Non-profit

CommonWealth Beacon

Type:

Local News Affiliate

Formation:

1996

Editor:

Bruce Mohl

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

CommonWealth Beacon (Beacon) is a news organization based in Boston that reports on government, public policy, and politics. While claiming to be nonpartisan in news coverage, it is directly funded by the left-of-center States Newsroom, and much coverage focuses on left-of-center groups and ideas. Opinion articles tend to be left-leaning and the Beacon’s podcast covers left-leaning topics and guests. 1 2

News articles have covered raising the minimum wage, labor union perspectives, global warming, removing fossil fuels, and ending high school graduation requirements. Opinion pieces have claimed labor unions are making progress and will lead the next industrial revolution, called for legislation to promote teacher diversity, argued for increasing taxes and fees to support transportation projects, and advocated all students should have access to after-school and summer programs. 3

History

The CommonWealth Beacon is published by the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth (MassINC) and began in 1996 as a printed quarterly journal known as CommonWealth. 4 In 2018, CommonWealth became an online only publication with a daily newsletter. 5 In 2023, CommonWealth became the CommonWealth Beacon with expanded coverage of state and local governments, politics, and public policy in Massachusetts. 6

Content

The CommonWealth Beacon focuses on ballot questions, education, energy, healthcare, housing, politics, transportation, and opinion articles. 7 Under ballot questions, the Beacon has reported on groups promoting a ballot campaign to allow psychedelics in therapy, a ballot initiative on classifying ride-share drivers as contractors that mainly presents labor-union views and those of other groups opposed to the initiative, raising the minimum wage for tipped workers, and covering the teachers union’s perspective on an initiative to end high school graduation requirements. 8

News articles on energy have focused on coal power plants closing, global warming, wind farms, electricity retailers not saving customers sufficient money, solar power, ad campaigns promoting fighting global warming, and conventional-energy-free construction projects. 9

Opinion articles have included authors calling for a revival of organized labor and re-writing laws to favor unions, arguing that unions are key for the next industrial revolution, increasing fees and taxes for increased transportation funding, redesigning or eliminating standardized tests for students, advocating all students should have access to afterschool and summer programs, promoting action against global warming, calling on legislation to promote teacher diversity, and promoting legislation to prohibit animals at circuses. 10

The CommonWealth Beacon runs a podcast that has promoted issues such as increasing a mandatory minimum wage to $20 and constructing monuments to equity, and hosts labor-union leaders on various topics. 11 The CommonWealth Beacon also provides an “In-Depth” section that provides thoroughly researched longer articles of unseen stories around the state. 12

Funding

The CommonWealth Beacon receives funding from foundations, corporations, businesses, individuals, and other nonprofit entities as well as its parent organization MassINC. 13 While stating the Beacon will not accept donations that affect its journalism, the Beacon will accept donations from groups to cover particular topics but states that will not influence what is written. 14 CommonWealth Beacon’s largest institutional support outside of MassINC itself is from the left-leaning news consortium States Newsroom. 15

Leadership

Bruce Mohl has been the editor of the CommonWealth Beacon since 2007. 16 Mohl oversees production of the CommonWealth Beacon and additionally writes with a focus on transportation, energy, and climate issues. 17 Mohl previously worked for the Boston Globe covering business and politics for almost 30 years. 18

References

  1. “About the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth.” Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://massinc.org/about-us/.
  2. “Financial Policies.” CommonWealth Beacon. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://commonwealthbeacon.org/about/finances/.
  3. “News.” CommonWealth Beacon. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://commonwealthbeacon.org.
  4. “About the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth.” Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://massinc.org/about-us/.
  5. “History.” CommonWealth Beacon. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://commonwealthbeacon.org/about/.
  6. “History.” CommonWealth Beacon. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://commonwealthbeacon.org/about/.
  7. “News.” CommonWealth Beacon. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://commonwealthbeacon.org.
  8. “Ballot Questions.” CommonWealth Beacon. Accessed April 29, 2024. https://commonwealthbeacon.org/education/teachers-unions-mcas-ballot-question-draws-opponents/.
  9. “Energy.” CommonWealth Beacon. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://commonwealthbeacon.org/energy/.
  10. “Opinion.” CommonWealth Beacon. Accessed April 29, 2024. https://commonwealthbeacon.org/voices/.
  11. “The Codcast.” CommonWealth Beacon. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://commonwealthbeacon.org/codcast/
  12. “CommonWealth In Depth.” CommonWealth Beacon. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://commonwealthbeacon.org/in-depth/.
  13. “Financial Policies.” CommonWealth Beacon. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://commonwealthbeacon.org/about/finances/.
  14. “Financial Policies.” CommonWealth Beacon. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://commonwealthbeacon.org/about/finances/.
  15. “Financial Policies.” CommonWealth Beacon. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://commonwealthbeacon.org/about/finances/.
  16. “Bruce Mohl.” CommonWealth Beacon. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://commonwealthbeacon.org/about/people/bruce-mohl/; “Bruce Mohl Named Editor of CommonWealth Magazine.” MassINC. December 5, 2007. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://massinc.org/2007/12/05/bruce-mohl-named-editor-of-commonwealth-magazine/
  17. “Bruce Mohl.” CommonWealth Beacon. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://commonwealthbeacon.org/about/people/bruce-mohl/.
  18. “Bruce Mohl.” CommonWealth Beacon. Accessed April 25, 2024. https://commonwealthbeacon.org/about/people/bruce-mohl/.
  See an error? Let us know!