Dallas Morning News buyout eliminates many of paper's most familiar names
Nearly 40 employees of the Dallas Morning News will leave in a buyout, and those departures include some of the newspaper's longest-running and best-known names.
The list includes writers such as Brooks Egerton, Randy Lee Loftis and Todd Gillman, as well as columnist Steve Blow. There are also a number of longtime editors who've been the behind-the-scenes bedrock, such as business editor Dennis Fulton, features/food editor Cathy Barber and metro editor Steve Harris.
The newspaper offered a buyout to 167 employees "whose age and years of service [at the DMN] total at least 60 years," from across a range of publications that included DMN, Al Dia, NeighborsGo, FD, Briefing and GuideLive.com.
Editor Mike Wilson described the buyouts as part of an effort to make the newsroom more digitally minded, saying that the staffers who left would be replaced with "outstanding digital journalists."
The list of candidates includes photographer Michael Ainsworth, Oak Cliff reporter Roy Appleton, features/food editor Cathy Barber, columnist Steve Blow, copy editor Amy Burt, classical music critic Scott Cantrell, writer Brooks Egerton, business editor Dennis Fulton, Washington bureau chief Todd Gillman, metro editor Steve Harris, education reporter Tawnell Hobbs, former Austin bureau chief Christy Hoppe, municipal government reporter Wendy Hundley, writer Gary Jacobson, health reporter Sherry Jacobson, reporter Diane Jennings, Irma Jones, editorial writer Rodger Jones;
writer/columnist Jim Landers, environmental writer Randy Lee Loftis, airlines reporter Terry Maxon, copy editor Mike Kondracki, editor Lowery Metts, copy editor Carolyn Poh, editor Lois Reed, assistant sports editor Dave Renbarger, Al Dia writer Julian Resendiz, copy editor Ed Sargent, hunting columnist Ray Sasser, graphics editor Tom Setzer, designer Layne Smith, reference librarian Darlene Spangenberger, Austin bureau deputy chief Terry Stutz, office manager Sharon Terrell, financial writer Pamela Yip, photographer John Zak, plus recent retirees who were grandfathered in including columnist Bob Miller and gardening editor Mariana Green.
According to a staffer, those on the list were given 45 days to change their minds; some may decide to stay.
The newspaper's personality stands to change significantly with their departure.
In a recent digital-lingo-filled interview with Columbia Journalism Review, Wilson said that the staff would need to be better at building audience online, stating, "We are all salespeople now." He described categories such as education and the Cowboys as "verticals," and used the verb "curate."
In a request for a statement on the buyouts, Wilson said he was busy and would respond later.
According to the Dallas Business Journal, those who take the buyout will leave the company around September 11 on a staggered basis.