Mike Barnicle, Pulitzer winner

MSNBC commentator Michael Barnicle, who left his perch as a Boston Globe columnist in 1998 after he was confronted with evidence that he was a serial fabricator and plagiarist, sat there and said nothing during a Jan. 30 appearance in which he was described as “a Pulitzer Prize winner for his Boston Globe reporting.”

Barnicle was appearing with sports commentator Stephen A. Smith. The fictional accolades from host Ari Melber come at about 1:05 of the above video. I watched the segment to the end, and Barnicle makes no attempt to correct the record. He does, though, mock U.S. Rep. Anthony Devolder or George Santos or whatever his name is for — you guessed it — fabricating his biography.

Update: Some of Barnicle’s work may have been included in the Globe’s 1975 Pulitzer for Public Service, which recognized its coverage of the city’s school-desegregation crisis.

According to our friends at Wikipedia, J. Anthony Lukas, author “Common Ground,” the best book about Boston ever written, told an interviewer that a 1974 Barnicle column headlined “Busing Puts Burden on Working Class, Black and White” was a defining moment in the Globe’s coverage. There is no citation for that interview. There’s also nothing in “Common Ground,” at the Pulitzer Prize website or in the Globe’s own story about winning the Pulitzer that reveals whether any Barnicle columns were submitted or not. But it’s possible there were one or more Barnicle columns in the Globe’s entry.

That does not make Barnicle a Pulitzer-winner, and it would have been easy enough for him to correct Melber. But if Barnicle really was part of the team that won the Pulitzer, his failure to speak up strikes me as less of a big deal.

Special non-delivery

It’s after 9 a.m., and we still don’t have our Sunday New York Times — but I’m guessing it has more to do with The Boston Globe. Friends on Facebook who get the Globe, but not the Times, are telling me that it’s arriving late and/or missing sections.

We don’t get the Globe in print anymore; we’re seven-day digital subscribers. But I’m guessing that our amazing delivery person didn’t drop off the Times at 6 a.m., as she usually does, because it wasn’t worth it to run her route without the Globe. I can’t say I blame her. By the way, this is the second or third week that the Times has been printed at Dow Jones’ facility in Chicopee rather than at the Globe’s Taunton plant.

If you’re going to charge an arm and a leg for the print edition, then you’ve got to perform. The Globe’s problems with its Taunton facility go back to the day it opened in 2017, and they’ve never been fully resolved.

Update: The Times was on our front porch when we got home from church a little before noon. And several people passed along this email from the Globe:

Did you know that the Globe’s top listed price for 7-day print has hit $2,340 a year?

1915 photo by Lewis Wickes Hine via the Library of Congress

Did you know that a non-discounted, seven-day home-delivery subscription to the print edition of The Boston Globe now costs $2,340 a year? I didn’t. I should have — it’s right there in plain sight every day on the second page of the metro section, right below “New England in Brief”: $45 a week. We made the switch to digital some time ago, but I flip through the e-paper most days. It was Globe spokeswoman Heidi Flood who called my attention to it when I asked what the price was these days.

“We have a deep appreciation for the support of our home delivery subscribers that enable us to continue to produce and invest in award winning journalism,” she said by email.

Hiding in plain sight

The reason this came up is that a friend from Boston Phoenix days who lives in the suburbs wanted to know why the cost of her subscription had gone up so much. As recently as December, she’d been paying $1,665.60 a year, which struck me as awfully high; the last I’d known, the top price was somewhere between $1,400 and $1,500. Then she received an email from the Globe informing her that the cost would be going up another $5.70 a week, bringing the price to $1,962 per year. Her next step was to call customer service. She was told that the price should actually be $2,100 — but that he could get it down to $1,955. Such a deal!

I asked around on Facebook and Mastodon and got prices that were all over the place, though no one reported paying $2,340. A woman who lives just outside Boston (another Phoenix alum, as it turns out) told me she was paying $1,449.60 a year, which was more in line with what I thought the top price was. Several people were getting a senior discount which, depending on who I asked, meant that they were paying $884 or $1,046.20.

I also found out that the listed non-discounted price has risen a lot over the past few years. As recently as December, the top price was $1,976. In February 2020, it was $1,560. In January 2015, which is as far back as the e-paper archives go, it was $727.28. That means the cost has gone up by 189% over the past seven years.

Now, we’ve long known that the Globe charges more for print and digital subscriptions than just about any daily paper in the country. I think the top digital-only rate of about $30 a month —$1 a day — is reasonable, and that the Globe provides a lot of value. After all, we’re deep into the post-advertising age, and someone has to pick up the cost. But the price of a print subscription is ludicrously high, and I honestly don’t know how anyone can afford it. It also doesn’t help that the actual prices that people pay are all over the place.

You often hear that the print price is way too high for seniors, and that they’re the very group that doesn’t want to read the paper online. “I think of all the older people who still like print and probably won’t adapt well to digital,” my friend told me. Well, I have a suggestion. I’d argue that those of us who are in the 65-to-74 age bracket are either comfortable with digital, can afford print or both. But what about those who are 75 and older? Those are the folks who probably could use some help. Why not sell seven-day print to them at a loss as a goodwill gesture?

Finally, there’s the question of what the Globe is really up to with its print edition. According to the Alliance for Audited Media, the Globe’s paid print circulation in September 2022 (the most recent figures available) was about 64,000 on weekdays and 112,000 on Sundays. Digital was about 282,000 on weekdays and 298,000 on Sundays. That’s quite a change from March 2020, when print was 93,000 (159,000 on Sundays) and digital was 158,000 on weekdays (155,000 on Sundays.) Obviously readers are switching from print to digital in the tens of thousands. The Globe is also picking up a lot of new digital-only subscribers, which is why they’ve been able to keep growing while other news organizations are cutting their newsrooms.

(Note: I’m using the AAM’s figures for digital replica and nonreplica and adding them together. These are somewhat mysterious numbers that are quite a bit higher than the Globe’s own numbers for digital-only subscribers, but I’m using them because they’re publicly reported and I can make apples-to-apples comparisons.)

As I wrote recently after the Globe lost its contract to print The New York Times, you have to wonder what the eventual goal is. They’re not going to end the print edition anytime soon — not with the prices they’re charging. But are they seeking some magic number that hits their revenue targets while allowing them to outsource the printing so that they can close their 5-year-old Taunton plant? That’s pure speculation on my part. At a certain point, though, you have to wonder if it makes sense for the Globe do it their own printing.

Why Louis Menand thinks distrust in the media has its roots in the chaos of 1968

Photo (cc) 1968 by Fred Mason / Liberation News Service

I listened to Louis Menand’s New Yorker essay on why the public has lost faith in journalism while I was at the gym Thursday. It’s free, and I recommend it. Among other things, Menand reminds us of how insular, racist and sexist the Washington press corps was until very recently. He writes:

The two main social organizations for Washington journalists were the Gridiron Club (founded in 1885) and the National Press Club (founded in 1908). The Gridiron invited members’ wives to a dinner in 1896, but a skit lampooning the suffrage movement did not go over well, and women were not allowed back until 1972. Into the nineteen-fifties, members performed in blackface for entertainment at Gridiron dinners. [Kathryn J.] McGarr [in her book “City of Newsmen”] reports that the club’s signature tune was “The Watermelon Song,” sung in dialect.

Good Lord. Menand’s principal focus, though, is on the chaotic 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, that infamous gathering where the city’s police force beat up and brutalized antiwar protesters, leading to a backlash that swept Richard Nixon into the White House. In Menand’s telling, the two major television networks (CBS and NBC; ABC was barely a force back then) provided little coverage of the protests, devoting nearly all of their airtime to the convention proceedings themselves.

Their treatment of Mayor Richard Daley, the conservative Democrat who unleashed the police on the demonstrators, was fawning and obsequious. For instance, Menand tells us that the legendary CBS anchor Walter Cronkite began an interview with the mayor by saying, “I can tell you this, Mr. Daley, that you have a lot of supporters around the country as well as in Chicago.” Cronkite also allowed Daley to accuse reporters who’d been victims of police brutality of “being plants of the antiwar movement.”

Despite this, a narrative emerged that the news media had actually sympathized with the protesters and had taken their side against the police and the mayor. How did this happen? Menand argues it was because the media had covered the convention and the protests in a neutral, objective manner, when what much of the public really wanted was condemnation of the hippies, the Yippies and the entire long-haired youth culture, which they hated because they didn’t understand it. “It is said that objectivity is what we need more of, but that’s not what people want,” Menand writes. “What people want is advocacy.”

And so it is, he argues, down to the present day. The legacy of Chicago, he tells us, is timid television journalism afraid to offend conservatives as well as endemic distrust in the media.

I do have a bone to pick with Menand. He stacks the deck in making his argument that the public has lost faith in journalism, observing that it has fallen from the 72% who said they trusted the media in 1976 to just 34% today — and only 14% among Republicans. That’s factually accurate, but not quite true. What Menand leaves out is that, according to Gallup, 70% of Democrats currently trust the media, and that trust has never fallen below 50%, even in the recent low years of 2000 and 2016.

What surveys have really found over the years is that people trust the media that they use. If you ask someone — even a Republican among that 14% — whether they trust the media that they consume on a regular basis, they’re going to say yes. Otherwise, why would they waste their time? Of course, the media outlets in question are going to tilt toward Fox News and its ilk. The point, though, is that the media have split into ideological camps. Democrats, liberals and most moderates have at least some degree of trust in the mainstream media, flawed though they are. And Republicans, conservatives and the extreme right similarly trust what they consume.

The larger challenge is that the mainstream media, broadly liberal on culture though often mindlessly neutral on politics, continue to practice what Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, in “The Elements of Journalism,” describe as “a discipline of verification,” trying to get it right and correcting themselves when they don’t. On the other side is a right-wing media machine that consists mainly of weaponized propaganda and, increasingly, outright falsehoods — about the 2020 election, about COVID, about schoolchildren who relieve themselves in litter boxes, for God’s sake — repeated over and over.

Americans haven’t lost faith in “the media” because there is no such thing as the media, as there were, more or less, in 1968, or 1976. Today there are multiple medias (to make a plural out of a plural), each catering to their own niche. We live in a post-truth environment, and it’s tearing us apart.

Still, Menand has written a worthwhile overview of what has happened to journalism over the past half-century, quoting media observers from Michael Schudson to Margaret Sullivan. If you want to know how we got to where we are today, you could do worse than to spend some time with this piece.

Nancy Barnes’ debut

And there it is. Nancy Barnes, The Boston Globe’s first female editor, makes her masthead debut. Barnes succeeds Brian McGrory, who after a 10-year run is off to Boston University, where he’ll chair the journalism department.


From Azerbaijan to Boston, Northeastern students identify undercovered stories

Demonstrators in Baku, Azerbaijan, show their support for the war with Armenia. Photo (cc) 2020 by Interfase.

From time to time I like to ask my journalism ethics students to identify stories that they think have been undercovered. I always learn something. My graduate students dug deep last week, unearthing stories that had received some coverage — especially in the mighty New York Times — but not enough to break through into the public consciousness. At a time when the media are focused on important stories such as the police killing of Tyre Nichols and trivia such as Harry and Meghan (or was that the week before?), here is what is on my students’ minds:

The renewed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. At a moment when the world is riveted by Russia’s unprompted war of aggression in Ukraine, the military conflict between these old rivals has received very little coverage. The Times reports:

Barely two years later, the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan is heating up again, and Russia, distracted and weakened by the war in Ukraine, has not stepped in. Defying the Russian presence, Azerbaijanis are testing whether Moscow is still able and determined to impose its will on other, smaller neighbors amid its struggles in Ukraine.

It’s not easy being fake green. Ohio’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine, signed legislation recently that designates natural gas as a source of “green energy” — and we can expect to see similar legislation pop up in other states. As The Washington Post reports, citing documents it has seen:

The Empowerment Alliance, a dark money group with ties to the gas industry, helped Ohio lawmakers push the narrative that the fuel is clean, the documents show. The American Legislative Exchange Council, another anonymously funded group, assisted in the effort.

Deadly pro-democracy protests in Peru. The unrest in Brazil following an attempt by supporters of the former authoritarian president, Jair Bolsonaro, to overthrow the democratically elected government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is apparently all the South American news that U.S. audiences can handle. Yet protests have also been mounting in Peru over the removal of that country’s leftist president, Pedro Castillo. The authorities have killed 50 demonstrators. The Times again:

Rather than fade, protests in rural Peru that began more than a month ago over the ouster of the former president have only grown in size and in the scope of demonstrators’ demands, paralyzing entire sections of the country and threatening efforts by the new president, Dina Boluarte, to gain control.

Hundreds of sexual assaults in the Boston Public Schools. The Boston Globe reported that hundreds of sexual assaults are taking place in the city’s school system every year, noting that City Councilor Erin Murphy has said that there were 744 such assaults during the 2021-’22 school year alone. The Globe’s story, though, zeroed in on whether Murphy’s claims were accurate and how the district tallies sexual assaults — overshadowing what would appear to be the larger issue, which is that the BPS has a serious problem on its hands. From the Globe account:

Between 2018 and 2022, reports of student-on-student sexual misconduct rose in BPS from 371 to 759, an increase that Murphy and three other councilors also have pointed to in advocating for tighter security in schools, including bringing back a police presence on campuses.

District officials attribute the rise in reported incidents to more people in the district’s actively reporting incidents since returning to in-person learning.

The Church of England and same-sex marriage. The Church of England recently apologized for its past mistreatment of LGBTQ people and said it would now bless same-sex unions — but that it would continue with its policy of not performing same-sex marriages. Once again, from the Times:

The Church of England is the original church in the global Anglican Communion, which now claims tens of millions of members in 165 countries. The communion has been engaged in a bitter debate over how to treat its L.G.B.T.Q. members since 2003, when the American branch — the Episcopal Church — consecrated an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire. The communion has struggled to avoid schism as some provinces have moved to welcome L.G.B.T.Q. members and celebrate their relationships, while others — mostly in the global South — have remained vehemently opposed.

A shocking story about foster care and juvenile detention. In Illinois, the state foster care system has been locking up children in juvenile detention solely because the system’s social workers have been unable to find a suitable placement for them. Now the system is being sued by the Cook County public guardian. The Illinois Answers Project, a nonprofit news organization, reports:

The Illinois Answers investigation showed a steady increase in the number of Illinois foster children held for weeks or months after a judge ordered their release from detention centers. A total of 73 foster children were locked up for weeks or months in the Cook County juvenile temporary detention center without pending charges during 2021, according to an analysis of court and DCFS records.

Famine in Africa reaches a new crisis level. About 20% of Africans, or 278 million people, were facing hunger in 2021, according to a report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. The situation has only gotten worse since then — especially in Somalia and other parts of East Africa. Reuters reports:

Conflict and climate change are the long-term causes. Heavy debt burdens following the COVID-19 pandemic, rising prices and war in Ukraine have made things much worse as European aid has been sucked away, data and testimony from more than a dozen experts, donors, diplomats, medical staff and men and women in farms and marketplaces across nearly a dozen countries in Africa and beyond shows.

The West continues its slow escalation in Ukraine. The war in Ukraine and the West’s support for that country’s existential battle against Putin’s Russia is hardly undercovered. But there’s been a slow escalation in terms of both the weapons that are being provided to Ukraine and in the war aims, with the U.S. and its allies now talking about helping Ukraine take back Crimea, which Russia overran in 2014 — something the public may be less than fully aware of. Here’s the Times:

The new thinking on Crimea — annexed illegally by Russia in 2014 — shows how far Biden administration officials have come from the start of the war, when they were wary of even acknowledging publicly that the United States was providing Stinger antiaircraft missiles for Ukrainian troops.

A new drug menace hits the streets. A drug known as “tranq,” a mix of fentanyl and the animal tranquilizer xylazine, is wreaking havoc in urban centers where homeless people congregate, resulting in the loss of life and — literally — limb. Tranq was the subject of a recent in-depth report in the Times, but the news has not yet become widely known among the public. From the Times story:

Xylazine causes wounds that erupt with a scaly dead tissue called eschar; untreated, they can lead to amputation. It induces a blackout stupor for hours, rendering users vulnerable to rape and robbery. When people come to, the high from the fentanyl has long since faded and they immediately crave more. Because xylazine is a sedative and not an opioid, it resists standard opioid overdose reversal treatments.

What’s behind the Boston housing crisis? Though it’s well-known that there is a critical shortage of housing in the Boston area and that rents are skyrocketing, the causes and possible solutions are poorly understood. An article in Forbes found that the average monthly rent in Boston is now in the range of $3,400, making the city as expensive as San Francisco, long known for its out-of-control housing costs. Mayor Michelle Wu has introduced a rent-control ordinance, and she has also proposed abolishing the Boston Planning and Development Agency. A Boston magazine profile of Wu’s choice to head the BPDA (at least until it’s abolished), Arthur Jemison, looks at whether the agency could possibly be part of the solution:

As Jemison began to speak, there was no doubting the enormity of the task before him. He knew that reforming the system was unavoidable. Business as usual had left too many people behind during Boston’s resurgence, and the city needed more environmentally friendly and affordable housing. At the same time, some disgruntled developers were suggesting that taking their business from Boston to less-demanding regulatory environments such as New Hampshire would spare them the headache—and profit loss—of complying with Boston’s aggressive requirements, especially given the sky-high construction costs and rising interest rates that were making real estate projects increasingly difficult to get off the ground just about everywhere.

Harassing the homeless at Boston’s South Station. I was so impressed by what my students found that I decided to add one of my own: Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung’s report that homeless people are being chased out of South Station by private security guards at midnight even on nights when the temperature falls below 32 degrees, thus violating an agreement reached with city and state officials in 2015. What’s worse, the MBTA gave the Globe information that turned out to be wrong. Leung writes:

In an e-mail, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo insisted that “the station is not ‘locked up’ at 11 p.m.” Pesaturo would later add that the property management firm confirmed to him that it’s “a 24/7 operation.”

I decided to see for myself and went with a Globe photographer to South Station one evening earlier this month. Shortly after 11 p.m., as the last of the day’s commuter trains departed, we heard a message over the public address system: “This building and the commuter rail will be closing soon. Thank you.”

Update (Feb. 1): Leung posted a follow-up Tuesday evening reporting that Gov. Maura Healey has intervened. Once again, homeless people will be allowed to stay at North Station overnight when it’s colder than 32 degrees — just in time for the record cold that’s coming Friday night into Saturday.

WSJ columnist: Russian interference got Trump elected in 2016

Well, well, well. Someone needs to translate this into English, but I think that Holman Jenkins — a hard-right columnist for The Wall Street Journal — is saying that the Russians got Donald Trump elected in 2016. Here’s a free link. Jenkins’ main purpose is to rip the FBI for inserting itself into the electoral process, but this tumbled out in the process:

The fictitious email [between Debbie Wassserman Schultz, then head of the Democratic National Committee and Leonard Benardo of the Open Society Foundation] referred to a presumably equally fictitious conversation between the Clinton campaign’s Amanda Renteria and Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch about making sure the Clinton server investigation didn’t “go too far.” The words found their way into a Russian intelligence document, which found its way to the FBI, becoming the justification for FBI chief James Comey’s chaotic actions in the 2016 election, which likely elected Mr. Trump.

The Herald boasts about pushing the state to remove gun records from public view

The Boston Herald is very proud of itself for getting the state to withdraw gun records from public view that could identify buyers and sellers. Under the headline “Herald Gets Action! Gun sale data shared by the state taken down,” Matthew Medsger writes:

The state has reversed course on a plan to share potentially identifying information contained in decades of gun transactions it had recently posted online following complaints by gun rights groups and inquiries by the Herald.

Last week, the Herald learned the state had released about two decades worth of firearms sales and transfer data via the mass.gov website and that a pair of gun rights advocacy groups were calling for the removal of the files from public review.

The two groups involved in pushing for the reversal were the Gun Owners’ Action League and Commonwealth Second Amendment.

Veteran investigative reporter Beth Healy, currently with WBUR Radio, tweeted, “It’s a dark day when a newspaper touts suppressing information for the public. Journalists work to shed light on things the government keeps secret. No more pressing issue in America than #GunViolence.”



The Friday reading list

On this Friday morning, I’ve got three stories that I think are worth sharing with you. This is not the debut of a regular feature, but from time to time I run across good journalism that I want to put out there without much in the way of commentary. That’s what we used to use Twitter for, right?

The Washington Post isn’t going to be fixed anytime soon. Those of us who follow the trials and tribulations of The Washington Post have assumed that longtime publisher Fred Ryan had at least one foot on the proverbial banana peel. But according to Clare Malone, writing in The New Yorker, Ryan has emerged as more powerful than ever since the retirement of Marty Baron as executive editor. He seems to have no fresh ideas for reversing the Post’s declining fortunes, but Bezos apparently likes him. It doesn’t sound like Baron’s successor, Sally Buzbee, shares Bezos’ affection for Ryan, but she lacks the clout that the legendary Baron had.

Questions about the police killing of Tyre Nichols. MLK50: Justice Through Journalism is among the projects that Ellen Clegg and I are writing about in “What Works in Community News,” our book-in-progress. The website, based in Memphis, focuses on social justice issues. In a list of questions that need to be answered about Nichols’ death, this one stands out: “Since 2015, Memphis police have killed at least 15 people. How many people would need to die at the police’s hands before city leaders concede that the latest incident isn’t an indictment of a few bad apples, but reflects an institution that requires immediate overhaul?”

The Durham investigation was as corrupt it appeared. New York Times reporters Charlie Savage, Adam Goldman and Katie Benner go deep (free link) into Bill Barr and John Durham’s years-long effort to discredit the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and to somehow drag Hillary Clinton into it. The best quote is from Robert Luskin, a lawyer who represented two witnesses Durham interviewed: ““When did these guys drink the Kool-Aid, and who served it to them?”

More details on Closing the Gap, the Globe’s new project on racial wealth disparities

Millions March Boston against police brutality and systemic racism. Photo (cc) 2014 by Tim Pierce.

Two weeks ago I broke the news that The Boston Globe is launching a grant-supported project called Closing the Gap, which will “explore the racial wealth gap in Boston and beyond.” Now the Globe itself is making it official, reporting that the paper will begin the project with a $750,000 grant from the Barr Foundation.

Despite The Barr Foundation’s funding, the Globe will have complete editorial control over the initiative,” according to the Globe’s story about the project. “The team will operate similarly to The Great Divide, a team of Globe journalists focused on investigating race, class, and inequality in Boston-area schools, and that is also partially funded by Barr.”

The story also says that the intent is to build on its 2017 Spotlight series “Boston. Racism. Image. Reality,” which was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. A search committee for an editor-in-chief will comprise metro editor Anica Butler, business columnist Shirley Leung and senior assistant managing editor Jeneé Osterheldt.

Although the story doesn’t say so, I would imagine that incoming editor Nancy Barnes will have a say as well. Barnes will succeed longtime editor Brian McGrory on Feb. 1, when McGrory leaves to chair Boston University’s journalism department. McGrory explained the purpose behind Closing the Gap in an email to the staff, a copy of which I received from a trusted source:

Hey all,

We’ve made issues of inequality a focus of our coverage for many, many years, a mandate because Boston is one of the most unequal places on the planet. We’ve done award-winning work, like Spotlight’s 2017 race series and the Valedictorians Project. We’ve dedicated the Great Divide team to looking at the manifestation of inequality in our public schools. We have imbued inequality into so many of our key beats. It has all been utterly vital.

Which is why I’m delighted to share the news that we’ve received a grant for $750,000 a year to build a team to focus on the racial wealth gap in Boston and beyond. The grant comes from the Barr Foundation. We’ll dedicate resources of our own, and use the grant to hire a team leader and several additional journalists who will probe the causes of this seismic gap in wealth, the impact it has on life in Boston, and how it can be addressed.

This won’t only be a news team, or an enterprise team, or a projects team. It will be all that and more. Its metabolism will be high. Its approach will be thoughtful. Its work will be approachable and provocative. The gap has been pondered in plenty of deeply researched white papers that sit on high shelves. We intend to bring it to life, vividly exposing its consequences and rigorously exploring solutions. In short, we’ll look at how we got to a place where the average Black family has a net worth of $8 and white families have $247,000, and how do we get out.

As Barr has recently focused much of its mission on issues of racial equity, we engaged them in conversation about our work. Anica Butler and Shirley Leung put together a brilliant proposal that will serve as a blueprint for what this team will be and should accomplish. The grant was made in swift fashion.

The Barr Foundation has funded a good part of our Great Divide team for the past three-plus years. That experience has shown us just how much Barr appreciates the role of journalism in civic life – and how much it respects the firewall between us. On the wealth gap team, as with the education team, Barr has no say, no role, in what we produce.

The first order of business is finding an editor to oversee the team, which will live in Metro. If you’re interested, or you want to recommend someone, please reach out to Anica, Shirley, or Jeneé. We’re launching an initiative that is breaking new ground in our industry and will have a massive impact on our region. More to come as it unfolds.