Opinions, Letter from the Editor

‘The Heights,’ ‘The Newton Beacon’ Partner To Boost Local News Coverage

The Heights and The Newton Beacon are partnering to boost local news coverage in the city and create new opportunities for student journalists at Boston College. 

The Beacon—a non-profit news site committed to covering Newton through nonpartisan reporting—will republish some of The Heights’ stories. 

The Heights has recently worked to enhance Newton coverage through enterprise journalism  and consistent beat coverage, reporting on important stories like public school job cuts, a proposed tax hike, and government meetings.

As part of the partnership, The Beacon will fund some of The Heights’ transportation expenses and create a paid internship program for one of its editors each summer. The Heights’ student journalists will continue to be the only ones planning, writing, and editing the award-winning paper’s Newton stories.

The partnership comes as non-profit journalism is ballooning across the country and student reporters are building up local news coverage.

From 2008 to 2020, newsroom employment fell 26 percent, according to a Pew Research Center report. As the industry has shrunk, non-profit outlets have stepped up to fill the void.

The Institute for Nonprofit News reported that the number of non-profit local news outlets has grown from fewer than 25 in 2009 to nearly 200 in 2023. The Newton Beacon, which launched in January, emerged after The Newton Tab, owned by newspaper conglomerate Gannett, canceled its weekly print edition in 2022. 

Student journalists have also made efforts to report on local news and fill the void. At the University of Missouri, Northwestern, and many other colleges, students provide leading local coverage. 

This new partnership will ideally streamline local news in Newton, allowing journalists to dedicate more time to watchdog coverage in the city of nearly 90,000.

October 20, 2023