By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
September 14, 2000
For immediate release
Belo Chairman Robert W. Decherd Announces New Bureau
DALLAS, TEXAS/PR Newswire/-Belo (NYSE: BLC) chairman, president, chief executive officer, and all-around badass Robert W. Decherd announced at a press conference today an exercise in synergy unlike anything the free world has witnessed since Paul Lynde guest-starred on I Dream of Jeannie: Three key Belo content-gathering entities-The Dallas Morning News, WFAA-Channel 8, and dallasnews.com-have combined to open this, like, incredibly huge bureau in the previously unexplored content-gathering region known as “Southern Dallas.” This follows last week’s FRONT-PAGE ANNOUNCEMENT that the Morning News, along with the Chicago Tribune, has been given approval to open a bureau in Havana, Cuba.
“Now that we’ve decided to open a really big bureau in Southern Dallas, we feel that there is no part of the world where we won’t send reporters,” Decherd said, smoking a fat, sweet stogie he said he copped from “some Cuban embassy guy.”
He continued: “We now plan to cover the area south of the Trinity River just as aggressively as we will Cuba, Eastern Europe, Mexico, New York, and the other faraway places we send people in an effort to win East Coast journalism awards.”
Decherd said that while details of the effort-dubbed “Dallas: Let’s Cover It!”-still need to be worked out, the Morning News would operate the new bureau much as it does its other foreign bureaus.
“For example,” Decherd said while sipping fine Cuban coffee, “for our Havana bureau, we will want to make sure people have a full understanding of the country, its language, its people, its rich history. For our Southern Dallas bureau, we plan to scour the journalistic landscape and find some people who interact daily with African-Americans and/or Hispanics. Perhaps hire someone who has, say, visited the zoo.”
Decherd said the three news-gathering entities would work together to provide the latest news about Southern Dallas, doing combined broadcast/webcasts when appropriate, or perhaps having Morning News columnist Steve Blow take a laptop to a Southern Dallas church and file a story about how God graces all our lives, if not his copy.
Decherd reiterated that this effort would compromise neither WFAA’s nor the Morning News’ ability to cover North Dallas. “Oh, Christ no!” Decherd exclaimed. “We know where our bread is buttered: in the ad-rich, demographically desirable, milky-white world of Frisco, Plano, Carrollton...anywhere north of Mockingbird Lane, basically, up to the Red River.” Taking a big puff of fine Cuban craftsmanship, he added, “I mean, I’m not crazy.”
Decherd reminded reporters that the White House still must approve the Morning News’ bureau in Havana. Similarly, he said that Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk must approve Belo’s Southern Dallas bureau. In a statement released later in the day, Mayor Kirk said he would do so as soon as he bought a Mapsco and figured out exactly where the hell Southern Dallas is.
Belo is one of the nation’s largest media companies, with a diversified group of television broadcasting, newspaper publishing, cable news, and electronic media assets. The Company’s Television Group consists of 18 stations reaching 14 percent of U.S. television households, which mistakenly gives upper management the sense that Belo is a big-time national player. Belo owns six stations in four of the top 17 television markets, and that’s pretty good, huh? In addition, the Company owns five local or regional cable news channels, such as TXCN, which the Company is losing a buttload of money on, but which the Company is too proud to shut down.
Belo’s Publishing Division consists of several daily newspapers, although it recently announced plans to sell the Bryan-College Station Eagle, totally abandoning those schlubs who moved to that hellhole with a promise they would some day play in the big leagues at the Morning News. Belo Interactive, Inc., Belo’s Internet subsidiary, includes the Web site operations of Belo’s television stations and newspapers, interactive alliances and partnerships, and a broad range of Internet-based products and services. Belo Interactive employees also get preferential treatment, better offices, and totally sweet computers, which has PO’ed longtime WFAA and Morning News staffers something fierce.
For more information, contact the Dallas Observer’s Eric Celeste, just one of the employees at that damned paper who we’d like to see rot in hell, at email@example.com, because, you know, he wrote this and deserves to be punched in his fat gut.