In the business of local media, and all media really, you start off with the odds stacked against your effort if you cover so-called current events
I doubt that you took five minutes out of your own difficult day to hear about how hard my life is. But since I have you here, I guess I’ll share some thoughts about what it is like to run one of the last outlets that actually serves news around here, as opposed to simply keeping the public informed about nonsense via press releases. Community info can be important too, especially when we are amplifying local businesses and such, but it’s not quite the same as actually reporting on the cruel world that we live in.
We love to have fun too. Always have. The Dig’s forever tagline is humor, news, and nightlife, and we strive to appeal to your appetite for music and arts, as well as food, drink, and weed. This issue is particularly loaded on liquor, as we figured it makes sense to direct people to spots that serve as cozy refuges in these tundra times. But in addition to dispatches about hard booze, we also have plenty of hard news about hard situations. Which circles me back to my rant …
In the business of local media, and all media really, you start off with the odds stacked against your effort if you cover so-called current events, whether that’s the school committee or a foreign war. I’m not being hyperbolic; if you dare to entertain such serious topics, instead of limiting your operation to lifestyle coverage, then nine out of 10 major national brands won’t even consider placing an ad with your newspaper, newsletter, website, etc. It’s ludicrous, and it’s the reason that a regional like us doesn’t have, say, a full-page Revlon ad every other week that alone would pay for us to have another staff writer. Or perhaps even two.
But we don’t have ads like those. Because, again, we do the news, and report stories like my feature this week about the privatization of public housing in Boston. Articles like that fuck us for ads, but we do them anyway because they are important. And because you read them. In fact, I’m pretty sure most people would stop picking up our paper and checking us out online if we played it safe; as proof, just look at the several lifestyle publications that Greater Boston has lost over the past decade. Proper and improper Bostonians alike throughout the metro region want to read about that stuff, no doubt about it, and so we scout the best places to eat, party, and drink, like we did for this issue.
At the same time, analytics tell us that you also care about the pain and hardships endured by your neighbors. That’s great, and I appreciate it. I just wish that Fortune 500 companies with deep pockets and marketing budgets felt the same way.
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.