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Moroney's Memo

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When I spoke with Dallas Morning News publisher and CEO Jim Moroney Wednesday morning about the paper's forthcoming "'Subscriber Content' initiative," the very first thing he said was that he couldn't believe someone hadn't leaked his memo sent to the staff, which he then proceeded to summarize. This morning, the full text of his note found its way to Jim Romenesko's media news site. An excerpt:

So brace yourself. We will be vilified by the digital futurists, ridiculed by colleagues in our industry and fitted with a dunce cap by the trade media. In fact, some of the same will be heard in our own hallways. Much like our 40% increase in home delivery pricing in 2009, this strategy goes against the grain. But that's okay. We've been there before.

We are still living in adverse times in our industry. Newspaper industry advertising revenues declined for the fourth straight year in 2010. Last year felt better because the rate of decline decelerated; nevertheless, no one is certain that advertising revenues will grow in this new year.

Fortunately, we can learn more in times of adversity than prosperity. Based on this, we should have all learned a lot in the last decade in this industry. I hope we have. Yet of this one lesson I am certain: If in these adverse times, we cling to the status quo, if we just try to do better and better that which isn't providing us growth, we are failing in leadership and we are failing each other. And ultimately our business will fail.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

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Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.