Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Worcester's Online Media Explosion

For as long as I can remember Worcester has been a black hole as far as media is concerned. The Telegram and Worcester Magazine definitely do their fair share but aside from the work of Scott Zoback neither of the papers have really ever had that ear to the ground journalism that defines what it means to live work and play in the city of Woo. Television is a total wasteland aside from WCTR Channel 3 news on the cable (which seems to have zero web presence) and WCCA public access television. Radio has always been a little better with WXLO, WSRS and The Pike on the FM and WCRN (who still hjave no real website at all), and WTAG on the AM giving exposure to many things Worcester. Even Boston heavy weight WAAF hasn't forgotten their Worcester roots and probably pays the most attention to the city out of any of the Boston media outlets. WICN, WCUW, and WCHC are nice alternatives on the lower end of the dial as well.

I think that 2008 will be remembered as the year internet based media exploded in the city. Between all the blogs, the web video magazine Worcester Love and Mike Benedetti's informative 508 podcasts you really don't need to look much further then your computer anymore to figure out what is going on in Worcester at any given time.

The culmination of all this though and also a result of the fallout of Womag being sold seems to be the emergence of several online Worcester based news and magazine websites. Here is a quick rundown of some of them.

Worcester Wired is a site that seems to have just sprung up over the past month and looks like it may be the only one out of all of these sites so far that looks as though it may be positioning itself as an online challenger to Womag's alt weekly throne. It's a great looking site that appears easy to navigate and is probably worth at least a once a day stop.

Just like it's discontinued print version, Blank Canvas Magazine's new online version will be one to check in on every once in a while. The content that is here is great but I have a feeling that new content will be added quite sporadically. Still, when something is put up on the site it will certainly be worth your time.

No site is more a result of this online media explosion then Real Worcester. Launched just last week Real Worcester's goal is to be a one stop shopping location for all online Worcester news and info. All your favorite blogs and all your Telegram and Womag headlines are linked off of this site. Add to that that they are also going to have original content and this should be a fun site to watch develop. (Full disclosure: I have been tapped to do a weekly music column on the site as well as contribute other writing as I see fit).

I am not sure just how long ago it started but the grandaddy of sites like these has to Worcesterite.com. Worcesterite was formerly called Volcano Boy but changed it's name this year to reflect it's hometown and make it more inviting for people of all walks of life to peruse the information there. Almost more of a discussion board then anything else it is a great place to go to get some publicity for an event or to rant about the latest city council vote. As the elder statesman of Worcester's online community I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Worcesterite make a move in 2009 to put itself squarely at the front of this online media explosion.

2009 should prove to be a very fun year to watch the interwebs in Worcester. See you there.


Anonymous said...

I counted the number of blogs. Its about 15. Big deal That doesn't make us all interconnected.
Let's be honest Gabe. The great majority of Worcester blogs are lame and tired - everyone reprocessing something the T&G printed (who you don't give enough credit to). Everybody hates it. But everyone reads it. Let me ask you this, who do you log into everyday first? Betcha its the T&G.
And how much can one take of others peoples opinions? No one has a fresh perspective. Mediocrity is everywhere. The scene, as you call it, is over saturated with it.
Oh, and WOMAG/Zoback is boring. It's my opinion. But at least it's original.

Gabe said...

Ladies and gentleman the editor of the T&G.

Gabe said...

And no I don't go to the Telegram everyday.

Paulie's Point of View said...

we live in Worcester of course we are mediocre? If we had any talent we would be in Hollywood

Hay Gabe..all this talk about supporting urban stuff and you nevah shoped for my NOLA Festival

Gabe said...

I know Paulie and I am an awful awful person for it. Heard it was a real good time.

I am surprised it took you this long to give me shit about it.

Paulie's Point of View said...

I didn't say you were an awful person Gabe..lets not over react to a statement:>)

No sure why you expected shit from me Gabe but we can leave it at thet matey:>)

Anonymous said...

Ear to the ground? A cliche just like all the Worcester based sites. No one can touch all the bases. Anon is right, everyone just reposts what others post or plays off something the T&G writes. Its over saturation.
Banality reigns in Worcester.

Gabe said...


The T+G has no friggin idea what everyday life is like for someone living in Worcester and does not reflect it in the least.

The whole point of what I said about the blogs and about sites like Real Worcester and Worcesterite is that they are giving a snapshot from real Worcester citizens about what life is like here which the major media outlets aside from a few exceptions fail miserably at.

I am not talking about political reporting as much as cultural reflection.

I will repeat again what I have said many many many times on this site so far and hopefully will someday not have to say anymore.

If you are an outsider, someone who has just moved here or someone from outside the region you should be able to get a good feel for the city from it's major media outlets as you can in most cities. You can never get the whole picture but the media outlets should allow you to draw up a good map as far as exploring the city. The T+G fails at this and fails HUGE. Womag is not the best either but they are better. The blogs and sites that I mentioned do not do the job either but what they do is add to the info and definitely give a different perspective.

Even if you don't agree with commentary, even if it is on T+G articles being a different perspective, how can you argue that these sites aren't bringing to view a different lifestyle perspective on Worcester than the other outlets?

Gabe said...

The thing that I keep repeating that I forgot to even say in that comment is this:

When I moved to Baltimore, it took me exactly one week to narrow down where I wanted to live to about 5 or 6 neighborhoods. Almost 650,000 people, 100 sq miles, and over 200 defined neighborhoods and it took me one week to figure out what neighborhoods had the most amenities that catered to my particular lifestyle. Of course there was way more to explore once I moved in and I still didn't get to see everything but I was able to build a very very very solid map for exploration with what was easily accessible for information.

The available media, including the websites fail and fail miserably at this. However I solute the websites, most of which if not all are not businesses but just people putting their own time, effort and money into something, for not just adding accessible information and opinion to a region devoid of it, but also doing more than their fair share of promoting that information.

Anonymous said...

Gabe I just don't see all those different perspectives out there. The sites are all like lemmings, following the leader - over the cliff into banality.
Whether you like it or not the T&G is the pulse of Worcester, regardless of your age or perspective. And Jordan Levy is the local pundit, for good or worse, not some ranting fool named Melican, or those clowns at pie & coffee. Which is just a clique of hormonal deficient small minded neophytes passing themselves off as the new era of Worcesterite. Spewing insignificant and boring opinions about themselves. Those 508 things are just a repetition of what they write on their sites.

Your enthusiasm for Worcester is unfortunately misplaced.
Get real Gabe. Worcester is just - ahem - ok. Not even close to being a vibrant city. Way not close dude. Its a decaying city. Culturally and socially. But as I always say, its what you make of it.
And yes I am saving my money to eventually move out of here.
This is fun huh?
Next poster please...

Gabe said...

Cool. Please move.

Seriously. If you don't want to be here, anyone who doesn't want to be here should move. It's the people that don't want to be here that stay that contribute to the city being how it is. They aren't the whole cause, but are most definitely part of it.

So please, if you don't like it here either move or try to help make it better.

Anonymous said...

Gabe, he's right. And you fell for it. Then you tell him to move and tie some mumbo jumbo about his type.
You can't formulate a coherent and credible response to his taunts.
You lost credibility man. You just rant and rant man.

Gabe said...

I gave three completely coherent replies and now I am done. Go troll somewhere else please. Thanks.

It's amazing how the slightest ray of sunshine draws such ire.

4rilla said...

Maybe anonymous should create a blogger account and start his/her own blog since they seem to have a unique perspective on Worcester.

No name= No credibility.

Gabe said...

Paulie, everything I said about the horrible person and the shit giving was said with a wink and a chuckle.

Ahh, the interwebs.

Paulie's Point of View said...

I think the natives are restless and I don't blame them..I have had a few on my blog that I can tell are restless about the city..this is my second bad economic time in Worcester....

JR Moreau said...

Regenerated news is not a bad thing. The proliferation of ideas and PERSPECTIVES on ideas is very important to a community. Worcesterites having an inferiority complex (I'm guilty of that) is a big hurdle in the way of real progress.

I know so many people who LOVE Worcester but are frustrated about Worcester at the same time. I am a first generation college graduate working my butt of in a professional field of my choice. I can bring a lot to my neighborhood that my family could not. So, should I up and leave just because it's going to be hard?

I don't know the answer. I'm too young to know where I'll be for sure. But either way I'll ALWAYS support local Worcester businesses and writers whether or not print journalist hacks think they are "original."