Friday, October 10, 2008


1.) Corporate will unveil third-quarter results on Friday, Oct. 31. The story with that link includes the stock price for A.H. Belo. Several alert readers pointed out that it flirted with an all-time low before closing at $3.95 Thursday.

2.) A couple of smaller local newspapers have jobs available. Check our job openings for more details.

3.) A story about the layoffs in Providence published today in the Journal. According to the publisher, the final cuts totaled 53. That is one shy of the high end of the range Corporate instructed the newspaper to eliminate.
UPDATED: The union posted a list of laid-off employees with names and job titles on its Web site. The union is calling it the Journal's "most significant downsizing in its history."
4.) We are interested in hearing from Dallas Morning News employees who have gone through past RIFs and may be willing to share advice to those who may endure it soon. We would like to post those thoughts here. We can withhold your name if you prefer. Please contact

UPDATED: Be sure to read the comments section. Several former employees have opted to respond there.


Anonymous said...

So, at this point, do you think they know who is being laid off?

Anonymous said...

A 1027 here.

Interesting comments on this blog. Let me address a couple of things.

1. The finding-out process. In my department our colleagues watched as one after another of us emerged from individual closed door meetings with our manager and HR rep. In retrospect I guess many of those who remained were more upset than some of us who were being dispensed with, but that probably speaks to the fact that they were younger and hadn't seen this before.

2. The shame-rejection factor.Our manager gave us the option of returning after the business day was over to collect our things, thus supposedly saving us the embarrassment of packing up in front of everyone. This astounded me. While perhaps it was offered with good intentions, I suspected it was suggested by HR to minimize fallout. People who are being RIFFED, should feel no shame whatsoever. In many cases you are people who are doing the best work of your lives (four months earlier I had gotten one of the best performance reviews I had been given in more than 20 years in the business.) What you will feel is bitterness and rightly so. But I would suggest putting as much of that behind you as you possibly can and as quickly as you can.

Do I still have some bitterness four years down the road? You bet. I felt like my entire journalism career had been yanked out from under me. Because of the elimination of so many like myself who were over 50, despite all the jobs that seem to be open all across the country, I soon found out that what everyone was looking for was youth with 2-3 years of experience and substantially lower earnings expectations, which you will find will make it very difficult to remain in the field without taking a 50 percent reduction in salary.
Is there life after the DMN? Yes. Will you face huge challenges both professionally, financially and personally? Count on it. But life goes on, we didn't lose our house (although I can't even bear to look at our credit score anymore) and someday I might even get to retire, but that's more about Washington and the general economy than about being RIFFED.

My best wishes to those who are going to have their careers and lives forever altered.

Anonymous said...

For those who don't know, the folks who were laid off in 2004 refer to themselves as 10/27s, a reference to the date of the layoff. There were 65 of them, some of whom had worked at the paper for more than 30 years. Eighteen of them have a pending federal age discrimination lawsuit against Belo over the conduct of their dismissals. The fallout from that lawsuit can be seen in how management is struggling in planning the current round of layoffs. If you find yourself wondering why management is not sharing information more freely, you have only to remember the lawsuit. The lawyers - and their HR pals - are very much running the show. To them, no information is good.

Anonymous said...

I'm also a veteran of the 2004 layoff.

The list that year was filled with people who had stood up to take on expanded roles or new duties. Some were rewarded financially, but that reward also put them high on the list when layoffs were being discussed.

Remember the management goal is to cut to reach a target in payroll. It's easier to lay off one person than two ... or three. So the previous comment is spot-on: You'll feel awful about being cut out of the paper, but you can't feel as if it's your fault.

Days after I was let go, I spoke with many friends in several departments across and outside the newsroom. The unifying theme from those discussions was how some of the most obvious candidates for the layoff were surprisingly still on the job.

This isn't to disparage survivors of 2004 or 2006. It's simply to point out that no one's dismissal will stop the presses. So no matter how successful you've been there, forge a plan and be ready to put it in action in case the coming bad news hits you. It'll help with the hurt.

Anonymous said...

In answer to the first question, I'm almost certain they know at this point who is being laid off and have known for weeks, at least. The whole deal is now in the hands of the lawyers and HR for final scrubbing.

Anonymous said...

More advice from another 10/27er:

1. On layoff day, pack your stuff up right away, take the time to say the goodbyes that matter, then leave and don’t come back. It’s easier that way.

2. Go home and apply for unemployment immediately. It feels constructive in the midst of all the destruction. (And when you file online, don’t forget to go to the “Work in Texas” site and register there separately, right away, or you will be denied benefits for the first few weeks. This is a distinct registration process from the one with the Texas Workforce Commission, but it is mandatory.) The benefits are less than $400 a week – in exchange for you making contact with a set number of potential employers each week – but will definitely help pay the bills. Also, keep good records of your job search.

3. Cancel your DMN subscription, lest you feel woozy every time you pick it up from now on. (Besides, you have the time to read the Times or Post or whatever else online.) And cut back your budget in every single way possible (except don’t cut your health insurance). You may be in this for the long haul, and savings now can buy you another month or two of living expenses later.

4. Contemplate what you want your life to be about. If like so many of us you were called into journalism as a public service, consider other opportunities to serve with your skills and knowledge. If you are able to move, go somewhere where more such public service (and perhaps media) opportunities exist: DC, New York, Austin – it will give you more flexibility now and in the future. If you stay in Dallas, the opportunities aren’t as abundant. If you’re considering some training, dive in ASAP – weeks and months peel away quickly while you’re job-hunting. Looking back I realize how rusty my resume looked – WE know we are quick studies for almost anything and that we can perform amazing feats of writing, editing, research and judgment – but everyone else wants hard skills (project management training, Microsoft Office expertise, Adobe software experience, HTML, etc.) Check out some of the programs at DCCCD; there are actually some pretty cool career alternatives, if you’re game.

5. Choose a destination and keep paddling till you get there. It’s a lot more empowering to decide where you want to go – and to be willing to accept whatever trade-offs it takes to get there – than it is to flail about trying to reinvent yourself this way, then that way, to meet the fickle standards of the job market. Yes, maybe you have to find some interim work for lousy pay. Yes, maybe you have to go to school at night as well. Yes, your finances are taking a huge hit. But it’s YOUR path. And remember, any re-training you do is additive – you can always go back and BE a journalist if/when circumstances allow, but now you can be qualified to do other things as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm a veteran of the 2001 layoff. When my editor called me at home that morning and said to be at the office at 11 a.m., I knew what it was.
If you think you're on the list, save anything you want to keep from your computer - while I was notified, my computer access was cut off. I wasn't allowed to finish the stories I was working on at that point either.
Pack up and go. The people left behind were crying - all I felt was enormous relief.
File for unemployment immediately. I knew people who thought there was something shameful in this. There's not. Take the money. You earned it.
I stayed afloat by freelancing for newspapers (including the DMN), magazines and web sites; teaching as an adjunct at three colleges; ushering at The Ballpark; temping at a public relations firm while people were on maternity leave (twice); and doing office work. My first year out, I had six W-2s and five 1099s.
Eventually, I got another newspaper job, which I quit after three years.
I am teaching English full-time at a community college now and loving it. Newspaper nostalgia comes less and less often. I still freelance occasionally.
There is life after the DMN. Enjoy!