I’m sure you probably already realize this, since you are spending your valuable time reading us right now instead of all the garbage on your social media feeds (@DigBoston excluded, of course), but I have to say it anyway—a lot of content that you come across in the alternative and independent media, from national progressive giants like Mother Jones and the Nation to community newspapers and blogs or enduring alt weeklies like us and more than 100 similar outfits nationwide, is not only more entertaining than what passes for mainstream journalism these days but a heck of a lot more journalistic as well. It had to be said, because stories like our feature about Boston Latin School this week deserve to be considered seriously whether or not bigger outlets decide to piggyback the revelations herein. But about the feature itself: Around a year ago, when I helped start the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism to bolster investigative reporting in the Dig and other indie outlets, Nate Boroyan approached me with a pitch about a young woman with special needs who was apparently forced out of Boston Latin School, the city’s (and perhaps even the country’s) most esteemed public high school. Though about one family in particular, the story touched a number of critical issues—from segregation and inclusion in our public ed system to the way special needs students are treated everywhere. Since we began reporting—a grueling process during which the City of Boston and Boston Public Schools attempted to jerk us around on Freedom of Information Act requests—BLS has come under considerable fire for allegedly failing to deal with racism on campus in a responsible manner. Anybody following that coverage will probably notice a number of similarities between the plight of the main character in Nate’s story and that of other marginalized BLS students who have recently spoken up about these issues. The Dig and BINJ are proud to support the kind of journalism that takes months to produce, and this is a prime example of what reporters can accomplish when they have the resources to watch a story unfold over time. Finally, if you personally have something to say about any of this article or any other, we always appreciate tips for follow-up coverage, and we also encourage people to check the online version of Nate’s feature at DigBoston.com, where we included an interactive ‘Action Box’ at the end where readers can carry on the conversation.
Chris Faraone, News + Features Editor