This is one of those columns that I start off by apologizing for writing about national news. I wind up penning one of these every couple of months, often when the president of the United States says or does something so insanely neglectful or racist that it has to be mentioned—even if every other outlet on the planet is reporting on it endlessly already.
Given, almost every awful thing that Trump does impacts vulnerable people in Mass—from his immigration decrees to healthcare policy meddling—and we absolutely cover those issues. For the most part, though, as the editors behind this little alternative engine that could, Jason Pramas and I avoid beating the obvious anti-Trump drum week in and week out. For a lot of reasons, but mainly because you can read tendentious spiels in roughly 20 million other places and since there’s nothing state and local politicians would love more than for us to ignore their doings while distracted by dynamite that national conservative rodeo clowns detonate daily.
With all of that in mind, we are returning to New Hampshire for the lead-up to the primary in February 2020. Like we did in 2016, our team from the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism will set up at the Shaskeen Pub and Restaurant in Manchester, which we will transform into a pop-up newsroom, podcast studio, and political carnival. Independent journalists from BINJ, DigBoston, and several other sites and papers will use the facilities, which we first conceived as an alternative to the hotel across the street where journalists from bigs like CBS and CNN enjoyed cozy press accommodations while the rest of us sat on the carpet in the lobby and fought over electrical outlets.
While BINJ does not typically invest its resources in national coverage, we feel that it’s important to put a critical local lens on the biggest story in America. In 2016, for example, among other scoops, our reporters highlighted the negative impact that Republican hopeful Carly Fiorina had on the New Hampshire economy in her former role as the top executive at Hewlett Packard, while in another case, Jason Pramas revealed a questionable labor endorsement. These are the kinds of stories that the national media, just swinging through town between trips to Iowa and South Carolina, tends to miss. We will also be offering our dispatches to more than 200 outlets to publish, ensuring that our coverage resonates beyond New England. (In 2016, our content was syndicated in more than a dozen outlets nationwide).
Finally, we will be hosting a number of speakers, local stakeholders, and talking heads to participate in various events and panels. And yes, you are invited. We will have formal tickets, invitations, and Facebook pages up soon, but for now you can guarantee exclusive access to our Manchester Divided festivities by becoming a sustaining monthly BINJ donor at givetobinj.org. We really can’t do this without you.
CHRIS FARAONE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF