Sometimes I wonder if everyone truly understands the history and lessons of the original Metropolitan Area Projects, which without a doubt have transformed downtown into the success story it is today.
I’m proud of the role reporters played in that story. I’m not boasting about my own efforts – I’m talking about the collective efforts of a group of reporters that included Melissa Gandall at KTOK, Alex Cameron at KWTV, myself and Jack Money at The Oklahoman, and Holly Bailey at The Gazette. I believe we gave MAPS the coverage it deserved. We asked critical questions, we scrutinized plans and budgets, and we did stories that weren’t always popular with those leading the projects.
But look back. I’m pleading with a specific group of people like Jim Couch, Jim Thompson and others who were in the battle at this moment of time. What if no one critically questioned the location of the library? What if no one questioned having the Bricktown Canal broken into three segments instead of two? What if no one forced a serious introspective look at financial analysis and planning for the projects? What if no one ever questioned motives and agendas?
No, it wasn’t easy on one’s pride. Not everyone in leadership agreed with the coverage. But some of this town’s best journalists (I credit where I am today from having learned from the others) were free to do their jobs, unhampered, with their judgment, and not the judgment of those who had an interest in the stories’ outcome, crafting and molding coverage day to day.
Did all of this coverage diminish from the MAPS success story? And is this part of the MAPS story relevant to today?