The following is excerpted from:

BINJworthy: Rethinking Truth Through Authenticity at a Boston Alternative News Organization, a thesis presented by Cole Edick to the Department of Anthropology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree with honors of Bachelor of Arts.

Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass, March 2017

If journalism is becoming an increasingly precarious profession, how does the alternative media react to growing precarization? It seizes upon it. The Media Consortium (TMC) is [one of] the largest network[s] of independent media outlets (including BINJ) in the United States. Recalling from the introduction, in 2015, TMC’s executive director Jo Ellen Green Kaiser released a report suggesting that market changes will result in the fall of the daily print newspaper but bring about a great opportunity for other newsmakers. Kaiser’s proposes a sort of scaling up of a typical freelancing arrangement (TMC 2015). A freelancer has a particular relationship with an outlet, and leans on the outlet for resources to pursue a story when they have it, and they then publish the story through the outlet.

Under Kaiser’s proposal, a local outlet would form the same relationship with a national outlet. This is a model based on a network of precarious labor, local outlets freelancing themselves out to national outlets. As Kaiser puts it, “in 5-10 years [the alternative media] will have a fully functioning local-national network of independent and community news that will surpass the power of the old dailies in its ability to tell the stories that matter.” Here then is an account that indirectly praises precarization as a change that will bring about further necessary changes in the industry that improve the quality of journalism as a whole. BINJ is largely based on this model. A year before Kaiser’s report, Chris Faraone attended a TMC conference held together with the Association of Alternative Newsmedia in San Francisco, after which he returned to Boston inspired to start BINJ.