Media Reporter

City officials sure know how to use the press. Back in early June the Dallas News ran a copyrighted story one Sunday that reported a hiring freeze had been placed on the police and fire department because of a projected deficit this year in public safety funds. Reporters James Ewell and Henry Tatum sniffed out the story from middle-level sources in the police and city manager’s office hierarchy. Seems that Police Chief Donald Byrd and City Mgr. George Schrader had come to the conclusion that they would have to freeze hiring, but didn’t want to be the ones to say so, for fear of incurring the city council’s wrath and the ire of the community – particularly the minority segments. So, the story was leaked and the ball hit over into the council’s court. Byrd and Schrader both weakly denied that a freeze was on and put the onus on the council to come up with the deficit money to prevent the non-existent hiring freeze.

The hiring of former Dallas Police Chief Frank Dyson to head the Texas Organized Crime Council brought some confused looks from the Dallas press corps. Somebody did some checking and sure enough, there in the old clippings, was a story quoting Dyson as saying that he couldn’t find any vestiges of organized crime in Dallas. This was back a few years ago, so maybe organized crime has come into Texas since Dyson was a policeman?

A rumor rattling around puts some heavy SMU alums in the office of News executive editor Tom Simmons recently, asking that sports writer Steve Pate be pulled off the SMU beat for fear that he will expose something rotten on the hill. Simmons reportedly listened politely to their requests. After they left, he told sports editor Walt Robertson to leave Pate right where he is, and let the chips fall where they may.

Times Herald Publisher Tom Johnson has ordered all his journalistic staff to make full disclosures of their outside free-lance work. The order stems from a recent incident in which a Herald staffer was caught using the paper’s computerized typesetter to set type for a small suburban newspaper. The staffer was asked to resign.


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