Who the Morning News Should Hire as a Metro Columnist (For Real, This Time)

I swear.

OK, yesterday, as I do, I used the opportunity that arose when the Dallas Morning News more or less lost all of its Metro columnists (save Robert Wilonsky, with an asterisk) to do my head-fake, wait-it’s-just-dog-names thing. But I felt like we probably should really talk about whom the paper should hire to fill that void, because it is actually, in a way, a great chance to remake the paper.

I don’t have a specific name. If you do, feel free to drop it in the comments. I do have a type of writer I would like to see. To begin with, an actual writer. Someone who  doesn’t use one-sentence paragraphs, who leaves me with a line that sticks in my head, who can think and express those thoughts with an economy of language. It is kind of sad this needs to be said, but it does.

It’s OK if that person is an occasional talking head. That’s the nature of the media landscape these days. But the column should be the focus. I want someone who does real reporting. That doesn’t mean one phone call, although that maybe is a step up. Someone with sources. Someone who leaves their desk and goes to see what they’re writing about. That did happen on occasion — when I ran for mayor, for example, Steve Blow came over to my house to interview me — but not nearly often enough. If Wilonsky is handling City Hall business, OK, fine, but there is plenty of other territory left to explore. I want someone who has a take, but a take that is informed by their first-hand reporting. Not just to be contrary or for a good headline.

Ideally, this person would not be white and/or a man. I guess I would settle for just hitting one of those marks. Under 40 would be nice, too. Someone from here or who has lived here more than a few years. Someone who loves the city, but not blindly. Would it kill them to have a sense of humor, too? I hope not.

Maybe the paper will just forego columnists and let their reporters write the occasional column. It seems like they have been exploring that, and if that’s the case, it’s a bad idea based on the small sample size. Mike Wilson has a chance to make a great hire here and reshape his newspaper. I hope he doesn’t blow it.


  • bill holston

    how about: Jenny Manrique, very impressed with her. Or Courtney Collins from KERA. Great question Zac.

  • topham

    Alice Laussade

    • For most writers, swearing is a crutch. That’s not true for Alice. She’s one of the funniest (and swear-iest) writers in Dallas. I’m conflicted about having to clean her up when D Magazine publishes her work. The DMN would sanitize even further. So not a great choice, IMO.

      • topham

        Oh, just shut the eff up, TimmyTyperPantiesInAWad.

  • Bizarro BigTex

    Barrett Brown. Think about it.

    • Barrett could never write paragraphs short enough for the DMN. Also, I think his Pursuance Project is occupying most of his non-video-game-playing time.


    “Ideally, this person would not be white and/or a man.” If this is such a significant issue to you, why don’t you give up your position for a female POC?

    • @zaccrain


      • PJCTX

        But my man, you want everyone to know how woke you are. Come on, practice what you preach!

        • @zaccrain

          their only columnist now is a middle aged white guy. there should be a different voice in addition to that. if you disagree, ok, but you’re wrong.

          ‘my man’ lol

          • PJCTX

            Folks just need to hire the best, most qualified people. We step back when we discriminate, no matter the form. And the “voice” doesn’t change because of skin tone or gender. Background, experiences, different economic circumstances, perhaps.

          • @zaccrain

            i don’t 100 percent disagree with that. i said ideally. but i do think the voice changes. anyway.

  • RAB

    I was going to say Marty Cortland, but he’s white. And over 40. And not a chance he would do any actual reporting, or deign to call anyone (except to coordinate drinks). But depending on who’s reading, he can be funny.

  • Philip Kingston

    So, Angela Hunt, then?

    • Hunt would have to take quite a pay cut to work for the DMN.

      • Philip Kingston

        Columnist is a full-time job?

  • @zaccrain

    metro columnists are the face of the paper so yes i was serious

  • Gavin Mulloy

    Gavin, cuz the comment fights would be flame emoji x3

    • Doyle Rader

      Now this is a great choice.

    • @zaccrain

      if it has to be a white guy i absolutely support this

  • PeterTx52

    “Ideally, this person would not be white and/or a man.”
    okay then we’re looking for a physically-challenged person of color transgendered DACA liberal
    I think that covers all the bases

    • @zaccrain


  • mrEmannE

    Vicki Meek. If she could stand the rats.