God bless those busy bees over at the East Valley Tribune.
These days no one's got time for massive enterprise projects -- and we mean no one! Some times we're jumping on news so fast, we feel like we're literally going to keel over from the sheer insanity of journalism in the Internet age.
But the Pulitzer Prize-winning Trib, despite massive cutbacks and a heightened focus on local coverage, has just done it again: Reporters Ryan Gabrielson and Michelle Reese unveiled a giant project Saturday, Rigged Privilege, probing Arizona's use of tax credits to give scholarships to private-school students.
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You can check out their work in a lovely online package here -- new installments are scheduled to be posted as the week continues. (The Trib no longer has a daily edition, so you'll have plenty of time to digest their findings while you wait for the next installment, which is due to go online tomorrow.)
Now, we'd love to summarize all their findings for you, but we've been so busy working on our own stuff, we haven't had time to read it yet. But here's what they promise to report: "The tuition tax credits law was supposed to revolutionize school choice for disadvantaged children. Instead it fostered a rigged system that keeps private education a privilege for the already privileged."
Sounds juicy! -- and suspiciously like a story the Republic rolled out on Saturday. Do you think the town's biggest daily caught wind of what its scrappy little competitor had been working on?
Finally, one sad little fact: This may well be the last such project of this size we see from the Tribune. And that's because its co-author, Ryan Gabrielson, is about to leave Arizona for a fellowship at Berkeley. Gabrielson, not coincidentally, was the lead writer on the paper's Pulitzer-winning series last year -- and one of the few writers at the Trib who does enterprise work these days.