City Paper is not for tourists
The Believer has a great interview with The Wire co-creator David Simon conducted by Nick Hornby. In explaining why he drowns viewers in unfamiliar information—like the code of the Baltimore streets—and lets them figure it out on their own, over time, Simon recalls the way his newspaper editors pushed him to write for the “average reader.” The editors had a pretty narrow definition of what that meant:
The average reader, as they meant it, was some suburban white subscriber with two-point-whatever kids and three-point-whatever cars and a dog and a cat and lawn furniture. He knows nothing and he needs everything explained to him right away, so that exposition becomes this incredible, story-killing burden. Fuck him. Fuck him to hell.
Woo! Simon has higher expectations for average. At least someone still does.