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Hooper: Hillsborough School District's water testing reveals journalism's value

There are so many takeaways from the Tampa Bay Times story on the Hillsborough County School District testing for lead in its schools' water systems. Certainly, the district's decision to wait a year before revealing high lead levels to parents raises concerns. But here's another one.

In the piece, finely reported by a team headed by reporters Corey Johnson and Marlene Sokol, deputy superintendent for operations Chris Farkas said the district's decision to test for lead was prompted in part by an initial inquiry by the Times.

That testing likely will result in cleaner water and healthier students. Hopefully, a looming crisis will be averted. And, the efforts of Johnson and Sokol will have helped spark the positive change.

As journalists, this is what we do — strive to make a positive difference in the lives of people. Think about that the next time someone tells you the news media is the enemy of the people. …

Seen on a bumper sticker: 13.1 — Because I'm Only Half Crazy. …

Some supporters at the University of South Florida want to see the school build a 30,000-seat on-campus football stadium. The Rays are bidding to build a 30,000-seat baseball stadium.

Clearly, different agendas, but I wonder if there's a chance for a collaborative effort. What the Bulls would lose in not being on campus could be made up playing games in the heart of a thriving entertainment district. …

A guy campaigning for a Congressional candidate trudged through the rain to visit my home and share his enthusiasm about his choice. At the risk of having everybody knock on my door, I'll concede it won me over. In an age of television ads, mailers and social media posts, handshakes and earnest conversation still matter.

That's all I'm saying.

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