Star-Telegram to Become an Edition of DMN?

An alert FrontBurnervian points us to this story from Time: “The 10 Major Newspapers That Will Either Fold or Go Digital Next.” No. 9 on the list is the Star-Telegram, which Time apparently thinks still has the words “Fort Worth” (but not a hyphen) in its moniker.

The Fort Worth Star Telegram is another one of the big dailies that competes with a larger paper in a neighboring market — Dallas. The parent of The Dallas Morning News, Belo, is arguably a stronger company that the Star Telegram‘s parent, McClatchy. The Morning News has a circulation of about 350,000 and the Star Telegram has just over 200,000. The Star Telegram will have to shut down or become an edition of its rival. Putting them together would save tens of millions of dollars a year.

There are a couple of things that strike me about that. First, the parent company of the DMN is AH Belo, not Belo. Second, AH Belo isn’t in a position to acquire a decent Metro columnist, much less another newspaper. Third, people in Fort Worth won’t stand for an edition of the DMN. Anyone who has spent time in Fort Worth (I’m looking at you, Eric) knows how different that place is from Dallas.

Comments

  • Brian Barnaud

    still, I would like a combined daily. it seems to work for TV to cover so much. well, not really.
    but, I cant believe, with the size of the cities that the Gram has only 150g less subscribers. Lots of people in Dallas just dont do the crossword anymore…

  • NYT also did a piece on Newspapers. BoingBoing has a good recap, and response:

    http://www.boingboing.net/2009/03/09/saving-newspapers-pa.html

  • the cynic

    There was a day when Dallas had 2 dailies and Fort Worth also had 2 dailies. Everyone was better for the competition. Being a Fort Worth native who moved to the dark side 20 years ago, I can assure you there’s no one west of DFW Airport that wants a combined daily. As for TV coverage, they already feel they get mostly Dallas news and are none too happy about it. But unless you’ve actually lived in Cowtown…in the shadow of Big D, you prob will never get it.

  • ben

    I agree with the cynic… But Tim’s headline sure has a Jane McGarry feel to it huh?

  • JS

    The best thing for AH Belo’s survival is to go private and escape the public scrutiny of its finances. With the focus of the market being on the quarter-to-quarter results, the share price is always going to blow. But it looks like the papers still generate plenty of cash, and you have the real estate as well. If I had the cash, I’d buy the company, do a sale-leaseback on the necessary real estate and just sell the rest, cut costs as much as possible by eliminating the unnecessary layers of management, and then sell the company or have it go public again when the market improves so I can cash out. But that’s just me, and I don’t have the money.

  • Brian Barnaud

    i understand, but as the NBC affiliate and the CBS affiliate are based in ft worth and all stations seem to cover a chunk of North Texas. I disagree. I am still amazed how news in this big chunk cover places i didnt know as a kid. I used to work for DMN, was near at the close of the Herald. Almost went to work for the Telegram and wish we could do what we think we are. a massive metro area that needs news. divergent news. But somebody has to buy the product.

  • Brian Barnaud

    the cynic does have a point, however and I dont. but thats news.

  • kma

    But the Star-Telegram isn’t doing so bad – McClatchy is, right? They gotta sell it one of these days. They (McClatchy) don’t want to yet because it’s actually making money for them, despite their apparent efforts to destroy it. But bankruptcy changes everything, I imagine.

    As a sidenote, TV news: newspapers :: apples: oranges.

    And as someone who lives on the Fort Worth side of things, Dallas news would be Greek to me. For example, issues with the school districts or politics. It’s not all one big city, just because the two are near each other.

  • Brian Barnaud

    kma,
    I understand, but i pay a lot of attention to ft worth politics too. living in Dallas, We pay attention to stories in Weatherford , Waxahachie, and even Ardmore these days, just a few.
    i hear from the Ft Worth Mayor as much as Dallas and I am glad I do. I do biz with ft worth, I like ft worth and I dont mind being a part of that metro. And I want to hear the info of all of this area.
    Im sorry some in Ft Worth may feel left out. I may miss that the residents of Tarrant County may be shafted on News, but I have learned alot about my good neighbor’s from the news, pub and broad.
    it is that we are jut sharing so little, for so many, in such a large area.

  • Brian Barnaud

    man that needed so serious proofreading! 😉

  • -30-

    I worked at the ST for nearly 10 years. Many of my friends that worked there have moved on, mostly to different careers. A good friend of mine is in middle management there and we still get together often. He said the ST is still making $40 million/year but McClatchy is getting murdered through the rest of the chain.

    That’s what’s so sad. The rank-and-file at the ST are worried about layoffs, buyouts and reduced salaries so they can help prop up McClatchy’s dead weight.

    All that said, the ST used to make tons more money than what it does now. It’s a dying industry.

  • Ink-Stained Wreck

    I’ve lived in both places, and people in Dallas cannot begin to understand how different Fort Worth is from Dallas. Thing is, I think folks in Fort Worth know, and they’re glad they are where they are. You wanna lose more money? Put a paper in the Fort Worth racks that the citizenry knows isn’t a homegrown product. They’re still selling the Star-Telegram right now. But they wouldn’t for long if they tried that.

  • Peterk

    ol’Amon G is a spinnin’ in his grave with such talk being bandied about

  • RayRay

    “Anyone who has spent time in Fort Worth … knows how different that place is from Dallas.”

    Yeah, and South Dallas is pretty different from West Plano, but both are covered by the DMN.

    If the Star-Telegram became an edition of the DMN, wouldn’t some of the knowledgeable people who put together the ST join the staff of the new combined paper and make sure that the coverage doesn’t slacken?

    Of course they would. So what you’re basically saying is that people in Fort Worth only care about the name of the product from which they get their news and not the actual content. Say it ain’t so.

  • Ink-Stained Wreck

    That’s not what I’m saying, Ray. I’m saying there are two different mindsets. Fort Worth might be just 30 miles from Dallas, but it’s a whole other way of life.

    And, as it was pointed out above, the DMN doesn’t have the money to buy a columnist right now. You think they would bring on people from over there? Not a chance. Here’s what they’ll do. They’ll create a “bureau” and Fort Worth will become like all the suburbs of Dallas whose papers Belo bought. And then shut, opting to fold them into their own section. Then they’re own page. And now, hey there’s a MESQUITE story in the paper.

    Kiss it all goodbye, RayRay. I take no pleasure in telling you this, but it’s the truth.

  • Tom B

    Something needs to be done. Some format change should be endorsed. Maybe a shootout every Monday morning at the Stockyards to see who gets to write features and editorials for that week. Let the Attrition begin. I’m not sure I have read a print edition in over a year of any newspaper or magazine.

  • buck

    I imagine the News would do like other combined papers and include a Star-Telegram editorial page for the FW point of view.

  • Bobby Ewing

    Newspaper reporter = train conductor. Time to find a new gig.

  • JM

    Bobby:
    I’m a journalist and my uncle is a train conductor. I still make good money (at least for the next two weeks or so), and he’s doing great.

    Some of us just hang on, you know?

  • louis

    Why couldn’t you have the Star-Telegram with a local Dallas editorial and news page? Why fold ST into DMN? Why can’t you go the other way?

  • Dane

    While we’re into wacky ideas, how about this: the DMN, Star-Telegram, Austin American-Statesman, and Houston Chronicle all merge–same content statewide but in regional editions.

    Don’t laugh–the two main papers in North Carolina are headed in that direction.

  • ben

    Dane, the broadcast version of that would be TXCN?

  • 39-year reader

    Guess I have a legitimate fear of renewing my subscription now. Wonder if I can get a home-throw on The UTA Shorthorn or The TCU Skiff instead?