Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Editorial: Can You Hear Me Now?

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Editorial: Can You Hear Me Now?

Article excerpt

As if it were not enough that the journalists and operations staff worked so heroically to make The Times-Picayune a beacon of information and hope when Hurricane Katrina rained destruction and chaos on New Orleans, the world now knows that three years ago the newspaper predicted with chilling accuracy the horrors that awaited the city if local and federal authorities maintained their carelessly planned and underfunded defenses against a big hurricane.

But the masterful series "Washing Away," by John McQuaid and Mark Schleifstein, suffered the fate of so many newspaper investigative projects these days. The local, state and federal authorities responsible for safeguarding the people of the Gulf Coast murmured some excuses and some feeble reassurances, but did nothing. The newspaper won a fistful of journalism awards, and that was about it.

There are one, two, many "Washing Away" newspaper investigative projects that have been delivered to America's doorstep in just the past few months -- and it is time for civil authorities to take these warnings to heart.

Stricken Gulf Coast victims of Katrina should be aware that back in April, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel discovered that "government inspectors entrusted to enter disaster victims' homes and verify damage claims include criminals with records for embezzlement, drug dealing, and robbery."

On the West Coast, the Seattle Post- Intelligencer has documented the increased danger of a catastrophic oil spill because the oil companies that dispatch huge tankers filled with nearly 40 million gallons of oil have been able to undermine, ignore, or simply violate regulations imposed after the Exxon Valdez spill. …

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