2014 Autism Related News Coverage by Marcie Fraser

In 2014, my mom and I agreed to sit down with Marcie Fraser — who was working for YNN Albany (Time Warner Cable’s news operation here in the NY Capital District), and is now an “Adjunct Lecturer” for the Questar III New Visions program at UAlbany’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity.

I’m still grateful to her, even almost a decade later, for giving my mom and I a platform to tell a small part of my story. We haven’t spoken since — but I’m happy to see she’s affiliated with an organization (Questar III BOCES) that I hold near and dear to my heart.

This page was published in August 2023, and Marcie Fraser’s original reporting was done in September/October 2014.

Things have changed

That being said, I can’t in good faith release these to you all without clarifying a few things.

Things have changed a lot since her two stories were put together. Let’s talk about those, since they provide context to why I feel these two pieces are important to my legacy.

The diagnosis itself

Asperger’s syndrome was already controversial, having been named after a Nazi scientist. In lieu of that, experts more widely accept Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as a more proper diagnosis. (Though, it should be noted that it hasn’t been demedicalised yet.)

Every individual with autism, including those previously diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, is incredibly different from one to the next.

And there’s still a lot that we don’t know. These days, I (along with many others) more closely identify with ASD, and I urge leaders in the health and science communities to diagnose individuals with ASD instead of Asperger’s syndrome.

Who I am today

In the almost nine years since the stories aired, I’ve done a lot of new things with my life. Here are some of the big ones:

  • In 2015, I stopped attending school within my local school district for a number of reasons, some of which related to my autism diagnosis.
  • From 2015-2017, I attended 7th and 8th grades in Questar III’s program at Maple Hill Middle School (now Paul Puccio School at Maple Hill).
  • After attending 7th grade, towards the end of the year, I felt comfortable enough to come out as LGBTQ+. I remained very open about my queer identity throughout my time at Questar III’s programs, as the staff (and most of my peers) were all supportive.
  • From 2017-2021, I attended 9th-12th grades in Questar III’s similar program at the John E. Sackett Educational Center. I spoke at my graduation, the video of which is also available here in my vault.
  • In 2018, I changed my middle and last names, and officially became a Watkins. I had used the name for 9 years at that point — so it was very emotional and symbolic for me to do. (And now, I have two middle names!)

Since Marcie published her stories, I’ve come to terms with who I am as a person. I’ve found strength in my identity which has been by no means an easy feat. I’ve come a long way.

Why archive these yourself? Won’t the news organization hold those?

The problem is, these stories disappeared off of the internet around a year after Time Warner Cable merged into Charter Spectrum. The pages went dead, and the Internet Archive held nothing. However, after realizing some reporting from the early 2000s had returned to the Albany division of Spectrum Local News’ web archive, I decided to do some digging — and I found the stories. This is the first time I’ve seen them since their original publication.

Putting these into my vault, and archiving them on the Internet Archive, ensures they stay ‘partially found’ for good.

Partially found? What do you mean by that?

Unfortunately, the two video reports that Marcie did (which included interviews with my mother and I back in 2014), simply do not exist on the internet anymore, as far as I can tell — and even when they did exist, they were paywalled for TWC subscribers only. I’m going to be honest, even if I reach out to my local branch of Spectrum News, I sincerely doubt they will have kept them archived.

There are other questions about this, too. The biggest ones being: If they do exist, would I be able to license the videos for playback here in my vault and/or my own storage archives? If not, could they be restored on the original website and be embeddable (and playback without a Spectrum account)?

I can ask around — but I wouldn’t know where to start besides reaching out to a bunch of people and hoping someone has the ability to do some digging. Then, there’s the whole licensing thing.

Archiving what remains anyway

Because I feel these are an important part of my legacy as a human being, I’ve chosen to archive what remains. This means filing the written stories away here in my vault, on the Internet Archive, as well as on all of my various backup storage mediums.

I went through and created captures of both articles as they exist right now. Making copies of what the site looks like today and keeping them here, on the Internet Archive, and in my personal archives for safekeeping is simply the best I can do for right now. If that changes, I’ll let you know, though!

In hindsight, I should have made copies of everything (including the videos themselves) back then… but I didn’t. At least I still have the written stuff.

Read the stories

And lastly, I’ve provided those PDFs to the Internet Archive, just in case something happens. You never know.