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DMN Lays Off 20 Newsroom Employees, Plus Others, Amid 'Restructuring'

Protesters in front of The Dallas Morning News in December
Protesters in front of The Dallas Morning News in December
Nashwa Bawab

The events followed a familiar pattern for newsrooms around the country that are slowly suffocating. A tweet from Dom DiFurio, one of the surviving staffers in The Dallas Morning News' newsroom, broke the word just as the paper's employees heard it: Layoffs were coming again. 

Word trickled out slowly for the rest of the morning and the early afternoon, as journalists receiving the bad news added themselves to the list of those laid off.

Reporter Tasha Tsiaperas, with the DMN almost seven years on criminal justice and other beats, lost her job. 

So did Dianne Solis, who's been with the paper more than 20 years, most recently as an immigration reporter, and Eddie Sefko, who's spent the last 18 years on the Mavericks beat. Many of those who were laid off had been at the News for decades.

The layoffs decimated the arts and life department, as well. Cultural critic Chris Vognar lost his job, as did GuideLive Editor Sara Frederick and music critic Kelly Dearmore.

After 23 years, energy and environmental reporter Jeff Mosier lost his job shortly after the layoffs were announced at a newsroom meeting Monday morning.

"A lot of us were blindsided," Mosier said Monday afternoon. "Even though, especially since moving over to the business news desk, I've looked at the business side a little bit more. Obviously, our numbers, our quarterly reports, have been terrible all year long. We knew that we had far fewer jobs going forward but we'd already lost a ton of people."

The DMN lost at least $500,000 in each of the first three quarters of 2018.

Mosier said laid-off reporters were given the option of cleaning out their desks Monday or returning to do so later. Those who lost their jobs received limited severance payouts, he said. 

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In its own article announcing the layoffs Monday afternoon, the DMN's president and publisher, Grant Moise, blamed print revenue declines for forcing the paper's hand. Moving forward, the Morning News intends to focus more on its digital operation.

“After considerable thought and analysis, our management team has determined that our business in the future is largely supported by subscription revenue and the need for more aggressive investment in our digital products,” Moise said.

According to a 2018 SEC filing, DMN's top executives, including Moise, have mostly seen their compensation increase  over the last three years. 

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