When City Paper interviewed
ACLU of Michigan investigative journalist Curt Guyette, we credited him with "breaking the story" on Flint's water crisis. Nothing unusual there; most media outlets have done the same
, because Guyette was in fact the guy who first publicized the key info on how the state-appointed emergency managers of that financially distressed city effectively poisoned many of its 100,000 residents with lead-laced water for months on end, all while trying to cover it up.
But at last night's "From Flint ... To Your Faucet" event, at Point Park University, Guyette himself gave primary credit for the story to others.
"The driving force throughout the whole thing were the residents who refused to believe their water was safe," he said. He repeatedly credited LeeAnne Walters
, the Flint woman who played perhaps the biggest role in pushing authorities to admit that the smelly brown water coming out of the town's faucets was, in fact, toxic.
And while Guyette didn't let the feds off the hook in the crisis ("The EPA did a horrible job on this
," he said), he gave credit to "unsung hero" Miguel Del Toral
, an EPA water expert who raised early alarms about Flint's water. Part of Del Toral's achievement, Guyette noted, was simply taking residents' complaints seriously — something he says was the key to his own role in making Flint one of the year's biggest stories.
The event, at which Point Park also touted its new B.A. program in environmental journalism, was held at the campus' GRW Theater. It was sponsored by the Point Park News Service, The Press Club of Western Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, the Women's Press Club of Pittsburgh, and the Heinz Endowments.