Distinguished Speaker Luncheon featuring Jim Moroney, DMN publisher/A.H. BELO Corp. CEO

September 2, 2015  |  Headliners Club, McBee Room

Headliners Foundation Distinguished Speakers Series
A Conversation with The Dallas Morning News publisher
and A. H. BELO Corp. CEO James Moroney

To watch the conversation, activate the video below.

Seldom does Dallas royalty visit the Headliner’s as it did September 2, 2015 in the person of James Moroney, publisher of The Dallas Morning News, chairman, president and Chief Executive Officer of A. H. Belo Corporation, and his wife Barbara Bass Moroney,  daughter of Dick Bass – mountaineer extraordinaire. (Sidebar: One of the Moroney daughters, Callie, attends UT and is a Cowboy Sweetheart; her cousin Chris Dealey, son of Club member Mandy Dealey, was former president of the Cowboys).

James Moroney, great grandson of A.H. Belo, is a graduate of Stanford University and the McCombs School of Business. In April 2004 Editor & Publisher selected him as Publisher of the Year. In 2012, he received the Frank Mayborn Award for Community Leadership from the Texas Daily Newspaper Association. Headliner’s Foundation Vice-Chairman John Lumpkin invited Moroney to the Club to discuss the challenges facing newspapers in the world of the 24-hour broadcast news cycle, diminishing readership for print media and the corresponding decrease in ad revenue.

After an illuminating introduction by Foundation Chairman Mark Morrison, Moroney outlined the rather grim prospects facing newspapers and some ways The Dallas Morning News has devised to cope with the changing world of media. The situation is so dire that Moroney says he has tired of people feeling sorry for him when he says he is in the newspaper business. Now answers the typical “What do you do?” with “I get up every morning and try to save democracy.”

Although tagged as media, Huffington Post and other popular “news sources” piggyback on stories made available through newspapers but do not bear the expense of collecting the news.

Even the wealthier broadcast outlets have cut back drastically on their reporting. For example, not one of the big news networks has a single reporter based in Austin. All media has had to shrink resources in order to remain profitable. In 2005, at The Dallas Morning News’ 80 percent of revenue came from newspaper advertising. By 2010 that was down to 50 percent. Moroney says it will continue to go down.

More and more newspapers are turning to cross-subsidizing to remain profitable. Belo has used its ample resources to buy other related businesses and market them to their customers. The Dallas Morning News today offers a data center, marketing assistance, direct mail, television products, Spanishlanguage media and out-of-home services. It even owns a Google-like research engine called Vertical Nerve. Even this strategy may not work to make newspapers profitable, Moroney admits, but he still gets up everyday and tries to save democracy. I, for one, would not bet against him.

by Donna Shipley

Event Photos