Open Media Boston Celebrates Sixth Anniversary
It has become my custom to say a few words on the occasion of Open Media Boston's "birthday" each year. Why? I guess because for all of us that have worked on this project since we launched six years ago on March 20, 2008, it's a big victory to have continued publishing for another 12 months. Especially in a business climate where the average news startup lasts a couple of years. And even more so because we're a small underfunded non-profit.
Most importantly, however, it means that we've been able to continue to provide professional news coverage of many disenfranchised communities in the Boston area that don't get the attention they deserve in the much-diminished news media. Specifically, the movements for social justice that spring from those communities, and do their best to affect change against an array of heavily funded and powerful foes.
Since I founded OMB, I've been extremely lucky to have the assistance of dozens of highly trained and skilled staff, contributors and interns. Most have been volunteers, although we we've been able to pay our news staffers for each article they publish for more than a year now - a big advance to be sure.
This year, an even bigger advance came with our being able to hire a second full-time staff person to work with me for the first time ever. Jonny Adams came on board as our Associate Editor in January and has pumped out so many high-quality news articles each week that he's almost turned us from a weekly in a daily single-handedly - and made us into one of the few publications in the state that do regular court reporting.
So first props go to him.
Next, I'd like to thank our current news staff - that work on contract and do a fantastic job: Sarah Betancourt, David Goodman, and Tate Williams. David deserves special notice as our Senior Staff Reporter because he's been with OMB since the beginning and, beyond filing lots of great pieces every year, has created the innovative bi-weekly radio news digest Local Edition on WMBR-FM which most of our staff contributes to regularly. He's also working on a June 1st benefit to help us raise more funds - which I'll come back to in a moment.
Also, our regular arts contributors Sue Katz and Shirley Moskow deserve thanks for continuing to publish a number of fine articles every year. Because of them we can keep our Arts section fresh, and look forward to the day when we'll be able to afford to be able to do justice to Boston's lively arts scene with more regular coverage.
Of course, Open Media Boston does more than report the news. We're also very interested in expanding the field of human knowledge by discussing the social and political economic dimensions of the very technology that makes our work possible with our now annual Digital Media Conference.
So I'd like to thank everyone that worked on our 2013 DMC for all the work you did to make that event a success.
Next, I'd like to thank our non-profit sponsor Media Working Group who have backed us up from the beginning and continue to offer critical services and advice that are literally responsible for this publication's existence.
I'd further like to thank our web developers and logo designers that helped us build the lovely new Drupal 7 website that's now fully operational ... and to thank our local media partners Somerville Neighborhood News and Spare Change News (other local news outlets big and small should note that we'd love to partner with more grassroots news media in the year to come).
Finally, I'd like to thank everyone that donates the money that makes Open Media Boston possible - both our individual donors and our foundation funders.
While we run an extremely efficient operation with the lowest overhead conceivable, we couldn't keep going without basic operating funds and the ability to pay our key personnel.
Therefore it should come as no surprise that I conclude with a request for everyone checking this editorial out to click our donate link - on the top of every page on this site - and give whatever you can to help us continue to provide news coverage of all the Boston area social justice struggles you care about ... plus a raft of progressive op-eds and editorials, arts and living coverage, and our new Radical Boston "magazine" section.
I'd also like to make a pitch to the heads of local progressive non-profits and unions to consider sponsoring Open Media Boston for the next year. I also extend that pitch to include businesses with solid labor, civic, diversity, and environmental records. We'll be officially launching an OMB Sponsorship Program soon, but be sure to contact me at the email address below if you'd like more information on it at speed.
And if there are any potential "high donors" floating around out there with $1,000 or more burning a hole in your bank account, who are down with Open Media Boston's mission and track record, drop me a line. Same goes for any foundation personnel who are looking to add an innovative progressive news publication to their grantee rolls. Because we're not just looking to keep going year after year just scraping by hand to mouth. Our plan has always been to grow into a major Boston news weekly and spread our model of solid news reporting in the service of progressive movements for social change across the country. That can't happen without more money.
It should be clear to our regular viewers and anyone who cares to look at our news archive what a huge difference having two full-time staff on board since January has meant for our news output and audience size. Can you all imagine how fast we'd grow with three full-time staff? Four? Five? The dozen or so we actually need? Not to mention the investigative reporting we'd like to do, the training programs we could run for communities in need - especially for Boston's young people - and the cool public events we could host.
All that can only happen with everyone's help.
So donate what you can today. If you're with an organization or progressive business that would like to sponsor us, a foundation that will consider funding us, or you're a potential high donor, drop me a line at info openmediaboston org and we'll talk.
Jason Pramas is Editor/Publisher of Open Media Boston