Free news isn’t free

Free news isn’t free

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WHEN I CAME to work at CommonWealth in late 2008, we had four reporters putting out a print magazine four times a year.

Today, nine years later, the print magazine still goes out four times a year. But we also post stories and commentary on a daily basis on the CommonWealth website. We send out a daily news summary (The Download) by email every morning. We host a podcast (The Codcast) and email out a behind-the-scenes report (the Back Story) and a commentary (The Upload) once every week. And we do it all with three full-time employees, one less than we had in 2008.

That’s the reality today in journalism. More with less.

But it’s a reality that you, our readers, need to fully understand. We provide in-depth coverage of transportation, education, and energy and we produce periodic investigative pieces on issues of importance. We also encourage broader public debate by hosting opinion pieces from knowledgeable experts such as James Aloisi, John McDonough, Edward M. Murphy, and Carol Rose as well as a host of people from all walks of life across the state.

Our cover story in this issue is a good example of what we do.  Airbnb is a company that has rocketed to prominence by matching travelers looking for a deal with homeowners looking to make some extra money by renting out an extra room or an in-law apartment. Our story illustrates how this business has morphed into something much bigger, with investors buying units and even entire buildings in Boston and converting them into what are essentially Airbnb hotels. The conversions appear to be sucking thousands of housing units out of circulation at a time when city and state officials are desperately trying to increase the supply. All this is happening right under the noses of state lawmakers and city officials, who have been sitting on their hands for years when it comes to regulating the home-sharing industry.

This is nonprofit journalism at its best. At a time when news operations in Massachusetts are disappearing and those that are left are increasingly homogenized, CommonWealth does something few other outlets do. We don’t cover everything, but what we cover we cover pretty well. We’re the opposite of fake news.

For the last 20-plus years we’ve made all of our content available without paywalls or subscription fees. But, to quote an ad that appears in this issue, free news isn’t free. It costs a lot and we need your help to keep producing it.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

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