Professor Profile: Caswell-McCarron Tells Stories As Journalist And Teacher
Published: Sunday, October 6, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 6, 2013 20:10
There’s something different about the way Christine Caswell-McCarron speaks. It may be her tone—even and pleasantly booming. It may be her defined pronunciation of the words she says, with every syllable succinct and crisp. Or it may be the precision of her sentences, which are un-littered with the all-too typical “uhs,” “ums,” and “likes.” Whatever it is, one thing is clear: Caswell-McCarron has the voice of a broadcaster.
Director of Undergraduate Studies and an adjunct professor for the Communication Department, Caswell-McCarron has had a long and experienced career as both a reporter and anchor for television stations all over New England. She’s worked at WVII in Bangor, Maine, WMUR in New Hampshire, New England Cable News, and WCVB, Fox 25, and WHDH-TV right here in Boston—covering historical events such as Bill Clinton’s 1992 New Hampshire Primary Campaign and the OJ Simpson Trial in Los Angeles. She’s also the recipient of an Associated Press award and a double Emmy nominee for Outstanding Reporter in a major market (Boston) for Individual Achievement. At BC, she teaches Broadcast Writing, runs the internship program for communication majors—which includes the Senior Internship Seminar and the one-credit Communication Internship—and offers career advice to majors. In fact, Caswell-McCarron says her favorite moments at BC are when she sees past students she has counseled succeed in the media world. “One of my former Broadcast Writing students is a reporter at my former station [Channel 7 in Boston],” she said. “I feel like I passed the torch to her. We have graduates who are at ESPN, HBO, Bloomberg, and many other media outlets around the world.”
Caswell-McCarron began teaching at BC part-time in 2000, while juggling work as a full time Boston TV journalist. As time went on, she realized she could not do both and spend the time she wanted with her family.
“I could not continue with local TV news. The business owns you. I never wanted nannies raising my children.” Caswell-McCarron also added that having a family changed the way she could report tragic stories on the job. “Because I am a mother, I am also much more fragile when it comes to reporting hard news now, especially when it involves children. I know in some ways my life experiences make me a more compassionate writer, but I could never have been assigned to report on Newtown, Conn., for example. I would not be able to cope with that,” she said. “I have seen and reported on so many horrors in my 25-year career—but have always focused on the amazing, happy stories about truly resilient and talented people that contribute greatly to our society.”
So when BC asked her to take a full time position in 2008, she accepted. “My career at BC is the perfect blend of all my passions: communication, media, education, family, Catholic identity,” she said. “Now I help the next generation of journalists hone their storytelling skills and toughen their skin.” It probably also helps that Caswell-McCarron is an Eagle herself—she graduated from BC in 1989.
This summer, her roles reversed when instead of reporting the news, she was reported on. After hosting an 11-year-old girl from Ukraine through Open Hearts and Homes for Children, a Christian hosting program for Eastern European orphans, Caswell-McCarron and her husband decided they wanted to make her part of their family.
In June, she flew to Kiev to pick up her new daughter Kristina and finalize the adoption. When she tried to get a Ukrainian passport for Kristina, the Ukrainian government said they were changing passport manufactures and that until this process was finished, Kristina could not leave the country. What was meant to be a week in Kiev turned into four, and the story was picked up by new stations in the local Boston area. Now, Caswell-McCarron says that Kristina is happily adjusting to her new life in the U.S. “It was all worth it. She is a precious girl—amazing in so many ways. She is busy learning English at her new school and simply amazes us with her resiliency and can-do attitude,” she said. She also cited the unfortunate fate Kristina may have faced if she stayed in Ukraine. “Children in orphanages in Ukraine age out of the system at 16 and then are literally put out on the street. Bad things happen to them.”
When she isn’t teaching, broadcasting, or cheering on one of her three children at sporting events, Caswell-McCaron enjoys relaxing and listening to country music. She links this interest in country music to her passion for broadcast journalism. “Country songs tell stories, and it’s interesting I’ve spent my entire professional career storytelling in a different way—broadcasting the stories of our lives. I can’t carry a tune, but I can handle breaking news without missing a beat.”