This far along in the social media era, it is hardly an exaggeration to describe a beloved Facebook fan page like Dirty Old Boston (DOB) as a critical cultural institution. To help expand that legacy and to ensure that DOB continues spurring dialogue about oft-forgotten neighborhood history, the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism (BINJ) is joining forces with the DOB team starting in 2018. The partnership will include:

Regular “Throwback” feature collaborations between DOB and BINJ that connect contemporary news with historical headlines.
Distribution of DOB columns in community newspapers and area sites including DigBoston and binjonline.org.
Joint BINJ and DOB community engagement events.

“There seems to be a general lack of institutional memory in Boston because it’s such a transient city,” said BINJ co-founder Chris Faraone, who will help coordinate the partnership. “Because of that, our nonprofit has used Throwback features to educate not only readers, but also our reporters about all that’s come before us. I have been a major fan and daily visitor to Dirty Old Boston for years, and I can’t think of a better comrade in our mission to inform the journalism that we do today with lessons from the past.”

Diehard DOB fans can expect the same steady stream of everyday Hub images predating 1990 that they have come to expect from the site. In addition to those old standbys, which are now on Instagram as well as Facebook, DOB founder Jim Botticelli and BINJ reporter Peter Roberge will explore the stories behind certain images in depth for special Throwback features. They will also work with BINJ to plan community engagement events that educate and entertain with a historical spin.


Dirty Old Boston, an interactive Facebook page that has yielded columns, a book, and an upcoming documentary film project covers the everyday lives of regular Bostonians as they lived, loved, worked, and played prior to 1990.


The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism produces bold reporting on issues related to social justice, and cultivates writers and multimedia producers to assist in that role. BINJ supports independent publications in various reportorial and organizational capacities, collaborates with partners on sustainable journalism and civic engagement initiatives, and aims to empower promising muckrakers with training and professional compensation.

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