning News is still the largest news organization in North Texas and remains committed to serving the community,” Wilson said. “Also, we need the community’s support if we are going to cover news here for another 134 years.”