Image by Kent Buckley
First of all, I want to apologize to longtime readers of Media Farm for any lag in the column. Please keep the tips coming, we’re not going anywhere, but I’ve personally been occupied doing the kind of journalism that we tend to chide others for not doing, and it’s important that I update readers on some critical developments.
In my capacity as news and features editor at DigBoston and as a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, I have been working with a number of reporters to file public information requests related to everything from cannabis dispensaries to police misconduct. At the same time, in the fight to increase access to such documents, I have worked with the New England Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (where I am a board member) and with Andrew Quemere and Maya Shaffer of the Bay State Examiner to present arguments for more transparency.
Three things in particular have happened in the past week that led me to appeal to readers directly. One involves a story that a friend and colleague is researching about a sensitive police issue with a department that shall remain unnamed for now. You will read about the matter in these pages and in other newspapers soon, but at this point the public should know that our serious and informed queries were met with remarks such as, “Be careful where you’re going with this.”
The other two standout impediments to important journalism involve Boston Police Department internal affairs records, which Emily Hopkins wrote about this week, as well as an apparent okey doke that Boston Public Schools attorneys are pulling on our education reporters. We had already filed Freedom of Information Act requests related to questionable administrative behavior at Boston Latin School before drama erupted over racial tension on that campus. Since BPS quoted us a price more than a month ago and we sent them a check though, we have received nothing but excuses in return.
We promise to get back to chiding our peers soon. At the moment, many of us are busy in the professional fight of our careers. Please excuse any sentimental camaraderie, but we do hope that you’ll join the chorus and echo our complaints, as we’ll need as much public opinion on our side as possible in order to win this for everyone.