In just three years out of college, Emily Schario has accomplished a lot. Her first foray into the public media scene was as an undergraduate at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, when she interned for WBUR’s “On Point,” a nationally syndicated radio show. Now, the Edward Little grad is a self-described “utility journalist” in the GBH Studio at the Boston Public Library and has done everything from “running around Manchester, New Hampshire, in a February snowstorm” during the 2020 primary season, to working with a “small but mighty team” of journalists to produce “The State of Race,” a live-streamed digital series examining racial inequality in Massachusetts.

Name: Emily Schario

Age: 25

Lives now: Watertown, Massachusetts

What inspired you to become a public media producer? As a child, everyone would always ask me if I wanted to work in the theater industry like my parents; the answer was almost always a resounding “no.” Aside from a few stints at theater camp and performing as Tiny Tim in my dad’s adaptation of “A Christmas Carol,” my career as an actor was short lived. However, I’ve always loved the process of storytelling – be it writing scripts or filming and editing videos – so it’s no surprise that I ended up as a producer.

I’m the prime example of the baby-who-listened-to-NPR-in-the-car-to-public-media-journalist pipeline. I’ve always been a news nerd and definitely developed a reputation in college for being the “informed friend.” For most of college, I thought I wanted to go into social media and digital marketing because it felt a safer and more stable (career) than journalism (which is not entirely incorrect!). However, after doing several marketing internships, it just became clear to me that writing pithy Tweets to promote a brand wasn’t for me. I had been the opinion and news editor at Stonehill College’s student-run newspaper The Summit for a few years and absolutely loved it, so I took that as a sign that maybe I should take a risk and do a journalism internship during my last semester of college. I took the plunge and was lucky enough to land a role as a production intern at WBUR’s “On Point” . . . the rest is history!

How did you break into the Boston public media scene and what roles have you held since the start of your career in 2018? I owe so much of my career to my internship at WBUR’s “On Point” during my senior year of college. Within my first week on the job, I was pitching stories, writing scripts, researching show topics and editing sound for a live, two-hour nationally syndicated radio show. By the end of the semester, I got to produce (and be a guest on!) my own hour of “On Point” about the senior thesis. My inner public radio nerd was GEEKING out that day.

Working in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment like “On Point” gave me the skills to launch me into my first “big girl” job as a production assistant in GBH’s Boston Public Library satellite studio. Three years and two promotions later, I’m now officially a producer at GBH where I create digital and radio broadcasts about the Boston community and beyond. Now, even though my title is technically “producer” I like to think of myself as “utility journalist” or “news-girl-who-wears-many-hats.” One day I’m producing a digital town hall with presidential candidates; the next I’m gathering last-minute sound for “All Things Considered”; the next I’m reporting a story on Boston middle-schoolers designing spacesuits for astronauts. Really, nothing is off limits.

Both of your parents, The Public Theatre’s Christopher Schario and Janet Mitchko, are creative directors (and former Face Time interviewees). How have they influenced your career and the stories you tell? Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, growing up with parents who made a living on storytelling was such a blessing for my career. Theater and journalism may seem like totally different career paths, but one’s success in either heavily relies on being a strong communicator. In many ways, writing a script for a news feature is similar to directing a play; the news story or the play script already exist, but how you tell it is what ultimately determines whether people care about it. Blocking, sets, scene-change music and actors make a play come to life in the same way that natural sound, video, script-writing and voicing make a news story sing.

You’ve accomplished a lot in your few years out of college – what’s been one of the most exciting experiences so far? Hmm . . . this question is truly like choosing your favorite child, so I’m going to cheat and say that the most exciting experiences of my career would have to be a two-way tie between covering the 2020 New Hampshire primary and line-producing for my most recent project, “The State of Race.”

Running around Manchester, New Hampshire, during a February snowstorm to speak with undecided first-in-the-nation voters was, quite literally, a whirlwind. New Hampshire voters are incredibly proud of being the first state in the U.S. to cast their vote in the presidential primary and they’re just as proud of keeping who they’re voting for close to their vests. I also got to produce several live-streamed interviews with some of the presidential candidates, including now-President Joe Biden, which was a ton of fun. One of the coolest things about being a producer is that meeting celebrities and politicians just comes with the job description. And no, it still hasn’t gotten old!

Line-producing for “The State of Race” was just as much of a whirlwind; you’re cutting segments on the fly, rewriting scripts and talking in the ears of the host and talent (sometimes all at the same time). It’s an hour of pure adrenaline and crossing your fingers and toes that everything goes smoothly. Sometimes, it goes off without a hitch, other times everything that can go wrong does go wrong. It’s one of the most high-pressure situations I’ve worked in, but it’s such a thrill.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to tell? I love telling stories that center on real people that speak to larger issues in American culture and politics. It’s easy as journalists to lean on experts and policy wonks to explain the state of our world, but it’s just as important to hear from everyday people who are actually living in it.

One of my favorite pieces I produced was during the New Hampshire primary where we spoke with voters about whether it was fair that New Hampshire, a relatively homogenous state, holds so much power in deciding who becomes the Democratic presidential nominee. The answers were all over the place; many strongly felt that tradition should always triumph, while others thought New Hampshire’s lack of diversity should disqualify it from voting first. This piece was just simple cuts of sound I collected from these interviews, and yet it spoke to larger tensions we’re seeing at the national level regarding diversity and representation.

What stories do you want to tell next? A beat that I’m really fascinated by at the moment is business and innovation. The pandemic radically transformed the workplace, so we’re in what feels like the wild, wild West of work. Whether it’s millennials quitting their stable jobs and joining the “YOLO economy” or working mothers trying to regain their momentum, this beat has never felt more important.

While the business beat often gets a reputation for being homogenous and stiff, I want to prioritize capturing a wide range of voices in the types of business stories I tell so that listeners and readers can reimagine this beat as one that is both diverse and accessible.


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