Mission Hill 1002019-01-04T16:01:44+00:00

Mission Hill 100

The Mission Hill 100 project offers a neighborhood-based approach to linking narratives, datasets, and archival materials, helping the BRC team to think through the challenges of defining local geographies and the roles that community members have to play in curating and analyzing research on their neighborhoods.

Project team

Meg Heckman—Faculty, Journalism

Jonathan Kaufman—Faculty, Journalism

John Wihbey—Faculty, Journalism

Aleszu Bajak—Faculty, Journalism

Dan Zedek—Faculty, Journalism

Catherine McGloin—Graduate Student, Journalism

Zach Ben-Amots—Graduate Student, Journalism

Siyuan Sun—Graduate Student, Information Design and Visualization

Pilot outcomes

The Mission Hill 100 and BRC teams have created a prototype discovery interface for exploring the interviews in the collection; this page will soon have more finalized descriptive language, as well as links to the an updated Scope publication site and integrated visualizations related to the larger Mission Hill community (for an initial version of these visualizations see here). Read more about the pilot processes and outcomes here.

Project description

Journalism—especially when it’s practiced at the community level—is a statement about who we are now, an often provisional look at what unites us, what divides us and what ways we might move forward into the future. Often missing, however, is a full accounting of the relationship between the present and the past. The Mission Hill 100 project aims to fill that gap by connecting the experiences of modern Bostonians with relevant historical material available through the Boston Research Center.

Photo of a street in Mission Hill, with a bike lock area in the shape of the word "mission"

Image courtesy of The Scope.

The project team includes faculty members and students from Northeastern’s School of Journalism working to develop and refine methods for digital reporting that can bring together faculty, students, the Boston community, and professional journalists by linking interviews, data, narratives, and archival materials. Mission Hill 100 launched in early 2018 on the Scope, an experimental digital magazine focused on reporting “stories of justice, hope, and resilience in Boston.” It builds on the emerging nonfiction genre of instaessays by using Instagram to publish mini profiles of 100 Mission Hill residents in hopes of better understanding a neighborhood that is, in so many ways, a microcosm of Boston.

During the BRC prototyping phase, the project team explored augmenting Mission Hill 100 installments with additional data about gentrification, affordable housing, and immigration. These profiles, along with general information about the larger changes in the Mission Hill neighborhood, can provide deep, focused connections between the present and the past. They can demonstrate the potential for augmenting modern journalism with BRC data and archival materials. They also help the BRC team to think through the data structures that would be necessary to automate subject- or keyword-based linking between different collections in the BRC. 

Boundary map showing Mission Hill. Image courtesy of Boston Planning and Development Agency.

In the future, the Mission Hill 100 team envisions expanding their scope substantially, to provide training and resources that can support new ideas for storytelling by a variety of media organizations. The team imagines developing a community space for training and contact between the School of Journalism, libraries and archives, media partners, and the public.

This project rests at the intersection of several trends in journalism: a rise in partnerships between news organizations and libraries, the demand for new methods to help audiences make sense of increasing amounts of digital data and the need to do a better job of listening to all segments of the communities we cover.