DALLAS -- The 112-year-old Dallas Times Herald said 'Goodbye, Dallas!' on the front page of its final edition Monday, one day after selling most of its assets to the parent company of its rival, The Dallas Morning News.
The sale ended a long, often bitter war between the two newspapers and left about 900 employees of the Times Herald unemployed. Some of them were in tears late Sunday as the final edition rolled off the press in downtown Dallas.
'This was like a dream,' said Donna Whitaker, 41, an assistant metro editor. 'This was home. This was a good newspaper. This was good journalists and professional people.'
Times Herald columist Molly Ivins said the sale was no shock to those who have witnessed the newspaper rivalry and she chose to celebrate the fiesty newspaper with 'the writers and the guts' to take on the Dallas establishment in her final column.
Reporters and editors boxed up their personal belongings, hugged their friends and shook hands as the newsroom closed down. Editor Roy Bode said there was 'a great deal of sadness and unhappiness' in the newsroom.
'It's a disappointment for them to know that after 112 years, the Dallas Times Herald will be gone Tuesday. I've been here as editor for nearly four years and have spent about 12 of the past 21 years here.'
'This is a soul-wrenching experience. These people are superb professionals and they are also my friends, and together we built one of the best newspapers in America.'
Times Herald Publisher John Buzzetta said that everything that could be done had been tried to save the nespaper.
'This recession has been especially difficult for media companies and particularly hard on the second newspaper company in a market,' he said. 'Through it all, however, thanks to a wonderful and very talented group of employees, we have continued to publish a very high-quality newspaper.'
Buzzetta said during the past year more than 100 potential investors or buyers were contacted about purchasing the Times Herald. None of the efforts was successful, he said.
A.H. Belo Co., owner of The Dallas Morning News, has agreed to purchase most of the Times Herald's assets for $55 million.
The Justice Department, which reviewed the proposed sale for potential anti-trust violations, approved the transaction Friday, Belo Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Decherd said Sunday at a news conference.
'What prompted the sale was the general economic conditions which have made it difficult in Dallas and throughout the country to publish profitably, in the case of the Times Herald and other companies that are struggling in these times,' Decherd said. 'And in the case of the Times Herald, the string just ran out.'
Decherd said Belo and the Morning News are saddened by the loss of the Herald.
'We've had a wonderful, competitive experience with them over a long period of time,' he said.
In addition to the asset-purchase agreement, the Times Herald will pay Belo $1.5 million to settle a pending anti-trust lawsuit the Times Herald filed against the owners of its rival in August 1989, Decherd said.
He said Belo has no immediate plans for the Times Herald building or its contents in downtown Dallas.
Decherd said that some Times Herald columnists and reporters likely would be hired by the Morning News but there are no such changes anticipated soon.
The Dallas Times Herald Printing Co., publisher of the Times Herald, said Sunday all its 900 full-time employees will receive salary and benefits for 60 days. A proportionate offer is being made to qualified part-time employees. Additional compensation is being offered to longtime employees.
The Times Herald was founded in 1879 as the Dallas Times and became the Dallas Herald in 1886. It was renamed the Daily Times Herald in 1888 and became the Dallas Times Herald in 1954.
The Times Herald won Pulitzer prizes in 1964, 1980 and 1983.
According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations Fas-Fax report for the six months ending Sept. 30, the Morning News's total daily and Sunday circulation stood at 406,768 and 618,283, respectively, and the Times Herald's total daily circulation was 200,730 and 289,284 on Sunday.