WVIA is driven to “meet the people where they are.”

PNA welcomes new member, WVIA, a leading journalistic voice for Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association welcomes TV/radio station and PBS-NPR news affiliate WVIA as its newest member. With a rich history dating back to 1963, WVIA has served the citizens of Northeast and Central Pennsylvania with news, educational, music, and arts programming. Based in Pittston, the non-profit station serves a 22-county region area stretching from Williamsport to Schuylkill County and all communities in between.

The events that precipitated WVIA’s membership into PNA started two years ago under the leadership of President and CEO Carla McCabe. She devised a plan to reinvigorate the newsroom with a heavy focus on local journalism. “WVIA News began in 2022 with the mission to develop a trusted source of local news that would foster deeper conversations and facilitate change in our region,” McCabe said.

WVIA had two dedicated reporters at the time; within two years the number increased to five.

In early 2024 News Editor Faith Golay, a news veteran herself from the Scranton Times-Tribune, joined the management team along with four more local journalists, bringing the total number of reporters to nine. “The push was on and led by Carla (McCabe) to reach our communities with stories about education, government, the environment… any issue or topic to inform and engage our readers and listeners,” said Golay, who is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the news department team, as well as digital content production and news publication for WVIA News.

To get the word out, WVIA Director of Journalism Julie Sidoni, news reporters, and radio hosts began a “listening tour” throughout the region, meeting community members in their towns to find out what kind of news coverage they wanted from their public broadcasting station. “It really is just about connecting. Our mantra has been to ‘meet the people where they are,’” Golay said. In the WVIA team’s travels they discovered people wanted in-depth local news coverage, and they especially wanted to hold officials accountable and more information on resources available for the community. Carla McCabe’s instincts were correct.

The new journalistic drive comes with challenges. Reporters, veteran and new alike, know covering local municipalities is not as straight forward as it seems. Roadblocks can appear for gaining access to meetings and obtaining reports on certain lines of government business. From her time working at The Times-Tribune, Golay and other staffers have come to appreciate one of the key benefits of membership at the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association: the PNA Legal Hotline.

The PNA Legal Hotline, staffed by PNA attorneys, offers extensive media-related legal services available 365 days a year with free counseling on topics including, but not limited to:

  • First Amendment.
  • Right-To-Know Law requests and appeals.
  • Information on the Sunshine Act.
  • Open courts.
  • Clean Slate Law.
  • Coroners’ reports.

As a new member, WVIA staff now has access to the hotline and the ability to sign-up for free training in legal matters. According to Golay, the training and hotline have made an immediate impact on how the editorial team covers local governments, as well as other stories affecting local environmental concerns. “The hotline and legal team at PNA is an asset,” Golay said. “Getting the right information helps us keep people honest”.

Today, WVIA’s nine reports produce 120 or more stories a month, with an eye to more expansion in staff and coverage. The renewed commitment to the newsroom has also helped with WVIA membership. “We have seen increased support amongst philanthropists and foundations at the local level, as well as rapid growth in online traffic and newsletter subscribers,” said CEO McCabe. “The community sees the work we are doing, and they stand behind it.”

PNA shares WVIA’s vision for an open and free press and will continue to work with them and all members to promote First Amendment rights. Congratulations to WVIA; we are excited to see their continued journalistic growth and support their drive to “keep ‘em honest”.