For the first time in a generation, Boston elected a new mayor in the fall of 2013. WBUR’s ambitious and highly regarded 2013 series, Boston’s Mayoral Race: Square by Square brought listeners and viewers to the neighborhoods and town halls of vibrant, changing communities around Boston. WBUR explored the race to replace Mayor Thomas Menino through the eyes of the residents who live and work in Boston and explored how some neighborhoods – or ‘squares’ in Boston vernacular – have changed in the 20 years since Menino was first elected, through written stories, compelling audio conversations, live, on-location broadcasts, community engagement through social media and arresting visuals and maps.
This project leveraged the best of digital and radio reports, coordinating among three local radio programs (Morning Edition, Radio Boston, and All Things Considered) and digital coverage focused on written, visual and conversational material. We tapped talented photographers, radio reporters and writers, with the directive to simply spend some time in these neighborhoods. What emerged were stories of delicate detail, like the profile of Arodorothy Wilson, the woman running the front desk at the Roxbury Boys and Girls Club but who is charged with guiding and inspiring generations of Roxbury kids, or the story about the ever-changing demographics of a neighborhood bar, where you can still discover scenes frozen in place from the 1960s and 70s.
This project truly took everyone’s talents in the newsroom to produce. We mined our social channels for subjects and ideas, and covered all our live broadcasts on Twitter and Facebook to bring in crowds not on location. We created new visual and navigation templates to showcase the best of the stories. We covered nine squares, shooting hundreds of photographs to capture the people and the places that make up Boston, along with more than 11 feature stories that captured the places, and most importantly, the people that make up Boston. All this cumulated with the actual election of a new mayor, which we covered with a live blog and an interactive map of the voting precincts.