Dallas Morning News Lays Off 38

Illustration for article titled Dallas Morning News Lays Off 38

Two Black Journalists Out as Ad Revenues Continue Decline

The Dallas Morning News laid off a reported 38 newsroom employees on Tuesday, including two black journalists, in still another cutback attributed to declining advertising revenues.


Newsroom sources identified the two as Arnessa M. Garrett, a suburban editor, and Jason Roberson, a reporter who covered the business of health care. 

In a blog on the Dallas Observer website on Wednesday, Robert Wilonsky wrote, "Last night, News Publisher and CEO Jim Moroney responded to my Tuesday-morning email in which I asked about this latest round of layoffs. This is what he sent, in its entirety:

" 'No doubt you saw the newspaper industry's second quarter ad revenue numbers that were released last month. They represented the 20th quarter of consecutive down ad revenues for the newspaper industry. Also, I am sure that you have seen our second quarter earnings. Even with a better economy in Dallas, we have not been able to overcome the industry trends.

" 'So we have been aligning our expenses to our revenues throughout the year. We have had a lower total staff count each quarter. And this trend continues. This is the state most metros find themselves — a constant alignment of expenses to revenues — which almost invariably means reducing headcount.' "

Garrett, a journalist since 1990, according to a bio, began her career as an intern at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. She attended Tulane University and was named a Truman Scholar in 1990. She was previously an assistant metro editor at the Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, La., and an Ochberg Fellow at the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma.

The website TalkingBizNews said of Roberson, "Since joining the newspaper in 2007, Roberson has won first place journalism awards from the Dallas Bar Association and the Texas Medical Association.

"During his 12-year journalism career he’s written about labor relations and the automotive industry for the Detroit Free Press; covered retail and manufacturing in Ohio at the Dayton Daily News; and written short business features for a host of weekly publications and magazines nationwide."


Scribd.com published a list of all positions affected

"Apparently at least some of the RIFed were given a document intended to head off another age discrimination lawsuit," said the website DMNCuts, created "to offer a voice and a forum and a source of information during layoffs at the Dallas Morning News."


The site added, "Or maybe it's some kind of legally required handout to RIFed above a certain age. It is titled, and I am not shitting you, 'Exhibit A.' "

Editor Bob Mong did not respond to a request for comment. Last month, he acknowledged in a meeting with Hispanic Communicators DFW that diversity is lacking in Morning News management.


* James Roberson, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health: Texas Reporter Reflects on National Health Coverage Fellowship (2010)

* Collin Tong, International Examiner: A Threat to Democracy: Journalists of Color Fading from Our Nation’s Newsrooms (also Maynard Institiute)


Ramon Escobar Stepping Down as Telemundo News Chief

Ramon Escobar, who returned to Telemundo last year to lead its news division and declared that the NBC-owned Spanish-language network had beaten rival Univision on key stories, told staffers on Tuesday that "I will be moving on."


Escobar gave no reason, except to say that "I have made the decision that it is now time for me to embark on a new journey."

Telemundo spokesman Alfredo Richard told Journal-isms by email on Wednesday, "We don't have a successor yet, but he has agreed to help in the transition period as we look for his replacement.


"As you know, Ramon has played a key role in the growth of Telemundo Noticias. His expertise in news and media, as well as his intimate insights into the Hispanic culture in the US and abroad made him a great partner.

"We are very thankful for his passion and dedication to Telemundo and wish him the best in his future projects."


Escobar rejoined Telemundo in February 2010 after serving since 2007 as vice president for consulting at Sucherman Consulting Group, a leading media consulting firm. He had been senior executive vice president of entertainment for Telemundo, overseeing the development, production, and launch of more than 35 primetime shows and specials. Before that, Escobar served as senior vice president of news, creative services and local programming for Telemundo Television Stations. He had also worked for MSNBC; for WTVJ-TV, NBC's owned and operated station in Miami; and for WXTV-TV, Univision's New York station.

He was hired by Don Browne, who retired as Telemundo president in June, six months after Comcast assumed control of NBCUniversal. No replacement for Browne has been named.


"Together we rebuilt this newsroom," Escobar told the Telemundo staff. "We focused and committed ourselves to serving the US Hispanic community at a time when more than ever they needed a voice. We tackled the tough issues head-on, demanded answers for our community and held those who would try to harm them accountable.

"You have distinguished yourselves in Spanish and English, on Telemundo, MSNBC and NBC News! I am so proud of the work you have done. You showed great courage in being the first and longest on the ground in Arizona when SB 1070 became the spark that ignited a wave of anti-immigrant fervor across the country.


"You helped shine a light in the many dark corners to get out this important story when no one else was there. You set the standard for excellence on so many other big stories too: the earthquakes and tsunamis in Chile and Japan, the [Gabby Giffords] shooting, the trapped and then rescued Chilean miners, the fight for the 'Dream Act,' 'La Boda Real,' the Beatification of John Paul II and the seemingly never-ending drug wars in Mexico that you have so courageously covered and put in context for our community.

"On the newsroom front, we have finally been able to make the important technological leap to 'tapeless' and converted all our broadcasts to High Definition. These were not easy tasks, but through your hard work and dedication we pulled it off!"


In Nielsen ratings for last week, Univision led Spanish-language networks with an average of 3.8 million viewers (2.0 rating, 3 share), Telemundo had 1 million (0.6, 1), TeleFutura had 410,000 (0.2, 0), Azteca had 200,000 and Estrella 180,000 (both 0.1, 0), David Bauder reported Wednesday for the Associated Press.

Fox News Viewers More Negative Toward Muslims

"Americans who most trust Fox News to provide news about politics and current events have much more negative attitudes about American Muslims [PDF] and their motivations than Americans who trust other sources," according to a study released Wednesday by the Brookings Institution.


"Among the general public, only 3-in-10 (30 percent) believe that American Muslims ultimately want to establish Shari’a law or Islamic law as law of the land.

"Less than 3-in-10 Americans who most trust any other media sources besides Fox News agree with this statement, including those who most trust the broadcast news networks (28 percent), MSNBC (29 percent), public television (23 percent) and CNN (20 percent). Among Americans who most trust Fox News, however, a slim majority (52 percent) agree that Americans Muslims want to establish Shari’a law in the U.S.," said the study, by Robert P. Jones, Daniel Cox, E.J. Dionne Jr. and William A. Galston.


"A similarly large difference is evident on the question of whether American Muslims are an important part of the American religious community. . . .

". . . this pattern is repeated on the question of whether the values of Islam are at odds with American values and way of life. The general public is nearly evenly divided on this question (47 percent agree, 48 percent disagree). Again, Americans who most trust other media sources besides Fox News are slightly less likely than the general public to agree that the values of Islam are at odds with American values. Among Americans who most trust Fox News, however, more than two-thirds (68 percent) say that the values of Islam are at odds with American values and way of life."


* Stefanie Botelho, folio:: Publishers Commemorate the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

* Kristin Brzoznowski, worldscreen.com: Al Jazeera English to Cover Ground Zero Memorial


* Elizabeth Drew, Politico: A 9/11 anniversary misremembered

* Jon Friedman, marketwatch.com: Al Jazeera is America’s post 9-11 network

* Keli Goff, theLoop21.com: Three Ways to Prove You're Not a Bigot This 9/11

* Clarence B. Jones, HuffPost BlackVoices: The 10th Anniversary of 9/11: A Unique Opportunity for Presidential Leadership


* Jeremy W. Peters and Brian Stelter, New York Times: Media Strive to Cover 9/11 Without Seeming to Exploit a Tragedy

Diaz-Balart Gets Turn in GOP Candidates Debate

Jose Diaz-Balart, a host for Telemundo, appeared in Wednesday night's Republican presidential candidates debate in Simi Valley, Calif., to ask about immigration reform, and co-moderator Brian Williams raised issues of the poor and the wealth gap among ethnic groups.


Writing for Time, Michael Scherer said the immigration topic "tends to be a dud in these debates since all the candidates have the same answer: Secure the borders first. Sure enough, that’s what the candidates say, resisting Diaz-Balart's efforts to get specific about how the illegal immigrants in this country would be dealt with if the borders are first secured."

Some Latino journalists posting on social networks questioned whether Diaz-Balart wasn't raising a stereotypical subject.


Williams asked, "Where do the poor come in?" asking former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania to describe how his Catholic faith informs his desire to help the poor. Santorum talked about his role in welfare reform in the 1990s.

Williams also raised a recent study from the Pew Research Center that showed the median wealth of white households to be nearly 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households. Texas Gov. Rick Perry quoted John F. Kennedy in asserting that the "most powerful welfare reform program is a job."


The debate, cosponsored by NBC News and Politico, featured a diverse post-event panel that included Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, Melissa Harris-Perry of the Nation and the Rev. Al Sharpton, newly named MSNBC host.

* Rafael Anchia, Texas Tribune: Why Rick Perry is Bad for Hispanics

* Editorial, La Opinión: In Alabama, Immigration Law Hits Pocketbooks

* Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: Presidential candidate Herman Cain in Fantasy Land


* Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: Cold Water on ICE's Hypocrisy

* Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune: Rick Perry grabs a 'third rail'

* Albor Ruiz, New York Daily News: Immigration news sure to bring out scammers

* Albor Ruiz, New York Daily News: Alabama's unjust and unfair anti-immigration law is worse than Arizona's


Campaign Urges End of "Illegal" as Noun

"The media industry organization UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc. is lending itself to a campaign that urges media outlets to stop using 'illegal' as a way of referring to immigrants, Leslie Berestein Rojas wrote Wednesday for Multi-American, a website of KPCC, Southern California Public Radio.


"The group has partnered with ColorLines, the social advocacy magazine that last year launched its 'Drop the I-Word' campaign, and its parent company for a press briefing next week on covering immigration in the post-9/11 era and 'the rise of the i-word slur in public discourse.' The National Association of Hispanic Journalists, one of the three minority media industry groups which comprise UNITY, has long urged media outlets to refrain from the use of 'illegals' and 'illegal immigrants' in favor of 'undocumented.'

"Are these efforts having any sway? For what it’s worth, the debate has made mainstream media in Southern California twice this week, with the Los Angeles Times publishing two pieces on the debate during the past week in response to readers’ questions."


Yahoo Abruptly Fires CEO Carol Bartz

"Yahoo's board abruptly fired pugnacious chief executive Carol Bartz on Tuesday, ousting the most prominent female CEO in Silicon Valley after growing impatient with her struggle to turn around the pioneering but troubled Internet company," Brandon Bailey wrote Wednesday for the San Jose Mercury News.


"In a statement released late in the day, Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock said Chief Financial Officer Timothy Morse would serve as interim CEO. But the board gave little indication of its plans for the future, despite recurring speculation about a sale or restructuring."

Last year, when the American Society of News Editors decided to add "online-only newspapers" to its annual diversity census of print newspapers, Yahoo was one of the 21 that did not respond, ASNE said.


"We do not release our diversity statistics," spokeswoman Carrie Davis told Journal-isms then. "We are a major public company and have strict regulations about what we do/do not disclose."

Later, it was learned that Yahoo, Google and three other Silicon Valley companies felt so strongly about not disclosing the information that they persuaded federal officials two years ago to block public disclosure — and that the Labor Department agreed that to be forthcoming would be revealing "trade secrets."


* Patricia Sellers, Fortune: Carol Bartz exclusive: Yahoo "f—-ed me over" (Sept. 8)

Essence Study Finds Black Youth Pressured to Have Sex

"Black youth report considerable pressure to have sex, according to a new survey of 1,500 Black youth ages 13-21" released by Essence magazine and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy," Essence announced on Wednesday.


"Of those who have had sex, 47% of those 13-21 (including 21% of those 13-15) say they have been pressured to go further sexually than they wanted to." The results are featured in the October issue of Essence, on newsstands Sept. 12. "In the article, Our Teens’ Secret Sex Lives, ESSENCE senior writer Jeannine Amber interviewed dozens of kids to uncover the truth about teens and sex.

"Overall, the survey found that almost half of Black teens ages 13 to 21 reported that they have lied to get out of a sexual situation, and 54% of Black males said they feel pressure from their friends to have sex. . . ."


TV One Series Lets Survivors Tell of Real-Life Ordeals

TV One is premiering a series that "presents the incredible, odds-defying real stories of those who have faced life-threatening and life-changing ordeals as told by the people who survived them," the network announced on Tuesday.


"Will to Live" debuts Sunday, Sept. 18, at 8 p.m. ET.

"Relying on a mix of in-depth interviews with survivors and dramatic recreations, 'Will To Live' offers firsthand accounts of stories ripped from the headlines. Forensic explorations of evidence and/or details of medical treatments and legal proceedings shed light on fascinating aspects underlying each case. Seven half-hour episodes and three hour-long episodes will air Sunday nights this fall at 8 PM ET, repeating at 11 PM."


Toni Judkins, executive vice president of original programming, said in the announcement, “These compelling, real-life dramas are filled with unpredictable twists and startling revelations that might feel like fiction if they weren’t based entirely on fact.”

The series was in the pipeline before CEO Johnathan Rodgers retired July 31 and was succeeded by Wonya Lucas.


One of the first night's efforts, "Living Witness," is described thus:

"In December 2008 Gladys Wade was knocked unconscious by Anthony Sowell, awoke in his house, fought off his attempts to stab and strangle her, then escaped. Prosecutors, however, found Gladys to be an unreliable witness because of her prior arrest record, and determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute Sowell, despite the fact he had previously done 15 years on a rape charge.


"On September 22, 2009, Cleveland police, prompted by another woman’s report of assault and rape, arrived at Anthony Sowell’s home with an arrest warrant, and discovered 11 women’s bodies, six of whom might still be alive today had police heeded the warning of Gladys Wade. Gladys is still haunted by her near scrape with death wondering why she alone survived. 'I keep thinking, why me? . . . Maybe it’s so I could speak for the victims.' Sowell pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to 85 charges of murder, rape and kidnapping. He was convicted and sentenced to death in August 2011, and the execution is scheduled to take place in fall 2012."

El Paso Editor Christopher Lopez Leaving Newspapers

El Paso Times Editor Christopher V. Lopez has announced that he will end his newspaper career at the end of September, the newspaper reported.


"I want you guys to know this is a very personal decision for me to hang up my newspaper career," Lopez told newsroom staff on Aug. 9, his voice breaking. 'I am intent on building a second career.'

"Lopez, 50, did not say what career he intends to pursue. He said the decision came after 'a lot of thought and input from my family.'


". . . In 2000, Lopez joined the Contra Costa Times in California as regional editor and was promoted to managing editor and eventually its editor and vice president of news. He left the Contra Costa Times at the end of 2006 after the newspaper was sold, and joined The Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs.

". . . In 2009, which was Lopez's first full year in El Paso, the Times was named Newspaper of the Year by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors."


Limbaugh's Interest in Obama's Rear End Draws Attention

First, MSNBC contributor Richard Wolffe wondered aloud whether the opposition to President Obama's request to address a Joint Session of Congress Wednesday night — rejected by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio — had racial overtones.


"The interesting question is: What is it about this president that has stripped away the veneer of respect that normally accompanies the Office of the President? Why do Republicans think this president is unpresidential and should dare to request this kind of thing? It strikes me that it could be the economic times, it could be that he won so big in 2008 or it could be, let's face it, the color of his skin. This is an extraordinary reaction to a normal sequence of events," Wolffe said on MSNBC's "The Last Word," Real Clear Politics reported last week. Wolffe has written two books on Obama.

Now, Betsy Rothstein of FishbowlDC reported Tuesday, Wolffe "is oddly grateful for right wing radio host Rush Limbaugh's colonoscopy slur that has Wolffe’s head lodged in an orifice of President Obama."


". . . The comment came on the heels of Wolffe saying that opposition to Obama giving a jobs speech before Congress on Sept. 7 was racially tinged. Limbaugh ripped Wolffe a new one, saying on his radio program this week that if Obama ever has the above procedure 'they’re going to find Richard Wolffe’s head there.' . . .

"When asked for comment on Limbaugh’s off-color remarks late Friday, Wolffe told FishbowlDC, 'I’m deeply indebted to Mr. Limbaugh for proving my point about the connection between racism, disrespect for the President, and in his bizarre brain, homophobia. He first insisted that the Speaker reject the President’s speech in order to ‘put this guy in his place.’ Then he took an unusual interest in the President’s rear end.' "


Fox Sports Cancels Show That Mocked Asian Students

"Fox Sports said Wednesday it canceled a show that aired a segment that mocked Asian students who were filmed on the Southern California campus," the Associated Press reported.


"Fox Sports Network spokesman Lou D'Ermilio said in a statement that last week's segment was 'clearly offensive and inconsistent with the standards FOX Sports believes in, and we sincerely regret that it appeared.' He said the show that aired the video, 'The College Experiment,' would be cancelled effective immediately.

"The Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, Colo. reported about the video and the network issued an apology. The video shows a comedian approaching Asian students at USC and asking them to welcome the universities of Colorado and Utah to the Pac-12 Conference. The comedian tells the students to give the new Pac-12 members an 'all-American welcome' and then mocks students' accents."


Short Takes

* "Debra Juarez, who headed the news operation at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 for 12 years, is returning to Chicago to become news director of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5," Robert Feder reported Wednesday for Time Out Chicago. "Juarez is expected to join the station early next month from New England Cable News, a 24-hour news channel in Boston, where she’s been news director since June 2010. The move can be seen as a transfer for Juarez, since both NBC and New England Cable News are owned by Comcast Corp."


* "Journalism students at the University of Kansas have a new course available to help them prepare for trauma they might witness on the job," John Milburn reported Saturday for the Associated Press. "The course will focus on how reporters are affected by covering traumatic events, from combat overseas to a domestic terrorist attack." Teresa Trumbly Lamsam, a veteran journalist and visiting professor from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, "said Kansas decided to expose new journalism students to the course to see how it is received by students and faculty. Eighty-five students meet Tuesdays and Thursdays, with more students asking to enroll."

* "To fill the gap created by the summer departure of Tina Dupuy for a managing editor position with political blog CrooksandLiars.com, FishbowlLA would like to officially welcome Marcus Vanderberg as its newest co-editor," Richard Horgan wrote Wednesday for FishbowlLA. "Vanderberg currently contributes to video-centric African-American community news site TheGrio.com and freelances for BET.com. The LA native was also a member for the past year of Mediabistro’s [SportsNewser] blog, which was recently shuttered."


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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.