The other shoe has finally dropped at Dallas’ Only Daily Newspaper. The paper’s parent, A.H. Belo, said this morning that it will cut 500 jobs at its four newspapers. If there aren’t enough volunteers, layoffs will begin in September.
Who will lose their jobs? The letter from Belo boss Robert Decherd didn’t break the numbers down between the four papers, but The News is the largest of the four, with almost three times the circulation of the next biggest paper, the Providence Journal. So expect to see the biggest cuts there. None of this helped the company’s stock price, which was down almost five percent this morning.
There was almost no good news in the letter or in Belo’s second quarter earnings report:
• Total revenue was down 15 percent, and ad revenue -– including the holy grail of Internet ad revenue -– was down 21 percent. That compares to a 10 percent drop in second quarter revenue at Gannett, which publishes USA Today, and a six percent decline at the New York Times company.
• Earnings were down 27 percent from the second quarter in 2007. It lost money in the quarter and for the first six months of the year. That compares to a 36 percent drop at Gannett and no change at the Times in the second quarter.
• Belo will probably sell some of its property in downtown Dallas, raising as much as $35 million. That could be the parking garage it owns near the WFAA building, which would dovetail nicely with the forthcoming convention center hotel.
• Belo set Aug. 22 as the launch for Briefing, its new home delivery daily aimed at high-end readers who don’t take The News. No word on what it will do with Quick, its free daily aimed at young readers, which has been rumored to become a weekly, or with any of its other ancillary products like NeighborsGo.
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