compounds Morning News’ mischaracterization of Pleasant Grove and Southeast Dallas

I was recently introduced to the Dallas Morning News’ foray into the community web space at I’m not here to say whether it’s good or bad, but I did want to share an observation that I made while looking through how they were covering Dallas.

At the top of the page, there are three steps to customize news delivery, starting with “pick a community.” When you click the arrow there you get a drop down menu with municipalities spread across a range of counties throughout North Texas. There are a number of communities covered by Dallas, such as Dallas – Bluffview, Dallas – North Oak Cliff, Dallas – M Streets, Dallas – South Oak Cliff, Dallas – Park Cities, and others.

There’s a lot of meat here. and I’ll probably chew over it and see what I can spit out over the next few weeks, but for now, I’ll concentrate on what I saw as an awful omission – or so I thought. I wondered where were the Southeast Dallas communities. That would obviously start with the largest of the bunch, Pleasant Grove, but also include areas like Piedmont, Buckner Terrrace, Urbandale/Parkdale.

I scrolled down and then right under Plano – W. Plano I saw PLEASANT GROVE. Now that was strange. North Oak Cliff….Dallas, South Dallas….Dallas, Lake Highlands…..Dallas, Pleasant Grove……not.

Rawlins Gilliland has been on the Dallas Morning News about this for some time now, and while it can sometimes seem like he’s being a stickler about what makes up Southeast Dallas I agree with him that Pleasant Grove shouldn’t be used as a panacea term.

Why is it that we accept Lakewood, Lake Highlands, and the M Streets as separate entities, but not Pleasant Grove, Piedmont, and Buckner Terrace? But even more troubling is that Pleasant Grove is out on an island, separated from the rest of the city.

I’ve admitted that Southeast Dallas has been a true weakness in my understanding of our city. You could drop me in nearly any neighborhood in Dallas and Collin County and I could find my way home. But if you told me that a million dollars was waiting for me at Spruce or Samuell High School right now, I couldn’t get there without the aid of GPS.

I thought that the Morning News’ North-South Gap project missed an opportunity to educate Dallas residents about the distinct communities in Southeast Dallas. And even if they didn’t feel the need to go there, at least they could ensure that all Dallas Morning News properties use proper identification of this area.

In some of the “Community” articles in the paper, you’ll see people in the same story being listed from “Dallas” “Dallas” “Coppell” and “Pleasant Grove.” How can one person be from Dallas and another from Pleasant Grove? If one is from Pleasant Grove, then the others should be listed by neighborhood as well for consistency sake.

Anyway, I’ve really been enlightened by finding out more about my own city and the different characteristics of areas like Pemberton Hills, Parkdale, and Piedmont. Rawlins actually road me around one day and gave me a unique look at the Trinity Forest and varied topography of Southeast Dallas. While I personally had a good understanding of what constituted Pleasant Grove, I hadn’t a clue about most of the other communities or the unique charm that defines them.

At the very least, can move Pleasant Grove up with rest of Dallas. We’ll save Southeast Dallas and breaking down the neighborhoods for another day.

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