Editors’ Note: Launching ‘The Scope’

Social scientists and urban planners often compare cities to organisms. Each metropolis is a chaotic arrangement that somehow comes together to carry out a complex, organized function. We think of Boston that way, too.

The Scope's Founding Editors

Roxbury’s location at the city’s geographic center, and its history of activism and community, make it the heart of the city. The T is our nervous system, carrying our workers to places where they perform essential tasks. Our brains aren’t concentrated in one particular place. We’re more like an octopus that way, with our colleges, universities and public schools diffused throughout Boston’s neighborhoods.

Like all bodies, Boston has its illnesses and injuries. The white hot housing market has pushed many low- and middle-income families out of their neighborhoods. Violence — though it deeply impacts only a few neighborhoods in the city — leaves behind devastating consequences. Segregation makes Boston one of the most unequal cities in the United States.

We believe that, like medicine or vitamins, journalism fights such maladies. It seeks to balance the scales and give voice to marginalized groups, to uncover what lies beneath the surface and to hold the various parts of our complex systems accountable. Local news gathering is shrinking as the journalism industry weathers its own crisis, but accountability reporting is one of the most vital services journalism can offer.

As students in Northeastern University’s School of Journalism, we are poised to engage with residents of Boston’s resilient neighborhoods. For too long, journalism schools have sent students into neighborhoods with which they are unfamiliar, only to write stories that are graded and discarded. We want to break this cycle and offer a consistent landmark with which to build trust with the communities that neighbor our campus.

We felt this need in our reporting for Homicide Watch Boston. Our mission then — to document killings in the city — skimmed the surface; we wanted a platform that would dig deeper into injustice while also celebrating the joy in these neighborhoods. This project, previously known as The Docket, was our response.

Though the mission of this evolving organization will always be to shed light on the social problems — and solutions — that impact Boston residents, we find that our new name, The Scope, more accurately frames our work. It confirms our commitment to careful and thorough investigations, to the wide breadth of stories we’ll cover — already brimming in the neighborhoods around us — and to our role as observers and storytellers who hope to engage community members in our creative process.

-Brilee Weaver, Emily Hopkins and Priyanka Ketkar 

Founding Editors of the Scope