“SOME KIND OF REPORTER-FOR CHANNEL 13, THE PUBLIC ACCESS STATION”

First of all I have utmost respect for the Telegram and it’s staff. I really like the T&G. I read and depend on their coverage of local and non-local news. The paper is a very important part of Worcester. I appreciate the paper’s long standing support of the work we do at WCCA TV. We are happy to place ads in the paper as well.

The above quote was something I read in Sunday’s Telegram in an article titled “Sights and Sounds from the GOP State Convention”. The article appears to be written by Shaun Sutner, John Monahan, Andi Esposito and Linda Block as credited.

In the article one of the writers sighted Konnie Lukes, former Mayor of Worcester and currently City Councilor At Large, as being present at the GOP convention as
“. . . some kind of reporter – for Channel 13, the public access TV station”. I guess they were surprised to see her there because she is a known democrat and the writers apparently thought, that because of that, her presence there was a bit unusual.

I am commenting on the quote taken out of context. The subtly of it, prompted me to write. Not to complain or criticize but to clarify what might be missed between the lines.

WCCA community volunteer producers/journalist are in deed “some kind of reporters”, however although not always necessarily “for” WCCA TV 13 aka channel 13, but sometimes, for themselves as independent entities. Although in Konnie’s case, in that instance, she has expressed that she was interested in covering the event to share her work with WCCA’s “Community Vision News” magazine as well as possibly, pending her discretion, using it on her show “Coffee with Konnie”.

I take pride to write that WCCA community volunteer/producers are “some kind of reporters”! I say it with an exclamation point. They have been producing and presenting video journals for decades, since literally 1986. In fact WCCA members have been producing and presenting local video journals and blogs, long before any of our local newspapers and other print outlets and as well as radio stations have. That is one story you rarely read or hear about.

It amazes me how cutting edge and prolific WCCA TV and the works of our membership really is. For literally decades, WCCA volunteers have been and are out nearly every day of the week covering events, press releases, producing local TV shows, blogging, engaging in community dialog, and more. There is plenty of room for both commercial media ( news papers, radio and TV) and a charitable non-profit institution such as WCCA TV 13. In addition to the robust blogging/online community, Worcester has a very rich and diverse media culture. Do not underestimate the power and reach of public access TV.

There is no event too small or too big, for WCCA’s community producers, niche programming is our strong suite. WCCA’s reach is also remarkable. I received an email yesterday from a woman firefighter in Canada, who requested a copy of a documentary WCCA produced about ten years ago, “Surrounded By Love”, which documented, in a touching way, how Worcester reacted to the loss of our six fallen firefighter heroes.

After I answered her request, I checked on line and found we had WCCA members covering the Republican Convention and the first Worcester’s Veg Fest while another was editing a new music video, the station was presenting a television workshop, and another member was producing a youth news packet.

That was just another typical Saturday for WCCA. Ironically that is some kind of story to report, however, I did not see or hear mention, anywhere, of the VegFest, or Young Views Real News, or that local music video, and all the other great work people, your neighbors, interns and students, community volunteers, are doing everyday at WCCA. I did read plenty in the commercial venues about the convention though. That was good, covered very well and professionally, but, although it may be important news, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea and that is why niche programming is a good thing.

Let’s hope the Republican and Democrat leadership as well, understands and continues to support the valuable work public access centers do and how important it is for every community to give voice to the people in a public access television forum. I hope these leaders will work to ensure public access stations, especially non-profit centers such as WCCA TV, are protected and remains vibrant. When you see a WCCA community video journalist, or reporter, or TV host , think about referring to them as some kind of appropriate title such as “community journalist” or “community TV producer”. Don’t be afraid to mention the public access station name and by line while you are at it: WCCA TV 13, “The People’s Channel”. We are Worcester’s TV station, TV by, for, and of the people, and we are proud of that.

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