On Thursday a trusted source sent me an internal memo from Boston Globe editorial page editor Bina Venkataraman offering her take on the opinion section’s accomplishments in 2021. (Thanks, source!)
Probably the newsiest part of the memo is that The Emancipator, a racial justice collaborative involving the Globe and Boston University that’s been slow to get off the ground, is ramping up and “will begin publishing regularly” in the near future. Venkataraman also takes note of the paper’s 2020 editorials on housing in Newton, which won a Pulitzer finalist nod.
Her full memo follows.
Dear BGMP colleagues,
It’s a delight to be able to share with you some updates from the Globe Opinion team as we near the end of the year.
Thanks to our leadership, the company has made significant investments in growing and diversifying the Opinion team and the editorial board since 2019, helping us launch a pioneering partnership with Boston University, and allowing us to to do truly digital-first, innovative projects like our endorsement of Joe Biden and our editorial series Future-proofing the Presidency. This has raised the profile of our work nationally, where Globe Opinion content and voices are often featured in major broadcast venues, and has deepened our connection with local and regional communities. The growth has also allowed us to have a closer eye on and hold accountable the institutions and political leaders in Greater Boston and New England responsible for serving the public interest.
2021 has been busy and productive in Opinion and Ideas. Here are a few of the highlights that made our year extraordinary:
*Editorial board meetings with mayoral and municipal election candidates across Greater Boston, which culminated in our publishing a spate of endorsements.
*A significant and innovative project, the aforementioned “Future-proofing the Presidency,” extensively covered in national broadcast media, influenced proposed Congressional reforms.
*Our ongoing op-ed series on longevity, in collaboration with MIT’s AgeLab, which sparked a conversation about Boston’s role as a city for innovation in aging.
*A Pulitizer finalist nod for our 2020 series on a Newton housing battle and housing choice reform.
*The launch of a hot new Ideas newsletter that already has thousands of subscribers and is engaging readers and driving them back to our section.
*The announcement of a new non-profit publication, The Emancipator, our groundbreaking collaboration with BU to reimagine 19th-century abolitionist newspapers for today’s conversation on racial justice. We started with the hiring of a great editor-in-chief and the launch of the Unbound newsletter.
*Globe Letters packages featuring our readers’ voices on the major issues of the day, from geoengineering to Mass. & Cass to Thanksgiving-season gratitude.
*Our popular Op-Talk event series and Now What? (formerly known as Don’t Look Back) newsletter, which offer new entry points to our journalism and expand our reach.
*Ideas features on artificial intelligence, race and mobility, the future of work, and urban schools led the conversation online and in the community.
* Columnists’ ongoing smart takes on pressing local, regional, and national topics — often featured in local events and on national broadcast, raising the profile of Globe Opinion.
*A new social media strategy featuring different voices of our editorial board and innovations such as Instagram cards and reels, that has significantly grown our online audience and presence.
*Expert opinions weighing in on the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow and the threats to America’s democracy via the war on voting rights.
Looking ahead, The Emancipator will begin publishing regularly under the leadership of its co-editors in chief, Amber Payne and Deborah Douglas, while growing their editorial team and launching a new Web presence. Ideas will be publishing an exciting package on reenvisioning the US Constitution on the anniversary of the Bill of Rights. Our pandemic and political coverage will continue in editorials and op-eds, with a special focus on the gubernatorial election. Globe Opinion also aims to look back at some of the Globe’s coverage of communities of color to reckon with the past as the paper celebrates its 150th birthday. Watch for new ways we’ll engage with letter writers, more point/counterpoint op-eds, further experiments with our social media presence, and new deep dives in Sunday Ideas.
We’re always eager to find new ways to showcase evidence-based opinion and break through polarized, simplistic debates with original, reported, and nuanced perspectives. We welcome your ideas as we scan the horizon and are grateful to collaborate with our colleagues across BGMP on many of these efforts. Let us know if you see a way we might conspire in the new year!
All the best,
Editorial Page Editor
The Boston Globe