DISD Wants in the News Reporting Biz? That's Like Letting Us Look After Your Kids.
Government + education + news media. Why didn't anyone think of this before?
Dallas Independent School District has some important things to tell you, stuff that doesn't get reported in the regular old media, so the district is looking at getting into the news media business, Superintendent Mike Miles said this week. Or we guess he said it. The Dallas Morning News said he did, but they're ... ugh ... old, private media. Who knows?
DISD spokesman André Riley, that's who. Buzz called him up to welcome him to the fold -- we media folk are famously collegial -- and to see if there were any tips we could give him. He said the district has just begun exploring how to expand its news offerings beyond the usual dry press releases and wants to maybe do more reporting and offer more information than standard news outlets have time or space for.
The district is very early in the process, he stressed, sounding a bit like a man who was handed a short-handled shovel last week and woke up today to find his employer had announced he was going to dig a canal.
It's a safe bet he's going to be shoveling something, anyway. But we wish Riley, Miles and DISD well. Making the public schools more like the media sounds like a surefire way to raise respect for the district, because as everyone knows if there's anything the public loves more than the educational system, it's media. It's like combining peanut butter and chocolate! Who could not love it?
In fact, DISD is a natural for today's digital media world. They offer tons of sports, the occasional crime, serve a lot of food and regularly manage to piss off hordes of people. Sports, crime, food and anger compose about 65 percent of all media traffic these days. The remainder is divided among stories about health, cats, Kardashians and nonsensical statistics, which public education generates by the truckload. (Stats, we mean. Not Kardashians -- God forbid.) Add a few ironic listicles -- Top 10 Reasons Your Dumbass Kid Can't Read -- and slideshows of cheerleaders, and their pageviews will be the envy of every outlet in town.
We started to offer some of these tips to Riley, but he pointed out that web traffic is not an issue for DISD. "We generate a lot of news, but only a portion of it gets out," he said, and the goal is to broaden the scope of information that citizens might find useful.
We didn't have the heart to tell him: We all start out that way.