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CJR Focuses on Key Coverage Losses in Dallas Morning News Layoffs Post-Mortem

Reaction to the disappearance of key beats and declining arts coverage.
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When 43 employees at the Dallas Morning News were laid off earlier this month—only the beginning of what has become an awful stretch for journalism—one disappointing side effect that jumped off the page was the seeming disappearance of a few critical beats. Today, the Columbia Journalism Review chimes in with a piece on the aftermath.

The story is framed as a dive into what the future holds, with the headline querying, “Will Dallas Morning News layoffs imperil key beats?” But DMN editor Mike Wilson declines to speak to future coverage, so what we really have here is reaction to coverage that we appear to be losing. Which is a lot. Deep Vellum Publishing founder Will Evans chimes in on the slashes to art coverage, calling it a “worst-case scenario for what we do.”

The story also hones in on the energy/environment and immigration beats, the coverage of which is of particular importance in a state like Texas. Outgoing immigration reporter Dianne Solis gets a stamp of approval from an expert in the area, Cal State University — Northridge professor Daniela Gerson. “Texas is at the center of immigration, which is one of, if not the biggest, stories of our time,” Gerson tells CJR.

And then there’s this, regarding the loss of DMN long-timer Jeff Mosier:

That loss is “a real tragedy,” Tom Pelton, a spokesman for the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project, which keeps an office in Austin, says.

“Texas is the epicenter of the American energy revolution,” Pelton writes in an email. “To not have anyone examining the environmental impact for the Dallas metropolitan area is to remove a conscience that a healthy democratic system requires to function.” Bobby Magill, president of the Society of Environmental Journalists, calls the potential decrease in environmental coverage in the state “extraordinarily unfortunate.”

Announced on January 7, the Morning News’ cuts included 43 employees in all, about 20 of them from editorial. Find CJR’s piece here.

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