We direct you to the American Journalism Review's profile of the Dallas Morning News' 2004 layoffs, also known as "reductions in force." Some staff members were not around then. Others have tried to block that time from your memory. All should re-read.
The profile, headlined "The Dallas Mourning News," recounts the layoff process, the reasons for it and the morale issues that arose. Several of our dearly departed colleagues spoke on the record about their experiences.
We understand this may depress some. That is not the intent. It is to inform during this time of uncertainty and prepare the staff for what could be happening on Oct. 17. The RIF timeline in the AJR article:
1) Managers attended classes, dubbed "firing school," directing them on what to say to a laid-off employee.
2) Cardboard boxes for packing up belongings began to appear.
3) Employees were instructed to be at their desks at a specific time on D-Day.
4) Some employees then were phoned and told to come to a room. Their supervisor and a human resources were inside. The supervisior laid them off by reading from a script provided by a consulting firm.
5) Employees were immediately locked out of their e-mails and the internal computer system. They packed their desks and left that day.
The AJR profile also gives valuable background and comments from top Morning News leadership. We do not have space to recount all the highlights. We choose one from CEO Robert Decherd.
"This is not a happy time at the Dallas Morning News. We know that. We acknowledge that. What we're saying is, let's take a step back together and understand what it is we have created as an organization ... and put back together the commitment, the loyalty, the belief that will carry us forward."