Dallas Morning News Names FiveThirtyEight's Mike Wilson New Editor-in-Chief

Categories: Media

Meet the new boss.
Mike Wilson, the managing editor of Nate Silver's ESPN-owned data journalism project, FiveThirtyEight, will take the reins as The Dallas Morning News' new editor-in-chief on February 16. He replaces Bob Mong, who is retiring after 13 years at the helm.

Wilson is a former managing editor at the Tampa Bay Times, a paper known in journalism circles for producing robust investigative and narrative journalism, as well as losing lots and lots of money.

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The Dallas Observer Needs a Web Editor

Categories: Media

Nicholas McWhirter via Meat Fight
The last guy got tonged by Ron Swanson. Just sayin.
Because ours is going back to the UK. Which is sad. He is smart and funny and is easily confused by America, and he makes Chartbeat blush. Remember when we sent him to the NRA convention? Or the time he watched the World Cup -- that was that one soccer thing you pretended to understand -- with a citizen of every participating country? Good times.

Anyway, we need a new him. Get in the queue, as he would say. Here's the job posting:

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New City of Dallas Media Plan Is All About Message Control

Categories: City Hall, Media

David R. Tribble
Taking out the middle man.
Sana Syed had a baptism by fire. Just after she took the city of Dallas' public information officer job, Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola. Syed did an admirable job filtering and distributing the torrent of information that would come out over the succeeding weeks.

She would also show that she knew how to spot and promote a story that would be a winner for the city, however harrowing the circumstances. Bentley -- the King Charles spaniel who belongs to Nina Pham, one of the Texas Health Presbyterian nurses to get Ebola after treating Duncan -- quickly became the face and focus of many of Syed's tweets and press releases. The end of the dog's monitoring for Ebola and his reuniting with Pham was the unofficial end of Ebola in Dallas, however absurd the press conference that accompanied it was.

See also: Bentley Is an Extremely Cute Dog, But Tomorrow's Press Conference Is Insane

Wednesday, Syed outlined how she hopes to keep the positive news flowing with a new city news website, improved use of social media and something new called "The Communications and Policy Institute."

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Craig Watkins' Office Sees Conspiracy Behind News' Request for Public Records

Categories: Media
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Craig_Watkins_061910.jpg
A judge asked the Dallas County District Attorney's Office and The Dallas Morning News to salvage their relationship Monday, but instead the two parties will duke it out in court.
A lawyer for the Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins says politics is behind a Dallas Morning News lawsuit seeking to force Watkins' office to comply with Texas' public records law and release documents about how the district attorney spends forfeiture funds.

"This is not about trying to get records," Russell Wilson, an assistant district attorney, told state District Judge Jim Jordan at a hearing Monday. The timing, Wilson said, was "suspicious" since the News filed its lawsuit on October 23, one week after its editorial board endorsed Republican Susan Hawk, who is running against Watkins in next week's election.

It's an interesting theory, and usually Unfair Park is willing to believe all sorts of dark motives lurk behind decisions at the Morning News, but it ignores the fact that News courthouse reporter Jennifer Emily filed her first request for records about Watkins' use of his office's civil forfeiture funds on September 4. She filed a second request for additional records on September 15. The News' lawyer sent his own letter asking about her request on October 1 and another on October 9. In the latter, he even warned the district attorney's office that the paper was ready to consider its legal options if Watkins' office didn't respond by October 13.

The News' suit says Watkins' office didn't respond at all to the September 4 request and only partly to the one filed September 15.

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Dallas Radio Yakker Wants Adrian Peterson to Play for the Cowboys

Categories: Media, Sports

Shan Shariff, the world's foremost expert on Texas.
It's been a banner week for the DFW sports media brain trust. First, the Star-Telegram's Mac Engel told us why we were stupid for thinking Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was a child abuser just because he gone a little too far. Now we have Shan Shariff, a radio host on 105.3 The Fan, who actually wrote a column for CBS DFW headlined "Why Adrian Peterson Needs A Star On His Helmet."

See also: Star-Telegram's Mac Engel Says Adrian Peterson Just Got a Little Carried Away

To be clear, he doesn't mean that Peterson needs to have a special sticker on his helmet to warn teammates, opponents and fans they shouldn't let their kids near him. Shariff means Peterson should, after his inevitable departure from the Vikings, be signed by the Cowboys.

Beyond salivating over the on-field possibilities, Shariff, who is from Maryland, writes that Peterson should come to the Cowboys because Texans are more apt to accept violence against children than those in other parts of the country.

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CBS I-Team Sleuth Mireya Villareal Can Use Facebook, Is No Brett Shipp

CBS 11
Mireya Villareal
Our apologies to WFAA's Brett Shipp. After a lengthy run as our favorite local investigative TV journalist -- occasionally prone to hyperbole, sure, but a fantastic reporter with the proper evening-news mix of charm and obnoxiousness -- he has been displaced. That coveted spot in our heart now goes to CBS 11's Mireya Villareal.

Villareal is a relative newcomer to the Dallas media market, but she appeared on our radar early in her tenure when her sleuthing revealed that there is sex on the Internet and that Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings enjoys fine wine.

Last night she delivered another hard-charging report, this one revealing that Dallas PD's godawful new computer system was purchased from Unisys, one of the companies that may have paid bribes to John Wiley Price.

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Star-Telegram's Mac Engel Says Adrian Peterson Just Got a Little Carried Away

Categories: Media

Joe Bielawa
Not a child abuser, says Mac Engel.
Some situations are not nuanced. That didn't keep Mac Engel from making excuses for Adrian Peterson in this morning's Star-Telegram. Peterson, he says, may have abused his two sons when he allegedly beat them to the point of bleeding and scarring, but he is not a child abuser -- which is kind of like saying one isn't really a murderer if he or she only commits one or two murders.

"What Peterson did strictly comes down to where you stand on corporal punishment, because there are a lot of good people who administered similar whuppins before, even breaking the skin, and generations who turned out fine after having received them," Engel says.

Ignoring the massive post hoc fallacy about people turning out "fine" after receiving lacerations from their parents, there are a significant number of people who would assert that caregivers who administer those sort of whuppins -- to use Engel's clever euphemism --- are not, in fact, good people.

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The Observer Is Hiring an Editorial Assistant

Categories: Media

We have an immediate opening for an editorial assistant. This is a full-time, entry-level position, perfect for a hyper-organized self-starter who can successfully juggle tasks ranging from crafting short blog posts to managing listings to monitoring the provisions in the newsroom beer fridge, all while working independently on long-term projects that keep this website functioning and robust.

Ideal candidates will have a college degree; excellent organizational and communication skills; a sense of humor; a deep well of patience; and some other attributes that make us think, Hey, we would maybe like to see you every day. Applicants should already live in or have ties to Dallas. This is a full-time job with benefits.

Interested? Send a resume, cover letter and a list of references to Joe Tone, editor, at joe.tone@dallasobserver.com with "Editorial Assistant" in the subject line. Not that interested but want to work with us in some other capacity? Check out our contributors guide.

New York Times Can't Help Itself, Strains to Tie Oak Cliff Rejuvenation to JFK Murder

Categories: Media

Deserted out of JFK shame, says the Times.

We get the impulse. The easiest way to dive into a story about Oak Cliff, especially if you've never spent more than a few days there, is to talk about November 1963. Failing that, you can talk about crime, making it seem as if people who cross the Trinity heading south are taking their lives into their hands. Bringing up things like successful organic growth through the promotion of Dallas rarities like density and walkability requires a lot more thought than headlining a travel piece "In Dallas, Turning the Page Marked Nov. 22, 1963," as The New York Times did in an article published yesterday.

Mention that the Texas Theater was the site of Lee Oswald's capture sure, that's interesting enough. Checking out the phone on Top Ten Records counter that J.D. Tippit is said to have made his last phone call from can be a unique experience too, but the NYT fails to even mention that bit of trivia.

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Citizen Journalist Riles DFW Government Agencies and Contractor With "First Amendment Fridays"

Categories: Media

The DEA got this close to Brett Sanders.

Armed with at least his Infowars.com press pass and his smartphone camera, Frisco resident Brett Sanders is staging a one-man crusade for the Bill of Rights.

For each of the last three Fridays, Sanders, who says he is also involved in the Open Carry movement, has filmed a different entity from public sidewalks. July 11 it was federal contractor Raytheon. July 18 it was the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Region VI office. Last week he took to the area outside the Drug Enforcement Administration's Dallas office. In each instance Sanders is told to stop filming and a confrontation of varying level of intensity ensues.

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