BINJ Column Clearinghouse

As the editor/publisher of the left wing nonprofit newsweekly Open Media Boston from 2008 to April of this year, Jason Pramas had gained regional notoriety for his regular editorials when he joined BINJ as network director in July 2015. On Labor Day of that year, he started a new column to build upon that legacy. He called it Apparent Horizon — after a new concept in astrophysics popularized by Stephen Hawking — to indicate his desire to comment on all areas of human endeavor, and has already addressed a broad array of topics from labor, to global warming, to nuclear power, to prisons, to mass transit. This plus a major nine-column series strongly criticizing the recent deal between General Electric, the City of Boston, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. All this is framed with a Boston hook and a critical edge that only a protest leader with 30-plus years of grassroots political activism under his belt can bring to bear on issues of the day.

Terms of Service

The service industry—bars and restaurants—makes up 8.5 percent of the Greater Boston area economy, yet the creativity, talent, and knowledge required to make it in the city’s most frequented establishments is largely misunderstood by those who have never donned an apron. Here, a local bartender (and BINJ staff writer) tackles the nuances of industry life, for both those living it and those who fail to see it as a worthwhile career.

The Tokin’ Truth

We are very much aware that it is risky business to associate with cannabis reformers. Some of our mentors even warned against taking on Mike Crawford, a noted medical marijuana activist and media personality in Boston for many years. With that said, we are proud to have him and his cadre of frequent guest columnists rail against censorship and hypocrisy, gain syndication in Alternet and other national outlets, and hold politicians accountable for their hypocrisy on this topic. With cannabis now legal in the Bay State but the fight between the public and the State House still raging, the possibilities for this column and expanded marijuana coverage are endless.

Broken Records

This has been the most important year in the last four decades for government transparency in Massachusetts. With the state’s dismal public records law being updated significantly for the first time since the 1970s, we started this column to discuss the dysfunctional nature of our public records law and to cover government transparency and accountability issues in the state. As prolific requesters of record and persistent curmudgeons, the Broken Records crew has given voice to freedom of information hurdles faced by reporters from a number of outlets, even major ones, and has effectively brought the conversation about how the journalistic sausage is made to the meat counter.

Throwback BINJ

Our ongoing series connecting headlines from the past 350 years of Boston media with current events. From corruption on Beacon Hill to the debate over transgender rights—it’s all happened before, and we have some amazing pics and articles to prove it. Our throwback columns are a great research and reporting activity for some of our young writers who are rising through the ranks.

Spot Coverage & Columns (Select Examples)

  • GENDER CONFINEMENT: Mass Department of Correction contends it can discriminate against transgender inmates (By Maya Shaffer)

  • SNUBWAY: This may help explain why you’ve had so much trouble renting and returning public bikes in Boston (By Noah Shaffer)

  • FLAME WAR: Council greenlights social media surveillance despite lack of BPD transparency (By Sarah Betancourt)