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Can News Be The Solution?

Today is a big day for giving in Colorado and Bucket List Community Café is asking for your support.  So often we hear that news is the problem but can news be the solution? Bucket List Community Cafe has a unique niche at the intersection of journalism and community.  We tell you what’s going on in North Denver, explore the issues folks care about, introduce you to people and places and events and small businesses, but we do much more than that.  We build community by sharing our stories.  Let me tell you mine.  

I hadn’t had a phone ring at 5:15 a.m. in a long time.  I’m a freelance producer for NBC News, and they were calling to ask me to go to Colorado Springs.  There was a shooting at Club Q.  Five were dead and 18 were injured, possibly a hate crime.  And I went oh no, not again.  Covering mass shootings has become like Groundhog Day where the rhythms are way too familiar.  It is so discouraging.  Nothing changes but the families that are devastated and the faces of the victims.  I feel numb.  I’ve covered more than a dozen now.  I’ve become an expert at this.

When Kip Kinkel killed his parents then shot up his school in Oregon in 1998, I left a 14 week old baby at home to cover the story.  I was a mess. 

At Columbine, a year later, after working nonstop for ten days I finally had a minute to walk around the memorial.  I was overcome with emotion.  It was so raw and unfathomable.

By Aurora in 2012, I was made of tougher stuff, but I still can’t forgive myself for how hard I pushed to get an interview with a woman who was desperate to find her boyfriend.  I learned later he died.  Covering the theater shooting trial gave me PTSD. 

The Pulse, Las Vegas, Parkland.  They started coming one after another.  Different communities but the same grief, shock, and unanswered questions.  I’ve given so many hugs to mothers who have lost a child in these bursts of violence.    

Then Uvalde, where children were slaughtered.  I told myself just do your job.  I tried to get access.  I tried to get interviews.  I got pushed back.  I couldn’t wait to go home.  

And then, Club Q, where I finally got pissed. This happens over and over and nothing changes. 

I don’t have the answers.  Nor am not taking a position on guns, mental health, race, hate or all the things that divide us.  All I’m saying is we really need to talk to one another.  We need to meet each other, build community by sharing our stories, and get to know our neighbors.  

That’s what Bucket List Community Café is all about.  We’re on online community journalism site that helps you get to know what’s going on in North Denver, demystifies the stranger, and lets you meet your neighbors whether they’re next door or across town.  We are positive and solution oriented.   Yes, news can be the solution. We are inspired and supported by you, and we need your help to keep it up.

This is week two of our #newsCOneeds fundraising campaign.  Besides the $5000 match from the Colorado Media Project, this week your match will be tripled thanks to the generous contribution of Nicole Hann Sullivan of the Book Bar on Tennyson Street.  Please help us build community by sharing our stories and support community journalism.  Thanks for contributing.  

Written by

Vicky Collins is a freelance television producer and journalist based in Denver, Colorado with a diverse portfolio of projects that include network news, cable programming, Olympic sports, corporate and non-profit videos. Some of her most satisfying assignments have been covering disasters, working in the slums of developing countries and telling stories of people who show great courage in the face of adversity. She has been in all 50 states and on six continents and many of her television stories and photos are posted on her website at To contact Vicky Collins directly email or tweet @vickycollins.

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