As floodwaters threatened California’s Oroville Dam this month, an editorial team hundreds of miles away in Denver gathered to discuss the danger.
As in many newsrooms nationwide, the staffers were looking for a local angle.
Never mind that they worked for Denver Water, the public utility that serves 1.4 million people in and around Colorado’s largest city. They approached the news as journalists might, wondering how safe Denver Water’s 20 dams were, a question that surely had occurred to others in the Mile High City.
Denver Water published the story, “How safe are Denver Water’s dams?” on its new brand journalism website, “Tap.” The story—along with a follow-up—quoted a dam safety engineer who reassured readers that he and five others continually monitor, inspect and rehabilitate the dams. In doing so, Denver Water got out ahead of any potential stories by news outlets.