The news from the Dallas-based A.H. Belo Corp., owners of the Dallas Morning News and our own Providence Urinal, hit home hard and quickly last week in Our Little Towne. The Dallas Observer said it all in the headline: “At the Dallas News, a New ‘Bold Strategy’: Section Editors Reporting to Sales Managers,” with the Observer adding, “Newspaper Finds Solution to Archaic Media’s Problems: Let Business Department Decide What’s News.”
You can make a great argument that the sales department has had the newsroom of many papers by the short and curlies for years, but this brazen announcement horrified Dallas employees and readers alike, judging by the scorching and appalled feedback it generated. The line between sales and news has always been one of the media’s most sacred of cows, but it looks like it’s barbecue time down at the Belo ranch. “As of [December 2], some section editors at all of the company’s papers, including the News, will now report directly to [the] team of sales managers, now referred to as general managers. In short, those who sell ads for A.H. Belo’s products will now dictate content within A.H. Belo’s products, which is a radical departure from the way newspapers have been run since, oh, forever” is how the Observer put it.
And you know damn well in regard to the BeloJo that what happens in Dallas does not stay in Dallas. Phillipe and Jorge will bet the house that the memo that went out to Morning News employees will soon be reproduced by management on Fountain Street word-for-word within the next few months, lovingly embraced by publisher Howard Sutton. P+J’s pals in the Other Paper’s newsroom confirmed the word from Dallas was met with shock and awe, especially due to its blatant usurping of the standard to which true journalists pay more than a little respect on a daily basis. Indeed the Morning News’ editor Bob Mong and senior vice president of sales Cyndy Carr seem to revel in their new “business/news integration.” Some might call them conscienceless whores, but you would never hear that coming from your superior correspondents.
So just wait for it, boys and girls: “No set date yet for Afghan pullout, say Nick, Ron and Pete Cardi of Cardi Furniture.” Or “Carcieri not at fault for economic problems, says noted crash expert Brian Cunha (see ad, page A-8).” And, “No better R.I. Farm Fresh eggs than those at Foxy Lady’s Legs and Eggs.”
Have a Pernod and grapefruit on us, William Randolph Hearst.
TELL ME MORE, YOU FAHSCINATE ME
In the wake of the absolutely hilarious September 19 “Talk Like a Pirate Day,” we now have a new way for you to amuse yourself for hours on end.
Two British ex-pats in New York City, the “Big Apple Brits,” will be holding the first international “Talk with a Fake British Accent Day” on December 17. This has been featured as a virtual global event on Facebook (find it yourself, who are we, your mothers?) and will include an event at a midtown bar. As P+J are well aware, using a Brit accent to get laid is a sure thing (and adds about 20 faux points to your IQ).