This #GivingTuesday, Help BINJ With a Donation—Matched Dollar for Dollar Up to $1,000
With Giving Tuesday—the unofficial holiday dedicated to donating to nonprofit organizations—upon us, we thought we should address a much broader audience than we normally do in our big annual fundraising appeal for the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.
So, we’d like to start by introducing our organization and what we’ve been doing over the seven-and-a-half years since we launched in June 2015. Then ask for your financial support. The first $1,000 of which is matched dollar for dollar by the Institute for Nonprofit News and the Miami Foundation through their NewsMatch program up to a total of $15,000 until the end of December. We’re already a third of the way toward that goal and with your help we’d like to raise another third of that total this week.
BINJ was founded to provide investigative journalism to independent news outlets serving communities around Massachusetts that cannot afford to produce it themselves. Because investigative reporting frequently requires weeks or months of hard work by specialist reporters and editors with the requisite skills to do deep dives into a host of intractable political, social, and cultural problems in the public interest. Such reporting makes friends, often the victims of one or another malfeasance perpetrated by influential institutions, but it also makes enemies of just the kind of rich and powerful people that have traditionally funded investigative journalism through advertising or grants.
So, it’s very difficult to fund this type of endeavor—either as a for-profit or, in the case of BINJ, as a nonprofit. Because the work of doing journalism in the service of democracy and social justice is much less attractive to big funders than the easy lifestyle journalism dominating what passes for an American news industry that challenges nothing and threatens no one, least of all the good and the great … since big funders are sometimes the targets of our reporting.
Yet over years of ceaseless labor, BINJ has remained laser focused on covering stories that literally no other outlet in the Bay State will touch. Not because it was the easy thing to do, but because it was the right thing to do. In an era when journalism as we have known it is collapsing across the US.
For example …
- Our years-long look into the Massachusetts State Police which included revelations about the department’s shady firearm and Taser acquisition. Looking deeper at the same relationships we shined an early light on, federal attorneys successfully prosecuted former State Police Association of Massachusetts President Dana Pullman who was found guilty on racketeering conspiracy and fraud charges earlier this month.
- While most outlets have merely covered the symptoms of MBTA negligence, we have mined documents to impugn the causes behind shutdowns and financial troubles. Since 2021 we have exposed questionable spending on misguided studies as well as state contracts given to a marketing firm connected to Governor Baker. Our coverage on this front has taken many forms; five years ago, we showed you how dangerous the T is in photos, while just yesterday we broke the story about a likely Red Line shutdown in the near future.
- Speaking of the outgoing governor, more than 350 of Baker’s board and judicial appointments were approved by the Governor’s Council, with the single rejection of his tenure coming in the wake of our thorough look at one candidate’s background.
- We have shown up to report on the police not only in Boston but also in cities and towns where there are no journalists or where local reporters looked the other way—from New Bedford, to Western Mass, to the North Shore, to Arlington.
- Earlier this year, with help from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, we released the biggest investigation to date of any outlet in the US on the privatization of public housing, and are currently working on a follow-up documentary on the subject.
If rich and powerful people don’t fund us consistently, who does? Regular folks—like most of you reading this missive. We rely on your donations of $25 to $1,000 a year to keep on keeping on. If you’ve donated before, we’re asking you to do so again. And if you’ve never donated to us, or even heard of us before, we’re asking you to do us a solid today.
Together, dozens of working people making small cash gifts to BINJ can help us meet our goal of $5,000 in donations (of up to $1,000 each) this week—putting us just another $5,000 away from getting the full $15,000 match on offer from INN and Miami Foundation. Which means $30,000 overall we can spend on producing cutting-edge journalism on critical issues of the day across the Commonwealth and beyond in 2023.
Every dollar counts and we appreciate any assistance you can spare in the spirit of Giving Tuesday. And in the defense, ultimately, of our democracy.
Chris Faraone is editorial director and Jason Pramas is executive director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. They also run DigBoston.