Our apologies to WFAA's Brett Shipp. After a lengthy run as our favorite local investigative TV journalist -- occasionally prone to hyperbole, sure, but a fantastic reporter with the proper evening-news mix of charm and obnoxiousness -- he has been displaced. That coveted spot in our heart now goes to CBS 11's Mireya Villareal.
Villareal is a relative newcomer to the Dallas media market, but she appeared on our radar early in her tenure when her sleuthing revealed that there is sex on the Internet and that Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings enjoys fine wine.
Last night she delivered another hard-charging report, this one revealing that Dallas PD's godawful new computer system was purchased from Unisys, one of the companies that may have paid bribes to John Wiley Price.[jump]
Villareal's piece raises legit questions about why the city would have paid $7.4 million for a police-records system with a well-documented history of being awful when an apparently less awful system was available from Fort Worth-based Indico for $2 million less.
See also: CBS I-Team Discovers Sex on the Internet
But let's break down last night's report and see if merits the splashy I-Team treatment it was given. We'll start with the first sentence. Online, reads like this:
Problems piling up for Dallas' police patrol cars.
Incomplete sentence. Immediately grabs attention. Solid. Moving on.
Now, the CBS 11 I-team has uncovered, the company that was hired to update the computers inside those city cars can be tied back to indicted County Commissioner John Wiley Price.
Here, Villareal alludes to her story from last week detailing the problems with DPD's new records system, which was largely a rehash of a story broken by WFAA's Tanya Eiserer three months ago. Her mastery of the TV journalism standby of not properly crediting your competitor is impressive. It's probably a coincidence that City Councilman Philip Kingston uncovered the same information on his Facebook page last week.
CBS 11 I-Team Investigative Reporter Mireya Villarreal tracked down John Wiley Price after Dallas County Commissioner's Court Tuesday in an effort to talk with him about Unisys Corp. He played it off like he didn't remember the company.
But the thing is, back in 2008, Price sat on the county technology committee that hired Unisys Corp. to handle the inmate phone services at the jail.
"You don't remember working with Unisys back a few years ago on a county contract," Villarreal asked.
"Could have," Price quickly responded.
"You don't remember seeing them in your indictment at all," Villarreal followed up.
Price answered, "I haven't read it."
"You haven't read the indictment," Villarreal said.
"I haven't read them," Priced added before driving away.
By now, footage of Price refusing to answer questions while being trailed to an SUV that shares his face isn't worth the digits it's recorded in if the reporter doesn't get punched in the face. Nice effort though.
If the name Unisys sounds familiar to you - It could be because of a story the CBS 11 I-Team did last week. In it, Investigative Reporter Mireya Villarreal explained how Unisys was awarded a contract with the City of Dallas to handle the police department's records management system.
Or it could be because Unisys is one of the companies alleged to have paid bribes to John Wiley Price, a fact reported by basically everyone more than a month ago. Strangely, one of the people reporting this more than a month ago was Villareal herself, meaning that she simply forgot she'd reported on the Price indictment or that she intentionally didn't mention that the revelation was stale to make last night's piece more dramatic.
TV investigative journalism is the best.