They have profiled residents who live on Mission Hill, one of the most racially diverse neighborhoods in Boston. They have chronicled nonprofit organizations in Dorchester that tackle gender inequality in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields. And they have covered the lack of access to healthy food in neighborhoods across the city.
Northeastern students have been writing about such topical issues for more than two years as reporters for The Scope, a digital news magazine that covers stories in Greater Boston that other media outlets have overlooked.
“Our goal is to go in, listen, and provide a conduit for stories that might not be heard by mainstream journalism and transcend traditional community boundaries in a way that is of service,” says Meg Heckman, an assistant professor of journalism at Northeastern who advises the students who write for the publication.
The Scope was recently named one of 45 media outlets around the country to receive the Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship through a partnership with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. The fellowship enabled The Scope to hire Northeastern graduate Catherine McGloin to be the first full-time editor of the publication.
“We want to increase our web traffic, awareness of The Scope, and really crystallize who we are and what we stand for,” says McGloin, who graduated from Northeastern in 2019 with a master’s degree in journalism. “We want to get great content out there, and find those interesting stories that aren’t necessarily being heard.”
McGloin says The Scope is a great place for journalism students to get firsthand experience reporting on complex issues. As part of the fellowship, she will study First Amendment Law, media ethics, and storytelling techniques in training sessions led by professional journalists and then pass on what she learns to students who report for The Scope.
“On a basic level, it gets you out into the community, asking important and sometimes uncomfortable questions,” says McGloin. “It exposes you to a lot of different ideas, social attitudes, experiences, and as a journalist, that helps broaden your view on society and the world, which only makes you more receptive to new ideas.”
Heckman says she wants to expand The Scope to train people in the Greater Boston community to tell their stories.
“We are attempting to grow The Scope into an organization that supports media and journalism training for people from underrepresented communities in the city of Boston and beyond,” Heckman says. “We want to see The Scope as a place in which people whose voices and work have traditionally not been given the same value by mainstream journalism are given the opportunity to get those skills.”