This afternoon, DallasBlog and FrontBurner began publishing the names of those staffers who have accepted the buyouts being offered by Dallas Morning News management. They sound about right from what we've been told over the course of the last two weeks; we have even more high-profile names to add, but they have asked us to hold off till DMN management has reviewed their acceptances and let them go gently into that good night. But, well, here's the deal: "Anyone who accepts it will go," says one DMN staffer who has taken the offer. Because, frankly, why would the paper want to keep anyone who doesn't want to stay? And many of those who have taken the deals have done so because they can't stomach the idea of staying at a gutted paper, waiting for the next round of slicing and dicing. We predict this much: Ed Bark will wind up at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where he will embarrass his former employer every...single...day.
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As soon as we can confirm many of the names, we will begin publishing the list as well; but, fact is, journalists are nothing if not notorious gossips--and many of the folks on the list are friends, and I'd rather they weren't leaving, though I understand why most feel they have to. But there is one guy to whom I've spoken who says, yes, he is out: Philip Wuntch, the newspaper's lead film critic (and not "copy desk chief," as FrontBurner initially had it). Wuntch has been at the paper for 37 years and has been its film critic since 1974; before that, he was an entertainment writer at the Dallas Times Herald (and, before that, a Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity brother of my father's at SMU). Philip, who's as kind a man as you'd ever meet in a profession built upon the put-down, says he will not write a farewell piece for the paper but merely walk out the door and not return. "I'm 61," Philip says. "And I've had a good run." --Robert Wilonsky