Reporter Saraya Wintersmith is always asking questions and seeking new perspectives - and not only on the job. A voracious reader and podcast listener, she follows her curiosity wherever it takes her. She began her career in public media covering Virginia’s General Assembly and now covers Boston City Hall for GBH News. She has reported from Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan, focusing on how people live and the issues that shaped their lives. Wintersmith lives in Dorchester and holds a journalism degree from Howard University.
What are you reading or listening to now?
I’m reading Emotional Intelligence by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. The book is an easy read that I can consume in 15-to-20-minute increments without feeling overwhelmed. I’m looking forward to practicing the book’s suggestions for honing in on self-awareness, social awareness and relationship management - areas in which there’s always room for growth.
I recently finished the podcast “Will Be Wild,” which looks at the January 6 insurrection through several perspectives - including a teen who tips off the FBI about his father’s involvement in the event, an intelligence official in D.C. and a beauty queen-turned politician inspired by President Donald Trump. It’s a fascinating and scary peek into how others are interpreting what that day meant for our country.
Who is your role model or inspiration?
Professionally, I’m inspired by NPR’s Weekend Edition hosts. Scott Simon and Ayesha Rascoe both infuse their news delivery with intelligence and personality. I think about the kind of host I would like to be while listening to Scott on Saturdays and Ayesha on Sundays.
Why did you become a public media journalist?
I jumped into public media because of its commitment to depth. While working in commercial radio, I frequently lamented how the breakneck pace and profit motive inherently discouraged deep dive stories. When I covered the Virginia’s General Assembly for public media, it was affirming to work in a place with a clear commitment to covering government and policy and their connections to everyday living.
What is one word to describe your job?
Describe an impact that a story that you produced made.
I wrote a story on what folks in some Boston’s neighborhoods of color were saying about the idea of defunding police. I’ll never forget that after that story ran, I got an excited call from someone in my neighborhood who said that they liked the story and - for the very first time - they heard one of their neighbor’s voices on the air. That’s exactly what mission-driven and community-committed media should do.
See more of Saraya Wintersmith’s work here.