This roundup of Dallas city news has two items related to transparency: one about online crime reports, the other about helicopter surveillance. There's good news for West Dallas residents but bad news if you like gender parity in your media.
Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
Online crime info
The Dallas Police Department is redacting certain information from its crime reporting online, which they say is to protect information on victims and preserve the integrity of investigations.
Other cities have taken similar steps. But this is not sitting well with city council member Cara Mendelsohn or the Dallas Morning News, who are both on a crusade.
Mendelsohn, who sniffed that this "might be for other cities ... but not for Dallas," thinks it should be up for discussion. The DMN doesn't like that it will make their jobs harder.
Some DMN staffers even found themselves working on the weekend to cover the topic, an occurrence so meaningful (and rare) that they put it in a pinned tweet.
An anonymous source leaked 600 hours of surveillance footage taken by police helicopters and drones, which included footage from police departments in Dallas and Atlanta.
The footage was posted on a site called DDoSecrets, whose cofounder said that the data was stored in an unsecured cloud and they didn't know the identity of the source.
According to Courthouse News, the video from Dallas' helicopter footage includes crimes in progress and surveillance linked to ongoing investigations, but also innocuous footage such as shots of crowds at the State Fair of Texas.
Concrete plant gets rejected
At its November 10 meeting, the Dallas City Council said no to a concrete batch plant trying to open in West Dallas.
Latino's Ready Mix had been in business at 1001 W. Commerce St. near Sylvan Avenue for years, but in 2019 it was told it had to move.
The formerly industrial neighborhood has more than a dozen concrete batch plants, but has become gentrified in recent years.
Latino's Ready Mix was handed a "denial with prejudice," which means they can't come back and make another request for two years.
Men rule, go men
The Dallas Morning News does not present well in a report on male dominance in the news media.
Called "Divided 2021: The Media Gender Gap," the report by the Women’s Media Center evaluated 30 news outlets in the U.S. including print, online, broadcast, cable TV, and wire, from January 1-March 31, 2021. Among those were 14 major daily newspapers, including the DMN.
Overall, across all media platforms, men get 65 percent of news bylines and credits, versus 34 percent for women. Print is worse. Online media (like CultureMap) is better:
- Print: 69 percent men and 31 percent women
- Online: 57 percent men, 43 percent women
At the Dallas Morning News, it's even worse, with 73 percent of the bylines going to men and 27 percent to women.
The only place where it's 50-50 is TV nightly news shows, because you need a pretty lady to look at. But in other media, where you can't see whether the female writer is attractive or not, everyone knows there's nothing more reassuring than the authoritative voice of a man, whereas women come off like nagging shrews.