Award-winning journalist Heather Bosch (’87) says, “It’s about the people”
Sure, Heather Bosch (B.A., 1987) has won a couple dozen awards over the last ten years while working for the CBS Radio Network, but she said, “The biggest award is doing the story and being able to bring people’s stories to life.”
Whether it’s talking to people outside a cathedral before the President speaks at a memorial service or reporting about resilient Bostonians and how they are coping with the aftermath of the Marathon bombings, “that is the best feeling in the world,” Bosch said.
While jokingly admitting that it’s a nice reminder to the boss and satisfying to get a pat on the back from her colleagues, Bosch said she feels spoiled to be able to do this job.
Bosch has always been a storyteller since she was a child. She would come home from grade school in Tacoma, check out the book her teacher was reading in class from the library, and read portions of it to her little sisters before bed.
“I think at the heart of every journalist is that craving for knowledge and finding things out,” Bosch said. “You also love to tell a story.”
Bosch began at the University of Washington as a performing arts major until an acquaintance invited her to come by the local radio station.
“I got the journalism bug,” Bosch said.
Graduating with a degree in Communication, Bosch wanted something more and decided to go overseas where she earned a post graduate diploma in broadcast journalism from Cardiff University in Great Britain. After returning to the U.S., Bosch did various internships, worked in TV news as a reporter and anchor, and then went back to her roots in radio.
“I always went for the job that I felt had the most opportunity and that I could do the most with,” Bosch said. “So I worked in television for a while, but when the network offers you a job, oh my goodness.”
Bosch said the opportunity to work with the CBS news team was huge. She loves being in New York and the flexibility of radio.
“I love the creativity and spontaneity with radio,” Bosch said. “I love being able to put together very serious stories, like my series on ‘Women Warriors,’ and also kind of funny stories like ‘The Man Aisle.’”
Bosch has won regional and national Edward R. Murrow awards in investigative, sports, and hard news reporting, and even best use of sound. Having an opera-singing mom and being a classically trained violinist lends to her good ear, and she said radio plays to her creative side.
“I love all kinds of stories,” Bosch said. “What I enjoy the most is talking to people who are very passionate about what they do, whether that’s the mom who was a weightlifting Olympian and has a child who’s autistic, or I’m talking to a woman who’s getting calls from telemarketers that won’t stop.”
Bosch most recently won a Gracie Award and two National Headliner Awards for “Women Warriors” and “The Man Aisle.” Sometimes halfway through a story she said she wonders if she has taken on more than she can handle, but by the end of it it’s very satisfying.
“When I interviewed the women for my series ‘Women Warriors’
I originally wondered if they were going to have unique issues when they came home from the battlefield,” Bosch said, “but by the end of it I realized that the issues are very similar to what men go through – trying to find a job, post-traumatic stress, dealing with a physical injury – and I came away from that actually changing the story and focusing on these amazing women that I can’t say enough about.”
It’s usually the people, not the subject matter that Bosch remembers and values. Like the guy who’s great grandfather served chocolate to the czar of Russia, or the grandmother who’s 2-year-old grandson had been killed by a man on drugs and all Bosch could think to do was give her a hug.
“Sometimes it’s under really sad circumstances and sometimes under joyful and fun circumstances, but you talk to people who are passionate and who are really trying to convey what’s going on in their lives,” Bosch said. “That’s what I remember more so than individual stories.”
Bosch said she had to run a little bit on adrenaline when covering the Boston Marathon bombing. She woke up around 3 a.m. to do a morning show and was landing in Boston by 6 p.m. after receiving a phone call to start covering the tragedy. However, she said the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut was the most emotionally draining.
“I’m focused on the people I’m interviewing,” she said. “What are their needs? How can I help? What story do they need to tell? Do they need to talk about their child? What was their child like? Making that child not a statistic and really focusing on them. It’s not about me, it’s not about me being tired, it’s not about me being emotional – I can do that when I get home. I’m focused on them and that gets me through it.”
When at home, Bosch said she loves nothing more than flopping on the couch with her two sons and watching a movie with a piece of pizza in hand. It’s also a treat when she gets to cook dinner.
“I just really love being with my family,” Bosch said. “I could talk on the phone with my siblings (I’m one of five) for hours, and if their spouse picks up, I can talk to them for hours too.”
Bosch said she also misses sleep, but with the job comes a hectic schedule.
“Anyone will tell you, you thank God for your job, you thank God for your kids, you thank God for your husband, and you just make it work,” Bosch said. “I mean, women are amazing, we will make it work.”