Merrimack explosions and a preview of our gun series

Plus our latest news, columns, and features

Dear Friends & Supporters,

We actually had this email ready to ship more than a week ago. Then a series of explosions shook the Merrimack Valley, and our course shifted dramatically.

From public transit to utility monopolies, infrastructure and neglect are topics that we touch on often. Which is to say that we are committing to long-term coverage of the impacted communities as well as the politics fueling the problem.

We will be aggregating reports from various outlets doing critical work, and also producing original reporting. As anyone who has seen the TV ads for big gas companies during coverage of the crisis recognizes, it’s important that there is an independent lens put on these issues.

Please help us continue this work. To see some of the directions that we are already exploring on the topic, check out my own dispatch from Lawrence, our Apparent Horizon column by award-winning columnist Jason Pramas, and this ground-level perspective from Beyazmin Jimenez titled “The City of Lawrence Can’t Breathe.”

-Chris Faraone, Editorial Director


Since the beginning of this year, our team has examined hundreds of state purchasing agreements, for everything from heavy crime-fighting equipment to consumables for laser printers.

Of the many arrangements that caught our attention, one particular contract for firearms and various other munitions stood out as especially dubious, with state-side purchasers and private vendors alike operating in an unchecked fashion.

In certain cases, vendors that were recently caught running afoul of state law have continued to sell weapons to Massachusetts law enforcement agencies. For most of those procurements, there was no competitive bidding.

As a bonus for subscribers to this newsletter, we will be sharing this important feature with you first. Keep an eye out for it in your inbox next week. And if you think your friends or colleagues would like to read this first installment of “Fire Sale,” the sign up form is right here.



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BINJ is working on several new projects, but we still need to do more. Remember - when you back local journalism, you back all your favorite causes at once.