Sunday blog: Why is airing out our dirty laundry on TV such a good idea for Wellington?

first_imgCommentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — I googled the “Jerry Springer Show” before writing this editorial. I legitimately wondered if the show known for barbaric people throwing chairs at one another was still on TV. According to the trusty Wikipedia page, it most certainly is. It has been on for 25 years and is still going strong. Wow, 25 years.The reason I bring up Jerry Springer, a show I rarely think about and God forbid actually watch, is it serves as a metaphor. It is the ultimate public humiliation show. It sets people up to look foolish in front of millions for their viewing pleasure. There are people who want attention, and there are plenty out there willing to let them have it.I tend to think in some ways when a Wichita television station news truck pulls into Wellington to do a “fact finder” or a “news on your side” expose, Wellington, as a whole, is about took look like those saps on the Springer show. There is something rotten happening in Wellington. And the rest of the state needs to know about it.This week, a news story surfaced on Wichita TV about our high utility rates. That is a legitimate concern and people have reason to complain. But my problem isn’t the subject matter as it is becoming a statewide news story. The routine is always the same whether it be no more horses in the parade, a silly football skirmish, or the hospital closing when it is not. Newscasts are single dimensional. A TV reporter talks to about three or four individuals, including someone “on the street” who usually has little idea what the subject matter is about, leaves town, edits the story and puts it on the news broadcast later that evening.There rarely is a follow up, or if the problem has been solved.And I’m usually perplexed. Why would someone in Salina care about Wellington’s high utility rates? Where is the statewide news interest? Do I care if say, they have high utility rates in Garden City?Perhaps, the worst story I’ve seen our Wichita media friends do for Wellington was last May. Wellington smelled. The Wellington City Wastewater Treatment Plant was needing to get rid of some sludge and a farmer south of town was eager to have it for fertilization purposes. It happens every year and usually goes unnoticed.But this year a few unfortunate things occurred at the same time. It was rainy and humid that weekend, the wind was blowing from the south, and from what I gathered the farmer had either not had time or could not get into the field to cultivate it into the soil. Also, it was graduation weekend. Ugh.The aroma was suffocating across town. People couldn’t go outside. They couldn’t eat. They were dying.And one TV station took it upon itself  to film our angst.  It was important to inform the state of Kansas that Wellington was smelling like, well, manure. If I remember right, the smell dissipated about the time the story came out. Our world had collapsed. And yet somehow the only smell we were getting that evening was the one coming out of our television sets.Listen, I have a working relationship with the Wichita television stations. They are doing their jobs and they produce some good stuff. They have 30 minutes of news to fill every time they go on air in the morning, afternoon, evening at 10 p.m. Television reporters are no different than their newspaper counterparts. They have corporate bosses who heap unreasonable demands on them with little pay — all for the need for high viewing ratings.I’m not here to demand them to stop doing these awful stories on Wellington. They won’t. It’s their job.All I’m saying is, do we need to be so willing to help them out?Wellington in many ways is an easy target for TV news.We are less than an hour from Wichita – which is a nice trip south on the turnpike. You think TV news reporters are doing stories about Goodland’s high utility rates? It’s too time consuming and not cost effective.Plus, we have a very healthy local media landscape for a town this size. Of course you have Sumner Newscow, a local paper, a local cable company, a Steve Sturgis website, and a local radio station, which from the look of things might no longer be so local. This means our news are readily available to the area media.We also have a very active community. Wellington still has an autonomy in a suburbia area. We are rooted in tradition and most of the people here come from multi-generational families. In some ways, that make us more emotional about issues, because we have more of a connection to our community.So why is it so important to inform the rest of Kansas about the worst we have to give? It is as if we are guests on the Jerry Springer Show.I have always taken issue when people have a problem with a local business and take it to Facebook to complain. What can Facebook readers do about your lousy waitress or the fact the toilet was clogged. Take your complaint to the owner. Don’t make it into a social media public crisis.Same thing goes with calling the TV stations. Are you really solving your problem, or are you making the community as a whole a target for ridicule?Here’s the thing. Those people who were brawling on the Jerry Springer Show, screaming and kicking and crying – will inevitably go home. I bet most of them have a job. They probably have children depending on them. They, like anyone else, probably are seeking a better life for themselves.Only now, they are saddled with the burden of being that guy/gal on television who threw a chair on Jerry Springer.Our community has problems. There is no doubt. But our community has a lot of great things going for us as well if you choose to look for it. You can see it on a Friday night at a football game, or hordes of people attending the Wheat Festival. We have the best looking water tower in Kansas. Our lake is a hidden treasure. And when it comes to convenience – matching small town living with available urban amenities just down the road – Wellington is hard to beat.Sumner Newscow is always featuring an alumnus who has gone on to do great and wonderful things. And, dang, no one rallies around a successful high school sports team, quite like Wellington. You always knew when the Wellington’s girls basketball team was playing in a state tournament game last March, because the Salina Bicentennial Center suddenly filled up with people.I maintain our problems are very common – not better or worse – than any other small Midwestern town in America. My wife and I could have lived anywhere in this nation. But we chose to raise our children here in Wellington. Why? Because we think it is a great town.And to be fair to the TV news people, Wellington is not the only town getting picked on. I think I saw something on Newton the other day, but I didn’t really care. In reality, those people with no affiliation with our community probably don’t care or are watching the “Wellington is going to hell in a hand basket” stories either. And, perhaps, I only notice Wellington stories because it is my home.Still…. it is a derogatory TV newscast on Wellington, and that makes me feel really, really bad. And I feel bad for us.It’s the wrong message.Wellington is a great town. Why tell the rest of Kansas any different?Follow us on Facebook.Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! 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Thank you for your input. +19 Vote up Vote down Tom Henning · 208 weeks ago No offense, but I think people reach out to a bigger media source when they feel the local media isn’t working for them. I agree that it puts Wellington in a bad light, but hey, look how many people are getting involved in the discussion now. You yourself must have had a feeling this wasn’t right a year and a half or so ago. I still can’t find the article. You took the comments down. I was thrilled when facts started coming out in the comments that obviously weren’t in the article you wrote. Maybe they were going to be in part 2? Yes unfortunately some of the comments turned into personal attacks and I understand your position. If you delete just some of them it makes it look like you are taking sides, or God forbid “censoring”. I appreciate that. When you run a media source that many of us enjoy to look at, it’s very hard to take a neutral uncensored view on that when the comments turn ugly. When you take your kids to the beach and 4 of them make beautiful sand castles, and the 5th one makes something horribly insulting, vulgar and mean, you don’t stomp all five works of art. You stomp one of them. Stomping the vulgar sand works of art in the comments selectively causes even more drama, so I get that. So now with your article about relying on local media, the hard facts of a few residents, and tons of unanswered questions, what is the next step here Tracy? If you want to keep big media out, will you step up to the plate and do some fact finding for us? I’m open to proposals. I feel that I am getting closer to my answers again, much like I was several years ago, and then I got that feeling again before the comments got wiped and the second part of the article never ran. Come meet with me. Email me. Call me. Tom Report Reply 4 replies · active 208 weeks ago +10 Vote up Vote down jj little · 208 weeks ago the other news reporters are just trying to show what a joke our city councils are. And how poorly they represent the people anymore. Report Reply 0 replies · active 208 weeks ago +8 Vote up Vote down Wellington native · 208 weeks ago I can see both sides of that story. The City Utility Rates are an issue. They have a cost on the bill that matches or exceeds what we use. I was told it is to replace lines and equipment, but I still see the plastic falling off the electric lines exposing bare wires in my neighborhood. I’d like to think we are getting our moneys worth, but I seriously question it. Our Lake is not really a treasure, I have broken many props on the lake and my buddy was impaled by a piece of rebar just below the water surface near the sides. Report Reply 0 replies · active 208 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down james · 208 weeks ago Good points. The Ark City hospital is in worse shape and the city has bailed them out a lot .. Monday Ark CIty is planning on raising utility rates significantly .. Not a word on the Wichtia tv stations.. because as Tracy said .. There are like 4 media outlets in Wellington and Wichita stations monitor them > There are fewer outlets in Ark CIty, and its not on the free way , so its more of a hassle. Wellington is not alone. Its struggles are the same as other rural areas. It has some good things .. Report Reply 0 replies · active 208 weeks ago +8 Vote up Vote down Redkitty · 208 weeks ago Tracy, this is a good article…Wellington is a good city, its just the people running it that make it look and feel bad. My husband retired from the City of Wellington after 35 years, only to get our health insurance raised 175% and then another 30% raised on our utilities, how can we make it…well we will survive through it all. Its just sad that we have to do it at someone else’s expense. The only thing we can do is put it in GOD’s hands. Report Reply 0 replies · active 208 weeks ago +6 Vote up Vote down I.B. Well · 208 weeks ago Sounds like that small town “what will people think” mentality. If you don’t want bad news spread around, then it best be taken care of here at home. The squeaky wheel gets the most grease. Report Reply 0 replies · active 208 weeks ago +35 Vote up Vote down outside looking in · 208 weeks ago Lets start with the council not talking to the media. Shelleys answer “It is what it is and I wish there would be some way to provide relief,” said Wellington Mayor Shelley Hansel, “But right now we don’t have that answer yet.” “It Is what it is” may not have been the best way to answer Report Reply 1 reply · active 208 weeks ago +13 Vote up Vote down Megan Rahe · 208 weeks ago Why hasn’t anyone asked the City of Wellington Utility Director for an explanation? The reason for rate increases could have several underlying factors and he could explain them better than anyone else. Report Reply 0 replies · active 208 weeks ago +11 Vote up Vote down Jeff · 208 weeks ago There has been malfeasance both before and during this regime. It is now affecting our well being. This kind of malfeasance, or nonfeasance, is exactly what the public cannot tolerate. Report Reply 0 replies · active 208 weeks ago +9 Vote up Vote down Jeff · 208 weeks ago This malfeasance has happened both before and after this regime. This malfeasance, or nonfeasance, is now affecting our well being. Attention *must* be paid. And from a level much higher than 67152. Report Reply 0 replies · active 208 weeks ago 12Next » Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. 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