Dallas-Fort Worth media has been in a downward spiral and the coronavirus hasn't helped. Five big cutbacks in local media have taken place in the past month, from salary cuts to layoffs to outright elimination of print.
Dallas Observer pay cuts
On March 18, Voice Media Group, owner of the Dallas Observer, Phoenix New Times, and other weeklies, reduced salaries for every employee, from 25 percent for the underlings to 35 percent for executives' salaries.
In addition, the company cut its freelance budget in half, slashing content as well as payment rates. A letter sent to freelancers encouraged them to pitch shorter stories requiring less time to write.
A letter from VMG CEO Scott Tobias said that it may not be enough. "If the environment gets worse, if the downturn lasts longer than we’re assuming, if our performance declines, we’ll have to reassess and make further moves."
According to a staffer, those could include layoffs or an elimination of the print edition.
Fort Worth Weekly layoffs
In a note, the weekly's editor Anthony Mariani stated that the publication took the "unprecedented step" of laying off several full-time staffers. "Several" is reportedly "all" except for editor Anthony Mariani and a few people in sales/production.
D Magazine layoffs
On March 24, D Magazine let go of 15 people, including editors, designers, sales, and administration that included online editor Meghan Lally, D managing editor Christiana Neilson, and publisher (and founding CultureMap publisher!) Phyllis McKnight. Big loss there.
Dallas Morning News cuts salaries
On April 6, the staff of the Dallas Morning News executed salary cuts, the amount of which varied according to what they earn. Those paid less than $45,000 got a 3 percent reduction. Those making more than $45,000 received an 8 percent reduction.
Publisher Grant S. Moise, whose 2018 salary was $495,164, gets a 10 percent pay cut, whil CEO Robert Decherd, who in 2018 made $270,892, gets his salary cut by 17 percent cut. (No worries, the top salaried people also get bonuses.)
Denton Record Chronicle cuts back on print
Beginning May 4, the Denton Record-Chronicle is cutting back its print editions to twice a week: Wednesday and a weekend edition on Saturday. According to a letter from publisher Bill Patterson, they've been planning for a year to make their publication more focused on digital. They'll continue to publish a daily e-Edition seven days a week.
Patterson's family has owned and operated the Record-Chronicle for 58 of its 117 years; he bought it back from A.H. Belo Corp. in 2018.