This Thursday, September 7, the Channel 5 WCVB Boston station’s “Chronicle” program will air a segment about our funky city that may finally start to change the negative stereotype of New Bedford so often perpetuated by both local and regional media.
You know that narrative because you’ve probably read it many times over the years. They’re the stories that inevitably begin the same way….”New Bedford, the struggling city….” or, “New Bedford, the one-time whaling capital of the world which has fallen on hard times…”
It was refreshing to read the following promo announcement for the “Chronicle” segment, filmed in early August, which ditched those pejorative keywords:
“New Bedford Renewal
Winds of change are sweeping through this old seafaring city. Its quality of life and low cost of living are attracting new residents from the Boston area. Unemployment has plummeted, and additional jobs await at the state’s new offshore wind facility, located on the waterfront. Plus, New Bedford’s port remains the most profitable in the U.S.. Meanwhile, new green space and a spruced-up city center are restoring local pride. And, residents tell us, the local culture is enriched by New Bedford’s mix of natives, immigrants and other newcomers.”
I like it. In fact, I’m wondering if maybe they’ve been reading this blog!
Perception too often gets mistaken for reality – and many of us who have chosen to live, work and play in New Bedford get frustrated with the lingering negative connotations too many still attach to the city. Those stereotypes are simply out-of-date and don’t reflect what’s happening here.
“New Bedford Renewal” is the perfect headline. It reflects the city’s historic ability to adapt with the times – even if and when that has involved some growing pains. A city is a living, breathing thing, after all, and we all probably recognize in our own lives that change can sometimes be difficult.
But change is a plot point – not the entire story. Any worthwhile drama needs conflict and resolution to come alive. And, especially this past amazing summer, New Bedford has recently sprung to life in many new and unexpected ways. In fact, this co-working facility – Groundwork! – is one leading indicator of what’s going on in the city that speaks to the future, not the past.
I plan to write a separate blog post about the stunning Summer of ‘17 in this city – and if this Thursday’s broadcast continues the narrative it’s begun with the advance publicity, it just may be a stirring coda to that story.
Stay tuned…and tune in to “Chronicle” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 7, 2017, ABC channel 5.