Here’s the letter DMN editor Mike Wilson sent to staff yesterday. Takeaway: The paper is getting younger/cheaper/more digital-y in the newsroom. Which should shock no one.
Today the News is offering a buyout to 167 newsroom employees whose age and years of service total at least 60 years. All editorial areas, including Al Dia, NeighborsGo, FD, Briefing and GuideLive.com, are included.
This is a voluntary program. Eligible employees may ask to participate beginning on July 20, 2015. We anticipate granting about 30 requests on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who take part in the program will leave the company around September 11, 2015. Details of the offer will be presented today in a letter to eligible employees.
Longtime employees will remember that the Company has offered these programs in the past, realizing cost savings on each occasion.
It is essential that we save money this time as well. But part of the reason for this voluntary program is to prepare us for a change in direction.
In the weeks and months after this buyout, we will add positions back to the newsroom, with a focus on hiring outstanding digital journalists. Adding new digital skills will make us more competitive in a fast-changing journalism marketplace now and in the future.
This is an important time for our Company. We know the audience for newspapers is shrinking and the digital audience is growing, especially on mobile. Other media organizations are launching new technologies and telling stories in new ways in an effort to take some of that digital audience away from us.
Journalistically, we fear no competitor because we know Dallas and North Texas better than anyone. The Dallas Morning News is one of the best and proudest news organizations in the United States. But our great tradition alone won’t sustain us. We have to move quickly to bring in the skills and the thinking that will make us indispensable to the emerging audience.
This kind of change is not easy, particularly when it means the departures of good journalists and good colleagues. But it is necessary, and that is why we are making this announcement.
I’ll set aside time to talk with you in the newsroom tomorrow morning and afternoon. In the meantime, please reach out to me, Keith or your department head if you have questions.