Dear Friend Whose Help We Really Need,
The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, a regular collaborator with DigBoston, started in 2015 as a grassroots operation with no university affiliation or guardian angel. Against the odds, we have raised about $200,000 in the time since—roughly 60 percent from grants and foundations, and the rest from more than two dozen revenue streams, from parties and concerts to sustaining donations. Our founders still work as volunteers, and the bulk of the money we’ve raised has gone to paying more than 60 freelance media makers a respectable rate for their hard work (we still can’t pay as much as we would like to, but we’re at least competitive by most comparisons to major city media shops of any size).
Which is why BINJ needs your help. We are working tirelessly to secure major long-term funding that will eventually make us a much bigger employer and media force, but for now we are still scraping by on monthly gifts from Medium subscribers and other small donations. Unfortunately, the threat of Donald Trump has scared several media philanthropists to withdraw from local and state markets and shift all their weight to fund national coverage. Our only hope is that people like you, who live and work and eat in the communities that we engage and cover, realize how shortsighted that kind of thinking is, and contribute as much as you possibly can.
Chris Faraone, Editorial Director
10 REASONS BINJ NEEDS YOUR HELP RIGHT AWAY
1 – We are the producing the only journalism about critical environmental stories across Massachusetts—from a compromised nuclear reactor on Cape Cod to encroaching natural gas pipelines in Western Mass—reaching the metropolitan Boston area. This requires our reporters to travel as well as significant security precautions in some cases.
2 – Our columns don’t pay for themselves. From Broken Records, which impugns failures in transparency and public information, to the bold approach to cannabis reporting in The Tokin’ Truth, to Terms of Service and its unique focus on hospitality workers, to Apparent Horizon navigating activist spaces with robust institutional memory, to diverse guest contributors, BINJ has the most eclectic opinion roster in Boston.
3 – We have an awesome ongoing project called Rolling Along as Long as It Lasts, which is a series of profiles and interviews from inside the Massachusetts Department of Correction. All coordinated and written by Arnie King, who has occupied a Massachusetts prison cell for the past 45 years, and focuses on the lack of commutations being granted to exceptional and deserving individuals who are aging in the state’s overcrowded prison system.
4 – We currently have a monthly community access television show (Beyond Boston) and a biweekly radio show (Local Edition: The BINJ Report) that showcase lots of the reporting produced in our journalism network and exposes content to audiences that consume news via TV and podcasts.
5 – In addition to helping gaps that exist from the long-form journalism space to City Hall and State House coverage, BINJ is also responding to the dreadful lack of meaningful culture and arts coverage with things like an invigorated attention on visual arts and a collaborative project with a startup urban music site to profile musicians as well as the communities they come from.
6 – BINJ strives to shine a different kind of light on topics that are being covered routinely and uncritically—from projects related to mundane municipal matters and invisible social justice issues to CONDEMBTA, a photojournalism feature with an integrated public discussion and art show. Billed as a “Conversation and Exhibit about Public Transportation Infrastructure and Priorities in Greater Boston,” the initiative turns a new lens on a continuing problem.
7 – Other than Spare Change, which is one of our most frequent collaborators, there is barely any coverage of homelessness and housing insecurity in Greater Boston. BINJ has made addressing this large and forgotten group of people and their struggles a priority, and so far this year we’ve already taken deep dives into subsidized housing in the suburbs and youth LGBTQ homelessness. It is extremely difficult to find funding for covering housing and poverty from the foundations in Boston whose board members operate the very same companies that are driving development and gentrification.
8 – We have had a team of more than 10 media makers over the past several months producing an elaborate multimedia series on bicycle safety and street infrastructure. Multiple contributions are in the process of being streamlined and edited, and will be distributed through BINJ partners over the coming months via long-form features (print and online), videos (TV and web), radio, and social media posts, including daily 360 helmet cam clips filmed biking through Boston’s gnarliest intersections.
9 – The general support for more investigative journalism that so many Americans are calling for since the election of President Trump isn’t reaching the local level—even though operations like ours and many others nationwide that we network with are the ones who are training researchers and writers who will in innumerable cases graduate to covering the federal government.
10 – Despite the fact that state and local pols in places like Mass are operating under far less scrutiny than before Trump began sucking all the air out of newsrooms, there are less and less resources available for those who are determined to cover the critical state and community stories on the ground. Please help charge up our journalistic batteries so we can plug more of the holes. We need the boost now more than ever.
WAYS YOU CAN GIVE
1 – This one is the best for us, and it’s pretty awesome for you too. Become a Reporter Supporter on Medium for as little as $3/month. These sustaining gifts keep us going, and you’ll get access to our Throwback BINJ posts.
3 – You can write us a check the old-fashioned way and send it to: Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, P.O. Box 51583, Boston, MA 02205.
4 – You can contribute to our Indiegogo campaign to support our multimedia look at cycling safety and infrastructure in Greater Boston.
5 – You can directly support the talented radio journalist and engineer Dave Goodman, who dedicates a remarkable amount of time to producing Local Edition: The BINJ Report and incorporating BINJ reports.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.