I often use this space and time to boast about the work that we are doing at DigBoston. This is no exception, as I believe that our food, drink, and arts coverage beats all others around here—for proof, you won’t have to look further than Haley Hamilton’s Silver Dining Playbook series on hospitality industry ingenuity through the pandemic—while on the news side, we are taking on the kinds of projects that small outlets like the Dig don’t typically dive into. With financial assistance and investigative muscle from the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, we just published the most thorough examination of long-term care facility deaths in the Commonwealth to date, while next week we will drop another devastating feature on the state of our parole system in Mass. And there’s a lot more than that in the works.
But speaking of our size and overachievements, this week I am thrilled to deliver the news that we are nominated for three Association of Alternative Newsmedia awards. We may be smaller than most of the hundred or so other alt weeklies across the country, but year after year we hang with the best of them. This year, yours truly caught a nomination for best nonpolitical column, while much more importantly, two extremely gifted young reporters we worked with have also been acknowledged.
For “Unbearable Pressure,” which was nominated for best LGBT coverage, Yidan Sun covered how “For members of the Asian LGBTQ community, Boston can be solid ground for personal discovery and advocacy.” It’s a revealing and informative look at a topic that doesn’t get enough ink, and Yidan knocked it out of the park.
In our other big nom, Jenny Rollins was acknowledged for “The Longest Trip” in the best feature category. In it, an Uber driver recalls a fare he drove all the way from Mass to Miami that may or may not have been a drug mule. You have to read it to believe it, but Jenny got receipts and everything.
As the editor-in-chief of this ship, what’s most exciting about Jenny and Yidan’s nominations is that both of their features ran in other outlets as well. We’re big on sharing and cross-pollinating around here, and since Jenny’s piece was about Miami, I reached out to the editor of that city’s award-winning alt-weekly, the New Times, and convinced them to publish it as well. Editors down there cut a version that focused more on the Florida side of things, and the result was an extremely popular article in multiple markets.
Regarding Yidan’s “Unbearable Pressure,” that article was actually our first collaboration with the Boston-based Sampan, which ran it in English as well as in Chinese. All things considered, we already chalked it up as a success, so this was butter on an already delicious biscuit.
I always find awards in my field to be excessive, since we don’t report for plaques; but if they inspire young reporters to keep working hard and show our readers that they are lucky to have us and that the Dig is worth supporting, then we’ll take all of the awards that people want to give us.
CHRIS FARAONE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
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.