D magazine got at least this much right about columnist John Anders' split from The Dallas Morning News: He left behind a high salary from the daily, and he's moving with his wife, News columnist Helen Bryant, to Austin.
The question, which D purports to answer in its March issue, is: Why? The magazine suggests -- somewhat nastily -- that Anders was canned after he turned down an early-retirement package the News was offering its older staffers (Anders is 54) as part of cost-cutting measures the newspaper adopted last year.
Not exactly, according to those familiar with Anders' departure. Anders sought and received an early buyout from the News rather than face reassignment, but he had the option to stay. If the move left Anders bitter, he's keeping it to himself. Anders told Buzz several weeks ago that he's not talking about why he left. Buzz, at least, tried to talk to him, which apparently is more than D was capable of.
As for D's veiled suggestion that the "flabbiness" of Anders' prose might have had something to do with his leaving -- well, maybe, though the columnists he left behind aren't exactly an edgy bunch. Two recent examples: Steve Blow writing about his search for the oldest restaurant in Dallas, and Blow's fellow metro columnist Jacquielynn Floyd -- described by a former News staffer as a "female Steve Blow" -- reporting that the world might end in 500 million years. That leaves the Morning News just enough time to find a metro columnist who has something worthwhile to say.
Buzz's request last week for help in coming up with a new editorial motto for the Morning News brought a flood of responses from readers via e-mail.
OK, maybe not a flood, but a bunch.
OK, OK, it was four. (That may not sound like many, but it's two more readers than we thought we had; our editor and Mrs. Buzz have to read us.)
The mottoes came pouring -- um, trickling -- in after we reported last week that the Morning News' editorial managers are drafting a "mission statement" to describe the goals for the newsroom. A "mission statement" being a bit grandiose, we suggested several mottoes instead and solicited more.
Reader Becky Pena, a bit touchy about how Oak Cliff appears in the News' pages, wrote: "OK, how 'bout...'Keeping housing cheap in sunny Oak Cliff' by ignoring the wonderfully diverse community while exaggerating the high-crime aspects of our neighborhood...GRRRRR! 22 years in Oak Cliff and never been robbed! And white too! You can have Lake Highlands. I love it here."
Gregory Girkin suggested, "Dallas' biggest marketing brochure!" That might work, Greg, if D hadn't already copyrighted it.
An anonymous writer offered, "The best bias news money can buy." (See above.)
And finally, Julia Barton provided Buzz our personal favorite, "Because your church bulletin doesn't have the TV guide."
Thanks, guys. For your contribution you will receive a free weekly copy of the Dallas Observer, available at your local newsstands and finer drinking establishments -- please, only one per person.
Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams