Local news has been in steep decline nationwide over the last decade, a result of massive changes in the advertising and news industries, leading to severe consolidation and cost-cutting. Newton has not been spared, and now our city is the largest in the state without a local, professional newspaper.
This has left Newton residents without a trusted, neutral source of information about education, public safety, government spending, and countless other important matters. For a community such as ours, eager to remain engaged and informed, this is nothing short of a crisis. So, we are excited to announce today our response: the Newton Beacon, a local, nonprofit news outlet staffed by paid professional journalists focused like a laser on our city.
The Newton Beacon is officially launching in mid-January. Initially, the Beacon will have a limited scope, providing special coverage of Mayor Fuller’s three proposed overrides. Pending the success of a soon-to-be-launched fundraising campaign, we expect to begin full news coverage with a permanent reporting staff shortly after the conclusion of the override vote in the spring.
The March 14 override votes are among of the most pressing issues that have faced our city in the last decade and they hold enormous implications for life in our city. It is essential that all residents and business owners have access to professional, independent journalism to help them stay informed.
To ensure that we are delivering dependable, high-quality news directly to you, the Newton Beacon has hired two professional journalists on an interim basis who have extensive experience reporting on issues in Newton and beyond to provide in-depth override coverage.
Gail Spector served as editor of the Newton TAB from 2006 to 2012. Prior to her work with the TAB, she covered Newton as a correspondent for the Boston Globe. She most recently taught beat reporting at Boston University, directing her students’ coverage of Newton for the Boston Globe. She is also the author of the book “Legendary Locals of Newton.”
Gail will be joined by Dan Atkinson, who reported for the Newton TAB from 2005 to 2006 and 2008 to 2010. He has since covered Boston City Hall for the Boston Herald and written numerous investigative pieces for DigBoston, and currently teaches journalism at Lasell University and advises the undergraduate newspaper.
Between January and mid-March, you can expect regular coverage of the override, which will include coverage of events, interviews with key stakeholders, and analysis of arguments both for and against the proposal. News articles will also be e-mailed to anyone on the Beacon distribution list. If you have not signed up yet, please visit our website to sign up today.
The Newton Beacon
Board of Directors: Burton Glass, Aaron Goldman, Matt Hills, Joe Hunter, Rhanna Kidwell, Anne Larner, Alan Schlesinger