Here is an opinion piece written by Kyle Pope and arrogantly signed “The Press Corps” without actually soliciting any other signatures of journalists.
What really gets me is his fifth point “We’ll obsess over the details of government” which is simply, objectively not true. If it were true, certain artifacts would have produced and an entire category of journalism would be common because a press corps that was obsessed over the details of government would use those artifacts to easily and cheaply create certain stories that they do not create.
When you read about Flint, MI and its lead pipe problem on the web, did the site geolocate you, identifying your own water system, list out the lead pipes used there, the date when the last one is projected to be replaced, and give you the contact information of the office that can move that lead free date up? No, you didn’t because years before, nobody identified all the water systems and arranged a cheap way to regularly get their pipe inventory into a database along with the install dates and expected lifespans. That would be the mark of a press corps that was obsessed over the details of government.
That would be journalism worth paying for and the kind of story that I would like to write and see written.
Here’s what is missing to do that Flint story correctly.
Comprehensive list of all governments that operate their own water systems with contact information
List of the private water systems overseen by various government oversight bodies
Each water system’s pipe inventory with install and expected replacement dates along with type/material of pipe.
I really would love to not be building out these basic data structures. The established press, which does have the resources to do such a thing quickly, just is not interested so others have to step in.