A. Swartz rightly points out that:

The way a typical US transparency project works is pretty simple. You find a government database, work hard to get or parse a copy, and then put it online with some nice visualizations. The problem is that reality doesn’t live in the databases.

Right. So we need more information. Why give up?

Then he says:

For too long we’ve been funding transparency projects on the model of if-we-build-it-they-will-come: that we don’t know what transparency will be useful for, but once it’s done it will lead to all sorts of exciting possibilities. Well, we’ve built it. And they haven’t come. The only success story its proponents can point to is that transparency projects have bred even more transparency projects. I’m done working on watchdog.net; I’m done hurting America. It’s time to give old-fashioned narrative journalism a try.

I agree. What I think, however, is that putting online databases gives everybody who could be a good, old-fashioned investigative journalist a chance to do that work. Even if they weren’t able to get hired by some old-fashioned newspaper, magazine or TV. Please read the whole story here (and here’s why I think you should)