Making Dallas Even Better
The July issue of D Magazine (on newsstands now, but not yet available online) includes a story about the future of DART light-rail through downtown Dallas. This week’s podcast guest was our own Peter Simek, who typed that story. He chatted with Tim and Zac about the options for the future of the public transportation system, the lawsuit State Sen. Royce West filed against Dallas Cowboys player Dez Bryant, and Galveston, for some reason.
First a few notes and corrections before you dial up the show in your iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcatcher:Full Story
The figurine is all Chewbacca from the neck down, but feature’s Payne’s famously smiling face and a tiny little version of her favorite mask. A Hasbro spokesperson told CNN the talking toy is loaded with 13 quotes from Payne’s video, including a version of her laugh and the now-iconic line “I’m such a happy Chewbacca!”
The Alliance of Area Business Publishers presented D CEO Magazine with 10 Editorial Excellence awards Saturday, including a record nine gold (or first-place) awards. One of the nine awards was for best magazine, marking the fourth straight year that D CEO has won the top magazine honor. The annual competition recognizes excellence in journalism, photography and design achieved by regional business publications. The 2016 competition drew nearly 650 entries from newspaper and magazine business periodicals in the United States, Canada, and Australia. It was judged by faculty members from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.Full Story
Here is something that only a small number of journalists in this city care about. If you are not one of those journalists, then please move along. There is nothing to see here.
Yesterday, at 9 a.m., our own Nancy Nichols broke the story that Kent Rathbun is suing one of his partners to regain the rights to his name. Nancy came to this story not because someone had tipped her to it but because she thought, “Hmm, Rathbun resigned from Abacus. I wonder if anyone is suing anyone over this deal.” Then she went searching through Dallas County records to see if such a lawsuit existed, and she found one. Is this an important story like the fake-drugs scandal, where people’s lives hang in the balance? No. It’s just a juicy little morsel about a celebrity chef. Could anyone have found this lawsuit? Yes. But Nancy is the one who thought to go looking for it.Full Story
Kudos to Waco’s KWTX-TV for airing the below behind-the-scenes video of their recent interview with Ken Starr. In it, you can see Dallas’ Merrie Spaeth try to make her client look less like the putz that he has shown himself to be. I’ve gone through media training with Merrie. She is very good at her job. But even people who are good at their jobs sometimes have a bad day at work. Merrie certainly did in this case.Full Story
D Magazine took home the biggest prize available at Monday evening’s City and Regional Magazine Association awards, which were handed out at a star-absent ceremony at the Grand Hyatt Denver.
“General Excellence” honors the top magazine of the year in each of three circulation classes (D Magazine is a middleweight). Our print product beat out the other finalists at our readership level: Cincinnati, Indianapolis Monthly, Portland Monthly, and Seattle Met. All excellent magazines themselves, which makes the prize all the sweeter and far from a sure thing headed into the ceremony.Full Story
It was creepy. I mean, it wasn’t like I was a newbie in the world of stalking or anything. In my former life as a public interest attorney I had utilized Ohio’s first stalking protection law against a deranged cop who was menacing his former girlfriend, following her around in his police vehicle and calling late at night to leave threatening messages of impending bodily harm. But still, when it happens to you, it comes as a surprise—whether or not you have an armed ex-boyfriend with a badge.Full Story
Yesterday, the DMN launched a metered paywall. As I said, I hope it works. The city is a better place with a thriving, strong newspaper. But while they work things out digitally, I think there’s something the paper should be doing with the paper. Look at the front page of today’s Metro section.
A guy’s Audi Q5 smells of rotting flesh. His girlfriend is missing. There’s a shovel in his garage. And Febreze. It’s a sensational story. Tragic for the missing woman’s family. But a great story for readers. Yet it is relegated to that small space on the right.
The hero on the front page, the story that occupies about 75 percent of the real estate, is a thing about the Katy Trail and a guy who wants a bunch of money to spruce it up. Nothing is happening. Something might happen in the future. To a jogging path.Full Story
You can make an argument that Skip Hollandsworth is the all-time champ among D Magazine writers. He’s the only staffer, current or former, to have placed three bylines in our list of our 40 greatest stories ever, which we put together a couple years ago. (If you haven’t read “The Black Widow,” “Max’s Last Hurrah,” or “The Fall of the House of Von Erich,” you should.)
Hollandsworth defected to Texas Monthly in 1989 and is now one of five (!) executive editors on that magazine’s masthead. He still lives in Dallas and is the author of a well-reviewed new book called The Midnight Assassin, about the unsolved mystery of a serial killer in 19th-century Austin.
He was good enough to sit down with us at the Old Monk for a chat that spent far more time focused on the merits of Costco than I would’ve expected.
You can have a listen via the player below, or find EarBurner on iTunes, Stitcher, or through your favorite podcatcher. But first, please note:Full Story
I was reading this story in the DMN about a guy who was charged with murder. Here’s the online headline: “Ex-Euless Trinity Football Player, Now 27, Accused of Fatally Shooting Woman at Hurst Apartment.” So a decade ago, this guy played football in high school. When I finally go insane from writing Real Housewives of Dallas recaps and I come to work and bludgeon Zac to death with a spud wrench (it’s so specific that it almost makes you think I’ve given it a lot of thought, right?), I want the same sort of headline. I played football for the Cistercian Preparatory School For Wayward Boys, in Irving. Even caught a few touchdown passes in 1988. So something like “Ex-Cistercian Football Standout, Now 46, Accused of Honor Killing.” That would work. Thank you for your time.Full Story
Hotels.com recently brought a young writer for Bustle — a site “for & by women who are moving forward as fast as you are” — on a junket to Dallas. She mistakenly believes she was visiting “the South,” and her primary experience in her 24 hours in our fair city was attending an FC Dallas game up in Frisco.
She concludes about Texas:
Lindsey and I stayed at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Dallas, which felt like it was the size of a small country. Expansive views, spacious rooms, panoramic elevators, 50 stories — one wrong turn and I’d get lost for sure. But it wasn’t just the hotel that was huge. We couldn’t help but notice how larger than life everyday things were all over the city: couches, restrooms, restaurant chairs, food portions, drinks, sidewalks. Some things really are bigger in Texas.
But hair? Where was the big hair?! Is that in Houston?
In case she follows the linkback to this post, here’s what Sarah Hepola wrote for us about the big hair myth.Full Story
For the May issue of D Magazine, Mary Mapes wrote a story about a murder that gripped the city of Dallas in 1953. The victim, Venice Parker, was white. A black man named Tommy Lee Walker was put to death for the crime — though he had nine people who testified in court that they were with him on the night of the murder. One of those alibi witnesses was his girlfriend, who gave birth to their son that night. Tommy Lee rode in the ambulance to the hospital with her just hours after he’d supposedly raped and murdered someone miles away. None of that testimony mattered. District Attorney Henry Wade got his conviction just three months after Tommy Lee had been arrested. I encourage you to read the story and then listen to Mary on Think, with Krys Boyd, today at noon on 90.1 FM.
(Side note: the online version of our story is titled “When Henry Wade Executed an Innocent Man.” I love our talented web team. They work hard to optimize SEO and so forth. Nearly all of our headlines get rewritten for the web and nearly always for the best in that medium. But I much prefer the presentation of this story in print, with the headline “Who Was the Real Killer?” For what that is worth.)Full Story
That’s what Silicon Valley investor Chris Sacca, a former Google employee and sometimes co-star of Cuban’s on ABC’s Shark Tank, told CNBC this week:
Sacca noted that Cuban could be at least as successful as Trump were he were to campaign for leader of the free world.
“The minute you’re coined a billionaire in this country, everyone just takes everything you say as gospel. You can say no wrong,” Sacca said. “And that’s why we see Trump skating in. He says asinine things and everyone says ‘well, he’s a successful business guy.’ Cuban has all of that, but is not an idiot.”
So if we factor in a massive Trump flop this fall, and the Republican Party still trying to stitch itself together in the aftermath come 2020, then we’ll get two terms of Hillary Clinton.
Cuban 2024?Full Story
As Jason noted this morning in Leading Off, legendary writer Blackie Sherrod passed away yesterday afternoon. I remember reading his “Scattershooting” column in the Morning News when I was a kid, and while that was great, it was only a little bit of what Sherrod did. For a little more, here is “A Legend In His Own Mind,” which not too long ago appeared on our list of the 40 Greatest Stories in D Magazine history.Full Story
When the son of noted local journalist Bert Shipp unveiled his big “What the Rangers DON’T want you to KNOW about their new stadium deal” report, alleging that the team is screwing over Arlington taxpayers to the tune of $300 million, I was skeptical. On the one hand, I was inclined to believe a sports franchise would scheme to shake some change out of Arlington residents’ pockets. On the other, Shipp the Lesser was involved. By some accounts, he’s a nice guy. By more accounts, he is a puffed-up blowhard who is regularly, almost habitually, on the wrong side of history. Was this Rangers story yet another time Shipp — who has worn Oakleys with a Croakies strap on them on camera, like he hosts a local fishing show — was wrong?
According to this Jeff Mosier jeans-punching, VERY MUCH YES. Nutshelling: Shipp suggested that Arlington taxpayers would end up shouldering 80 percent of the $1 billion load. Mosier’s math isn’t definite either, but
it’s possible that Arlington residents will pay for about 30 percent of the stadium, even when factoring in the parking and ticket taxes.
Read the whole thing, because it’s full of so much delicious (and correct, and necessary) side eye. Love you, Jeff.Full Story
Double Murder in McKinney. Police say 50-year-old Kelley Eugene Bigham shot his estranged wife, Karen Bigham, and her twin, Kathy Boobar. The Binghams’ college-age daughter saw the murders. Early this morning, Kelley got to wear the towel for his mugshot at the Collin County jail.
Rangers! The lead to the Baltimore Sun’s story about last night’s game here at Globe Life: “The Orioles’ 4-3 loss to the Texas Rangers on Monday night seemed to sting a little more than most defeats …”
James Ragland Says Susan Hawk Should Step Down. It pained him. He didn’t want to do it. The DMN columnist is much more comfortable operating in a wishy-washy world where there’s always something on one hand and another on the other. But even Ragland came out and said that the DA should resign.
Kroger Reveals ClickList Stores. You order online. You pick up your groceries curbside. And now you know which stores will offer the service. My assessment of the locations: Kroger likes the northern burbs.Full Story
Do you enjoy drinking drinks and listening to spirited discussions about some of the most significant issues facing Dallas today? You do? Then why weren’t you at Tuesday evening’s “Happy Hour With an Agenda” here at D Magazine World Headquarters?
You missed your chance to hear City Councilman Philip Kingston, CitySquare CEO Larry James, Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance president and CEO Cindy Crain, and Ikenna Mogbo of Metrocare Services talk about which top prospects the Texas Rangers should select in tonight’s MLB Draft — kidding, no, of course their conversation focused on the difficulties of humanely and effectively aiding the city’s homeless population.
Never fear: You can feel like you were there by viewing the Periscope video. You’ll have to provide your own beer, however.
If you’d like not to be left out of future opportunities to attend events like this, sign up for an email alert right this way.Full Story
Jamie Thompson is a contributing editor to D Magazine. You might remember the Susan Hawk cover story she did for us. She has written a piece for Texas Monthly that you need to read. It’s about 10,000 words long, so don’t pop over and think you can knock it out in a couple minutes. Find the time to read the whole thing.
“When the River Rises” is the gripping tale of the Wimberley flood last year. This is the first time Jonathan McComb has told the story about the night he went floating down the swollen Blanco River in the middle of the night, in a house. Eight people in that house with him died that night, including his wife and two children. It’s hard to imagine what he went through. Jamie does a wonderful job of describing it. And there are important lessons to be learned about the lack of flood warning systems and how people build on the banks of the Blanco.Full Story
That big phallus-looking thing in the photo above is Washington, D.C.’s Washington Monument, as seen from the hotel where the Society of American Business Editors and Writers just hours ago wrapped up its 53rd annual conference. The three-day get-together was held partly to recognize the best U.S. business journalism done in 2015, and North Texas figured in the meeting in a few ways.
Thomas E. Perez, the labor secretary under President Barack Obama, gave a keynote talk and praised Dallas’ Southwest Airlines—in contrast to its competitors—for what it pays some of its workers. Irving-based ExxonMobil didn’t fare as well. A news outfit called InsideClimate News was a finalist in SABEW’s Best in Business competition for its series about Exxon’s “shift from a champion of climate science to climate-change denier.”
And—oh yeah—yours truly accepted D CEO ‘s General Excellence award for magazines with circulations up to 100,000. (Bloomberg Businessweek snagged the other top mag award, for circulations over 100,000.) The recognition was a major shout-out to the 2015 D CEO staff—including Christine Perez, Hilary Lau, Matt Goodman, Lauren DeLozier, and Hamilton Hedrick—who all worked their rears off to make it happen. Now, if I hadn’t sworn off booze in 1982, I’d head over toward the big monument to get drunk and celebrate.Full Story
From the announcement: “DallasNews.com and SportsDayDFW.com on Tuesday moved to a metered model that will allow local digital consumers to read 10 free articles in a 30-day period. Once that limit is hit, readers can either purchase a digital subscription or wait for the 30-day clock to reset. Or, you know, they can simply clear their cookies.” Last sentence added by me for clarification. In all sincerity, though, I hope it works.Full Story
Last weekend, voters in McKinney approved a bond that will fund a nearly $63 million high school football stadium, and national press outlets have taken note. At that price, it would be the most expensive in the country, supplanting the troubled Allen ISD ball yard.
Today’s nomination goes to a Forbes contributor, Maury Brown. He writes:
This all gets back to keeping up with the Jones’. McKinney may be the biggest Taj Mahal high school football stadium now, but only a fool would think that there isn’t already boosters from other areas trying to mount a charge to get theirs built. Everything is bigger in Texas… including stadium envy.
Pray this newfound trend doesn’t gain a foothold outside the state. Imagine what the response from the state that prides itself on saying, “don’t mess with Texas” might be.
Over the weekend, writing from his home in Houston, Manny Fernandez of the New York Times speculated about what makes Texas so Texas:
Before he was elected in 2014, Sid Miller, the Texas agriculture commissioner, traveled the state using an unofficial campaign slogan supplied to him by his campaign treasurer, the rocker and conservative provocateur Ted Nugent: Keep Texas “the last best place.”
The notion of Texas as the best place, the exceptional place, is an old one. In his 1961 book about Texas, John Bainbridge described the state as “a mirror in which Americans see themselves reflected, not life-size but, as in a distorting mirror, bigger than life.” He called the book “The Super-Americans.”Full Story
Yes, I am highly skeptical of the complaints reported by right-wing news site Breitbart, that Dallas Morning News reporter Lauren McGaughy is “stalking” staffers of the state attorney general’s office and their families in pursuit of her work on how AG Ken Paxton continued to pay a couple of ex-staffers months after they left their government jobs.
I am highly skeptical, but these claims go so over-the-top that they veer into the realm of pure entertainment, and so I pass them on:
“ This is insane. It’s like she is stalking us. She is waiting outside of both public and private buildings to demand that we answer her questions,” said the high level staffer who spoke with Breitbart Texas on the condition of remaining unnamed. “We feel stalked by her.”
Indeed, a quick search of the writer’s name and her coverage of the Texas Attorney General shows that she forced a cancer survivor to reveal private personal health information when she went after former First Assistant Attorney General Chip Roy for being on leave.
The staffer went further and told Breitbart Texas, “The Dallas Morning News reporter has called spouses of AG staff, the offspring of AG staff, and a sibling of AG staff. In one instance, another top level staff member was outside of the Attorney General’s office building on a phone call with someone who had just lost their spouse. The reporter came up yelling and demanding that he speak with her. He was on a private phone call.”
Several sources in the office gave the impression that they are fully expecting to get home and have a rabbit boiling in a pot on their stoves at some point. Another source in the office told Breitbart Texas, “Is this reporter going to start showing up at our homes? At the schools where we pick up our children? How far will the Dallas Morning News allow her to go?”
When someone from NYC-based Thrillist asked me who should write an essay for them about how Dallas really is a cosmopolitan city, I said, “Man, that’s a really tall order. Striking the right tone, not coming across as defensive, having a sense of humor — there just aren’t too many people here who could pull that off.” Mark Lamster was my first thought. Since moving here from New York, that guy has fallen head over heels in love with Dallas. I was walking through downtown the other day and ran into him. We stopped and had a conversation on a sidewalk within eyesight of the Robert Jeffress Fountain. Lamster went on and on about how much he digs Dallas and how it’s so much better than New York. He was so effusive that I almost felt embarrassed for him.
Anyway, I figured Lamster was too busy to write the essay, so I suggested Zac. He did a fine job.Full Story
Cowboys Select Ezekiel Elliott. With the fourth pick in this year’s NFL draft, Dallas took the Ohio State running back. Reviews of the decision are mixed, with some suggesting they should have gone with Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey instead. The Cowboys also tried — and failed — to trade up to get another first-round pick with which to select Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch as Tony Romo’s heir.
Dallas ISD Votes to Buy New Headquarters. The $46.5 million purchase was approved by board trustees in the earliest hour of Friday morning. The building, at 9400 N. Central Expressway, will consolidate the district’s headquarters and 15 other offices in one place. DISD anticipates the change will produce tens of millions of dollars in savings by 2021. Trustees were divided on the matter, which got the go-ahead on a 5-3 vote. Trustees Bernadette Nutall, Joyce Foreman, and Lew Blackburn opposed the purchase, expressing concerns about how it’s being funded and about the district headquarters moving six miles north of its current relatively central location. Some employees could be relocated to what’s being called the Dallas ISD Education by the end of the year, with the entire moving process taking about four years.
Blackie Sherrod, RIP. Sherrod, who died of natural causes at age 96 on Thursday afternoon, is being remembered as “the greatest Texas sportswriter of his generation.”Full Story