This entry kicks-off a new blog series that will spotlight our hard-working staff, from all different corners of the organization, who put the “corps” in StoryCorps.
I went to college for broadcasting and only ever wanted to make radio. I got my start in 2006, working as a reporter for an NPR member station in upstate New York and never looked back. Outside of work, I spend most of my time with my family (I’m the mother of a toddler!) and I serve on the board of my identical twin sister’s animal sanctuary, Mockingbird Farm Animal Sanctuary. I also try to make music and art when I can.
What is your role at StoryCorps?
As executive editor, I oversee all of our audio content, including our broadcasts on NPR and our podcast.
How long have you been at StoryCorps?
In July, I’ll have been here for 12 years. I started as an associate producer and worked my way up to producer, then lead producer, senior producer, and now executive editor.
What is a typical week like for you?
I work with our Production team to put out one (sometimes two) national broadcasts a week and two seasons of the podcast per year. So in a given week, I’m editing the producer and senior producer on the broadcast, and overseeing development of the podcast. In general, I co-lead the department and make sure our content meets the highest of editorial standards.
Can you give an example of a time when world news made you change course on either the podcast or a national broadcast?
In February, we were working on a broadcast that was almost finished, but on Tuesday of that week, I knew the Russian invasion of Ukraine was likely and I was thinking: “What Ukrainian voices do we have in the StoryCorps archive?” I wanted to be prepared with a timely story that could be meaningful to both the participants and our listeners. So I searched and found Halyna Hrushetsky’s story. I flagged it for Annie Russell, one of our senior producers, who then assigned it to one of our interns, Max Jungreis. He made a quick cut of Halyna’s story, so we could hear more of what she talked about in her interview.
On Thursday morning, when it was clear the invasion was happening, we made the call to push our previously scheduled broadcast so we could air this one. It was a very fast turnaround. We produced it and fact-checked it in a day—a process that usually takes weeks. But it was a powerful story and very timely, so we were honored to make it happen.
What’s most fulfilling about your job?
Working with our amazing team in Production: I have the most collaborative, thoughtful, smart, and kind colleagues. Also the participants. In my current role, I don’t get to speak with them as much as I used to, but I do get to help others make the beautiful, lasting work that StoryCorps is known for.
What’s most challenging about your job?
The most important thing is that we get it right for our participants, who are sharing intimate, sometimes vulnerable, parts of their lives with us.
Why should every American do a StoryCorps interview?
There’s something special that happens when you take the time to talk with someone you love and like [StoryCorps Founder & President] Dave Isay says, “The microphone gives you license to say the things that you want to say but never have the chance.” I’ve heard this from participants time and time again. After a loved one has passed, that StoryCorps recording is such a balm because you’ve documented their story for posterity. To have their voice preserved in the Library of Congress is such a special thing.
What is your favorite StoryCorps story and why?
I would have to say Mary Johnson and Oshea Israel’s story. I had the pleasure of recording their conversation back in 2011 and their remarkable relationship still sticks with me today.