The Lens will be an investigative news source and daily blog. Data-driven news stories, thoroughly researched and engagingly presented, will be complemented by daily blogs that cut to the quick. We will look behind the smoke and mirrors of big-city governance and also shine a light on key issues in communities too often ignored by elected officials. Because many area households lack consistent Internet access, The Lens will republish online content in the Neighborhood Partnership Network’s newsletter, The Trumpet and broadcast stories on partnering mainstream media networks.

Lack of accurate, in-depth information — on everything from school administration to sanitation, storm defenses to environmental rehabilitation — has hamstrung citizen and community efforts to advocate for change. Our interactive document library will provide easy access to the government documents, reports, and relevant correspondence among elected officials from which our reporting stems. One of our signature crusades, to be undertaken in collaboration with leading legal scholars and good-government groups, will be to fight in court for timely enforcement of sunshine laws guaranteeing public access to government records. The routine flouting of those laws by Louisiana officials is a scandal that can no longer be tolerated.

In addition to articles, slide shows, videos and map created by regular contributors and citizen journalists, we will regularly publish opinion pieces from outside contributors.  The Lens will launch with full news content in early 2010.