A Dallas Morning News staffer says folks in the newsroom have been told that 85 is, in fact, the target number Belo execs are aiming for in this latest round of buyouts/layoffs/summer vacations. The way they understand it, if 85 take the offer, nobody else will be let go; turns out the 120-150 figure was just a preliminary estimate/rumor being batted about the newsroom.
We also now have a better idea of how the layoff process will work: On August 23, News staffers will be given an e-mail address to which they're to send their acceptances of the offer. Buyouts will be granted in the order in which they're received. So, say, 10 people in the sports department take the offer, but Belo management only wants to cut seven from the department. Well, the first seven to respond will be let go--assuming those are seven people Belo wants to cut loose. (The press release referred to this morning says management will review the acceptances, which means they will not let go everyone who wants to walk out the door. Presumably, the paper intends to keep some of its higher-profile beat writers and columnists. Then, from what we've heard in recent weeks, maybe not so much.) Problem is, newsroom staffers haven't yet been told how many are to be let go from each department. The phrase "Russian roulette" comes to mind. --Robert Wilonsky