Joyce Pellino Crane, former editor of the Westford Eagle, has joined Westford Community Access Television as its multimedia news director.
Crane comes to the local station with 14 years experience covering Westford, a community of 22,000, located northwest of Boston.
Under her guidance, WestfordCAT will provide hyperlocal news to its subscribers and viewers, blending articles, video clips and podcasts that will optimize its information delivery. The move reflects a nationwide trend among community access stations as they step in to fill the void in local news left by community newspapers.
“As the commercial media industry continues to consolidate and regionalize, local news has all but disappeared,” said WestfordCAT Executive Director Lauren Horton. “As a non-profit corporation, WestfordCAT is poised to focus its efforts on genuine local coverage, leveraging community participation to gather and share local news.”
The trend was underscored in August at the 2016 annual conference of the Minneapolis-based Alliance for Community Media which presented such workshops as “Local investigative reporting on a shoestring,” and “Community and local news programs: filling the gap of local news in your community.” This year’s conference took place in Boston.
Crane arrived in Westford in 2002 as a Boston Globe correspondent assigned to cover five Merrimack Valley communities, including Westford. She provided biweekly local and regional news stories for Globe Northwest until March 2009. Crane was a regular contributor to the Globe’s opinion page, Metro, Business, BostonWorks, and Lifestyle sections among others.
In April 2010 she joined GateHouse Media as editor of the Eagle and took over the Littleton Independent in June 2013.
“The newspaper industry has changed dramatically over the past decade with thousands of journalism jobs lost to bleeding subscriptions and waning advertising dollars,” said Crane. “The old business model can no longer sustain the business of covering local and regional news. At WestfordCAT we’ll take an innovative approach and work creatively to bring the story of Westford to its residents.”
Between 2011 and 2016 Crane received numerous journalism awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association, and was recognized this year by the Best of GateHouse for editorial writing. The Eagle received an honorable mention as GateHouse’s newspaper of the year.
“It was important to our board of directors to find a candidate that could hit the ground running, and who understood the people and the issues that are of interest to our viewers and readers,” said Ira Keltz, president of WestfordCAT. “Joyce clearly fits the bill and we are thrilled to have her on board.”
Crane holds a master’s degree in business administration from Boston-based Suffolk University, where she was the recipient of a merit-based fellowship, and a bachelor’s of science degree in broadcasting and film from Boston University.
She is a former resident of Westford and her two sons are alumni of Westford Academy.
Throughout the years, she has covered a number of major community issues in Westford, including land preservation, economic development, growth, education, environmental concerns, domestic violence and governmental decisions.
With Crane’s arrival, WestfordCAT will resume immediately its daily news blog posts on westfordcatnews.org, and its weekly news telecasts on Sept. 16.