How BINJ kicked off the cold months with a reader engagement carnival
Three months ago, the team at the BINJ decided to throw our most ambitious event yet. In the past we’ve had fundraisers at watering holes, hosted community panels on various topics, and set up pop-up newsroomsacross Boston and Cambridge — and for our second holiday party, we aimed to combine all of the above.
First and foremost, our plans involved a carnival with seriously unique attractions. Since that would seemingly require a significant amount of room, we picked Aeronaut Brewing Co. in Somerville, then spent the next two months watching The Price Is Right and fashioning our own games based on news we have reported in the past year. For example:
- For Pin the Sale on the Donkey, players have to match the heads of Massachusetts politicians to the lobbyists who fund their campaigns.
- With Wheel of Boston, participants selected numbers drawn from BINJ columnist Jason Pramas’s columns about General Electric.
- Those who tried their hand at The Thirsty Game — based on BINJ staff writer Haley Hamilton’s multi-part feature on liquor license disparity — got a taste of just how difficult it is to open a restaurant in a low-income neighborhood.
Another game engaged participants on the topic of housing and gentrification, while even our featured guest performers, the Boston Typewriter Orchestra, fit in with the media theme. Thanks to them, to Stackz of Ashton Lites Dance & Creative Motivation for dropping by with some moves, and to Carolicious and the Somerville Arts Council for hooking up a special menu and outstanding fresh arepas for our Holiday BINJ.
Congratulations to all of our silent auction winners, and a million thanks to the donors and everyone who joined us and especially to those who contributed. With a $5,000 gift from the Hangover Pub of Worcester for our new F.I.G.H.T. program, in which we are working with people in recovery to make media about the opiate crisis, we made far more than we ever expected to help fund community journalism. The support coming our way has increased since the election, and we hope to keep up the momentum.