In speaking to the trade group Newspaper Association of America on Monday, the publisher and CEO of the Dallas Morning News asserted that print has not been killed by the internet, “nor have we committed suicide by stupidity as some have suggested.”
Moroney said by next year the newspaper industry will collectively post a year-over-year increase in total revenue. “Business diversification” — the DMN has opened or acquired five other businesses in 2012 — and “reader engagement” were the optimistic buzzwords of the meeting.
“As an industry, we’ve got barrels of whoop ass left,” he said. “And all we’ve got to do is put it on.”
I’m not sure how one “puts on” a barrel of whoop-ass.
(H/T: Bud Kennedy)
In the Sunday Dallas Morning News, Gromer Jeffers opined that the Dallas City Council campaign of Jennifer Staubach Gates is being aided by the famous name and wealthy friends of her father, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and commercial real estate bigwig Roger Staubach.
Staubach has long been expected to become a political candidate himself, though he never has, Jeffers wrote:
But the game’s not over. Staubach is handing off any dreams of public office to his daughter, Jennifer Staubach Gates.
When I interviewed Staubach this morning, Jeffers’ column was one of the first matters he brought up. He didn’t like the implication that his daughter is running for office in his stead and that he harbors political ambitions of his own.
“I didn’t really want her to be in politics,” Staubach said. “The reason I mention that is my dream was never, never even indicated, never even tried, never any contemplation of going into politics.”
Kimberly A. Elkjer of Dallas-based Scheef & Stone is suing the firm because of its ban on men and women working alone together. The suit claims this policy made it more difficult for women to advance in their careers there. From AOL Jobs:
While the rules are no longer in effect, Elkjer’s lawsuit says, they created a segregated culture that persists — a culture that denies female attorneys the same opportunities for business and for raises as their male colleagues, and hurts their ability to work. This violates the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, her suit states, which prohibits employers from making decisions that harm the “terms, conditions, or privileges” of employees on the basis of gender.
“If their concern was harassment or something, you wouldn’t do that to African American employees,” says [Elkjer's attorney Amy] Gibson. ” ‘We’re afraid someone will accuse us of racial harassment, so white employees can’t be alone with African American employees.’ That’s crazy.”
The firm says there’s no evidence to support Elkjer’s claims.
The lawsuit wasn’t specific about the exact wording or rationale of the policy, or the years that it was in effect. Gibson says that she’s concerned about violating the firm’s confidentiality policy, which was brought to her attention — in a manner she found “threatening” — not long before she filed suit.
UPDATE: The PR firm for Scheef & Stone asked me to share their full statement on the suit. Take the jump if you’d like to read it:
No $20 Million Severance For American Airlines CEO. As part of an order approving the airline’s merger with US Airways, a judge has disallowed the payment that the bankrupt airline planned to give Tom Horton, who will step down as the company’s CEO once the merger is complete. The $19,875,000 Horton was slated to receive is more than 10 times the average severance paid to outgoing AMR employees during the bankruptcy. According to the judge, the proposed payment exceeds what’s allowed under federal bankruptcy code. But maybe this meddling judge just doesn’t understand the way that big corporations have to operate, huh? I mean, how’s American Airlines ever going to attract top talent to lead it into bankruptcy again if Horton gets only a piddly $9 million or $10 million severance check?
Second Fatal Accident For Driver. Loyd Rieve, 65, was the bus driver in yesterday’s accident in Irving that left two women dead and injured 42 others. In 1998 he drove a tour bus that ran over a good Samaritan helping at an accident scene. A grand jury declined to indict him then. There’s been no official determination of the cause of yesterday’s incident.
Jasso, Griggs Spar Over Trinity Toll Road, Gas Drilling. Due to redrawn Dallas City Council districts, incumbent council members Scott Griggs and Delia Jasso are running against each other for the District 1 seat. At last night’s debate, Griggs was working hard to draw a contrast between them, arguing that he’s the only candidate to oppose all natural gas drilling in urban areas. (Jasso indicated she’s not a big fan of the drilling but that the city may be legally obligated to allow it because of a lease it granted five years ago.) Griggs also was adamant about his opposition to building a toll road between the Trinity River levees. (Jasso said other options for the toll road should be looked at, but that the citizens of Dallas have asked for the road through a referendum, and so the city should do what the voters want.)
High School Coach Sues Cowboys Stadium Over Runaway Golf Cart. Willie Amendola, the football coach at Spring’s Dekaney High School, filed suit earlier this week. In 2011, while he was being interviewed after his team won the state title, an unmanned golf cart plowed into him from behind. He flew back into the cart’s seat and had to roll out when he couldn’t get it under control himself. He’s asking for $1 million in damages due to personal injury and “great personal anguish and embarrassment.” Look for his embarrassment in the video above.
Yesterday, intern Farraz Khan toured the new terminal at Love for us. Included in his recap were pictures and a description of a D Mag-branded newsstand shop. In the comments, a wisenheimer asked whether we were now doing business with Eddie Bernice Johnson. I see that comment has been deleted. Not sure why. These things happen. But I thought the joke was a fair one, because folks deserve to know where our interests lie. (If you need to catch up on the whole rancorous deal over concessions at Love, start here. But just know that EBJ, as part owner of Hudson Retail Dallas, was involved.)
So then. The D Magazine-branded newsstand is run by CBR Specialty Retail, which is an affiliate of HMSHost, which is part of Autogrill S.p.A., which claims to be the world’s largest provider of food, beverage, and retail services for travelers. CBR Specailty uses our trademarks through a license agreement. We look forward to a long and successful business partnership with them. And free Big Red.
D Healthcare Daily notes that Frisco-based GM Southwest Inc., which according to its website provides student health insurance plans, has been indicted for fraudulently overstating claims of Virginia Tech students by $9 million.
The company and its former owner, 73-year-old John Paul Gutschlag Sr., are charged with with racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering and fraud.
Okay, so you might be thinking that it wouldn’t take a genius to predict the collapse of Bitcoin, that goofy-sounding web-based “currency” whose value had gone bonkers recently. But here’s the thing: Eichenwald timed his prediction perfectly. Here’s the Dallas-based writer’s take on Bitcoin, published Tuesday on the Vanity Fair site. The jist:
Put simply, despite all the hullaballoo, Bitcoins are not a currency, at least in any traditional sense of the word. Rather, they have transformed more into an investment, like a stock. … This year, the insanity of Bitcoins is obvious for all to see. Within a few months, the value of Bitcoins soared to a high of $147, an eleven-fold increase. … What caused this unprecedented jump, which translates into an annualized return of about 4,000 percent? The general consensus is that the financial crisis in Cyprus, which led to proposals to raid domestic bank accounts, set off a panic among Spaniards, who feared that the tumult would cross the Mediterranean and put their savings at risk. So large numbers of them converted their euros into digital Bitcoins. But the reason for the price jump is almost irrelevant. What matters here is that the experience shows that the Bitcoin is not functioning like a useful currency. …
Hoarding has become a common feature of the Bitcoin market, as purchasers hold on to the investment in hopes that the prices will keep rising. One comprehensive study released last October found that more than three-quarters of all Bitcoins — 78 percent — had been stuffed into virtual mattresses and taken out of circulation. In other words, in a system where supply and demand dictate prices, the available supply in the market is far less than might be imagined. In essence, the market is a fantasy. Once the hoarders stop buying, what buyers will step up to the plate to take their place? My bet? No one. There will be, at some point, a time when some hoarder decides to unload. Prices will drop.
The day after Eichenwald’s post, Bitcoin collapsed from an all-time-high of $265 to as low as $105. The reason offered by Bitcoin? It was a victim of its own success. From the Facebook page of Mt.Gox, the leading Bitcoin exchange:
Hi everyone, just a quick update on the situation and what happened last night.
First of all we would like to reassure you but no we were not last night victim of a DDoS but instead victim of our own success!
Indeed the rather astonishing amount of new account opened in the last few days added to the existing one plus the number of trade made a huge impact on the overall system that started to lag. As expected in such situation people started to panic, started to sell Bitcoin in mass (Panic Sale) resulting in an increase of trade that ultimately froze the trade engine!
Me, I’m too smart to get mixed up in this Bitboin silliness. I’ve got all my money in Mike Merrill, a guy who sold shares of himself.
“Love Evolution” sounds like it could’ve been the title of Justin Timberlake’s latest album. Or a command emblazoned in bold black letters on the bumper of Richard Dawkins’ sedan. Or the airy mantra chanted by a new-age, sheep-romancing cult. But instead we’re talking about Dallas Love Field’s shorthand and official brand for its five-year modernization project.
Today we got a sneak peek of the airport’s newly done-up segment of Terminal 2. It’s the first major milestone for Love Evolution, and it will open to the ticket-purchasing public next Tuesday, April 16. The modernization program, which began in 2009 through a strategic partnership between the city of Dallas and Southwest Airlines, seeks to give a facelift to the nearly six-decade-old airport in order to meet the demands (and indulge the fancies) of the 21st-century air traveler.
The construction project will conclude in 2014—synchronized with the full repeal of the Wright Amendment restrictions—and will equip the airport with the technology, amenities, and “post-9/11” design to accommodate the current 4 million yearly passengers, as well as the estimated 2 million extra passengers who will flock to Love once its carriers are free to fly the country.
Going private in a leveraged buyout may be one way out of its current dilemma for JCPenney—and for hedge-fund mogul William Ackman, who brought in Ron Johnson as CEO, then helped show him the door. That’s what this Reuters article suggests, anyway.
At JCPenney it’s a case of what goes around, comes around. As Jason noted earlier, Ron Johnson’s out the door as CEO at the Plano-based retailer. And the company’s previous chief executive, Mike Ullman, will be taking over as the
interim CEO. Ullman and Johnson, you might recall, both had starring roles in Joseph Guinto’s 2011 story in D CEO about Ullman’s legacy at Penney, and what lessons Johnson—a former Apple executive—might learn from it as he set out to remake the legendary department store.
As Joe pointed out, it was investment guys like Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management and Stephen Roth of Vornado Realty Trust who really wanted Johnson in the corner office in the first place. After months of miscalculations by the new regime, however, Vornado dumped 10 million shares of Penney stock last month. Then, just last Friday, the previously supportive Ackman publicly blasted Johnson’s “big mistakes,” and said the Texas company was courting disaster.
And, that was sort of the writing on the wall. As Joe predicted in his story, the investors gave Johnson a year-long honeymoon period, then started holding his feet to the fire as the losses continued to mount. So now, to close this circle, what lessons might Mike Ullman learn from Johnson’s tenure? How about this, for starters: The folly of an outsized, unchecked ego believing he had all the answers based on prior unrelated experience, the customers at his new venture be damned. But you can be sure Ullman knew that one already.
On Friday, Dallas City Council members Angela Hunt and Scott Griggs sent a memo to Mayor Mike Rawlings and city manager Mary Suhm, asking that the vote on whether to allow Trinity East to drill for natural gas on city parkland take place within the next 30 days. The Plan Commission has rejected the plan, and Trinity East has appealed that decision to the council.
Hunt (who’s term-limited out of office after the upcoming election) and Griggs (whose newly drawn district is forcing him to compete against fellow incumbent Delia Jasso for re-election) could both be off the council after next month. So if the vote doesn’t take place in the next 30 days, then they may not get to be part of it.
Griggs tells the Morning News this is about more than just raising an issue he can hammer his opponent about leading up to the election, that the current council has acquired a knowledge base about the matter that will be lost if the vote doesn’t take place until the next council is seated.
The blog of the anti-drilling group Dallas Area Residents for Responsible Drilling says Griggs and Hunt have “Political Ballz“:
If three more members sign on, the Dallas City Charter say that the vote will happen despite any who disagree. But with elections looming, only the brave will sign on, while those who may feel obligated to wait until after the election, will not sign on.
Jump to read the memo.
For months, hedge fund manager William Ackman has been one of the biggest cheerleaders for CEO Ron Johnson’s efforts to make over JCPenney. After all, the billionaire investor handpicked Johnson for the job. But Ackman’s cheerleading tone seemed to change Friday, when he offered a bluntly critical appraisal of Johnson’s performance. And who could really blame the investor, who sits on the Penney board? The biggest shareholder in the Plano-based department store chain, Ackman’s hedge fund is sitting on half a billion dollars in paper losses in Penney so far. On a happier note, he was wearing socks purchased at JCPenney when he made his comments.
Jon Wilkins says it’s because the nationals have the resources to do A/B testing. Locals mostly just guess — and their guesses are often swayed in the wrong direction by penny-ante prejudices. (H/t TheBrowser.com).
Wise up, locally owned Dallas stores! Just copy what the big guys do. They’ve spent small fortunes on cost/benefit analyses.
As Jason and Christine mentioned earlier, Beck Ventures made a big announcement today regarding their plans for the redevelopment of Valley View Mall. It features ICONIC! buildings, and TROLLEYS!, and PEDESTRIAN FRIENDLY! retail. It will also feature a big box Sears and JC Penney, all set to the musical equivalent of a dentist’s drill in the eye.
The Beck project has all the markings of how seemingly forward-thinking urban design trends of the 21th century – it has to be walkable, feature public space, mix uses and transportation – turns real estate development conceived with a 20th century financial model – big box anchor, destination shopping, no real access to public transportation – into a scarcely more desirable hybrid, Frankenstein sprawl.
But here’s where I get confused. (more…)
Christine will have a post up shortly on RealPoints with all the nitty-gritty details (UPDATE: right here.) of the $3 billion mixed-used development that’s taking the place of Valley View Center along LBJ. As we’ve mentioned before, it’s calling itself Dallas Midtown, even though it’s 10 miles north of Dallas Uptown and Dallas Downtown.
For now, check out their dance-music-infused 3D video trip through the development, hitting the highlights: an Iconic Office Tower! a Hike and Bike Trail! a Cable Car! a Surfing Wave Pool! Sears!