Emily Rooney

Host and Executive Editor, Greater Boston Productions

Emily Rooney is the host, executive editor and creator of "Greater Boston" and "Beat the Press." Since the show's inception in 1997, Emily has brought her journalistic credentials and deep knowledge of media, politics and culture to the program and has earned numerous awards, including the National Press Club's prestigious Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism, a series of New England Emmy Awards, and Associated Press recognition for Best News/Talk Show.

Before coming to WGBH, Emily was director of political coverage and special events at Fox Network in New York from 1994 to 1997. Prior to that, she was executive producer of ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. Emily also worked at WCVB-TV in Boston from 1979 to 1993, where she served as news director for 3 years and as assistant news director before that.


3:00 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Snapshot: Firefighter Michael Kennedy On The Job

Michael Kennedy stands with Emily Rooney in her kitchen on Easter 2013.
Credit Courtesy Emily Rooney

Last Easter Sunday, I was preparing dinner for eight guests when I trustingly allowed one of my friends to stir-fry her own vegetables. She pumped the front gas burner to full tilt, poured olive oil into a pan, and walked away for a minute. In seconds my tiny kitchen filled with smoke and -- for the 5th time in the seven years I have lived in the Back Bay -- my smoke alarm went off.  

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6:04 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Justina Pelletier's Parents Fighting To Get Her Back

Justina Pelletier with her parents, Linda and Lou, who lost custody of the 15-year-old when Children’s Hospital took over her care and accused the parents of child abuse.

Living with her family in West Hartford, Justina Pelletier was a normal, active girl, even though she had been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease as a child. But something changed in 2013: she had just finished a skating competition when  she developed flu-like symptoms. 

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Local News
6:08 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Michelle Kosilek: 'You Don't Lose Your Right To Humanity When You Go To Prison'

Michelle Kosilek is serving a life sentence for the 1990 murder of her wife. Kosilek has been embroiled in lawsuits with the state over its repeated refusal to provide hormone treatment, electrolysis and gender reassignment surgery.
Credit Associated Press

There hasn't been a more perplexing prison controversy in Massachusetts than the case against Michelle Kosilek. Convicted of killing her wife when she was referred to as Robert, today Kosilek is serving a life sentence for murder.

But the case is bogged down in Kosilek's demand to have gender reassignment surgery.

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4:38 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Veteran WCVB Anchor Susan Wornick Signs Off

It was then-news director Jim Thistle and me who hired Susan Wornick away from WHDH radio 34 years ago. At the time, we all joked about her “not ready for prime time hair,” but in truth,  it was she who came up with the phrase. She got hired because she was fresh, tenacious, hard-working, and very, very funny. All those things are still true as Susan Wornick signed off from Channel 5 for the final time.

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Local News
7:36 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Narcan 'Brings People Back From The Dead'

In this Tuesday Feb. 27, 2012 photo, Kathy Deady holds up a tube of Naloxone Hydrochloride, also known as Narcan, in her Quincy, Mass., home.
Credit (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The recent death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman renewed the focus not just on heroin, but on the cheap, easy access more people have to this deadly drug. This week WGBH puts a focus on heroin abuse in our area.

Pat Byrne works at the Lynn Multi Service Center dealing with homeless men and women, and an endless stream of junkies.

Pat has never had an addiction himself, but says his son Jamie took up heroin 20 years ago as a college student.

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How We Live
5:24 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Mandela Singled Out Massachusetts For Anti-Apartheid Support

Nelson Mandela, center, dances to African folk music during the rally and concert at the Hatch Shell on Boston’s Esplanade Saturday, June 23, 1990. Mandela was joined by U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, left, and Boston Mayor Ray Flynn.
Credit Charles Krupa / AP

It was June 1990 – South Africa’s Nelson Mandela had been a free man for just four months when he came to Boston – singling out Massachusetts and the region for its faithful anti-Apartheid support.

As many as 250,000 people from all over the region gathered on the Esplanade to welcome Mandela and his then wife Winnie – waving  flags with the colors of the African National Congress.  South Africa was at the threshold of  fundamental change, but the separatist Apartheid government was still a threat, Mandela told the crowd. 

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Local News
10:02 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Gardner Heist Update: Museum Got Threats After Theft, FBI Needs Public's Help

Empty frames hang in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Twenty-three years since 13 priceless pieces of art were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Gardner and the FBI issued a public appeal similar to the one launched just prior to James "Whitey" Bulger's capture — complete with wanted posters.

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3:31 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Allston Gym Owner Talks About Former Regulars: Tsarnaevs, Todashev

Wai Kru gym owner John Allan (right) talks about former regulars at the Allston gym: Tamerlan Tsarnaev (top left), Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (middle left), and Ibragim Todashev (bottom left).
Credit Allan: Howard Powell/WGBH News; mugshots: AP photos

Both Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Ibragim Todashev were regulars at Wai Kru, a martial arts gym in Boston's Allston neighborhood. It was this gym where the Tsarnaev brothers were seen just three days before the Boston Marathon bombing. They arrived with a third, as-yet unidentified individual, seen in the photo at right.

Gym owner John Allan told Greater Boston's Emily Rooney what happened when the brothers showed up at the gym three days before the bombing, and how he came to hear that Tamerlan Tsarnaev might have murdered his own best friend.

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2:56 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Bodies Of Evidence: What The Jury Saw

Eddie Connors body was left in a phone booth where he was shot.
Credit AP Photo

It’s of a bygone era – Cadillac DeVilles, aluminum sided split level homes, Levi jeans and sideburns. The evidence is a slice of life going back more than 50 years, conjuring a wisp of nostalgia for a simpler era - even the gangland warfare once romanticized by Frank Sinatra who, by coincidence, is found in the evidence file in a photograph with Richard Castucci, just one of the Winter Hill Gang’s murder victims.

Also in the files, thousands of documents, surveillance video, photographs, handwritten notes and communications between the FBI, mobsters, the state police, victims and innocents.

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Local News
12:13 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Deerfield Academy Sexual Abuse Victim Speaks Out

A yearbook photo of Whit Sheppard when he was at Deerfield Academy in the 1980s.
Credit Whit Sheppard

Earlier this year, an anonymous man came forward saying he had been sexually abused by a popular coach and math teacher at Deerfield Academy in Western Massachusetts in the 1980’s. 

Now that accuser,  Whit Sheppard, is putting his name out there. Sheppard wrote a first-person account of what happened for Boston Globe Magazine and he recently spoke with WGBH’s Emily Rooney.


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Marathon Bombings
9:06 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Greater Boston Video: Surviving the Bombing - Extended Interview with Roseann Sdoia

Roseanne Sdoia
Credit Liz Alesse / WGBH

Three weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings, many of the most severely injured victims are being treated at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital’s new facility in Charlestown. Roseann Sdoia was waiting for a friend to cross the finish line when the second bomb exploded just feet from where she was standing. Her right leg was so badly hurt it had to be amputated above the knee. Today, Sdoia is walking on crutches and will soon be fitted with a prosthetic leg.

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5:50 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Greater Boston Video: Bikes, Cars Maintain Uneasy Equilibrium

This is national bike month – something we’ve been anticipating for many months – WGBH News, along with our partners at Wicked Local, are taking a close look all week at how bicycles, cars and pedestrians share our roads. Tonight our Right of Way series kicks off with a drive around the city of Boston – Emily Rooney is the driver and she's looking for bicyclists.

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5:47 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Terry Francona Talks Baseball, Boston & Books

Former Red Sox Manager Terry Francona
Credit AP Photo

Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona left town early this morning after a whirlwind media spree about his new book, “Francona: The Red Sox Years.” Boston Globe sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy convinced Francona to do the book with him shortly after the infamous collapse of 2011. Francona sat down with WGBH’s Emily Rooney.

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11:27 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Mattapan Massacre Verdict Leaves Loose Ends

District Attorney Daniel Conley waits for word about the jury's decision as the jury in the quadruple Mattapan homicide trial of Edward Washington and Dwayne Moore deliberates for a sixth day at Suffolk Superior Court in Boston, Wednesday, March 21, 2012.
Credit (AP Photo)

This week the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office finally got a conviction in the 2010 massacre in Mattapan, in which four people were gunned down -- including a 2-year-old boy. But while the conviction of 35-year-old Dwayne Moore brings some satisfaction to victims relatives, there is no clean ending to the case for those involved.

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3:32 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

After Six-Week Silence, Menino Speaks

Mayor Menino gives a speech at the 2009 U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Credit Stew Milne / AP

Boston Mayor Tom Menino broke his 6-week silence on Thursday and met with a few reporters at Spaulding Rehab Center on Nashua Street. The Mayor taped a greeting to viewers of Channel 5’s Christmas Tree Lighting program to air tonight at 7:30pm. Also allowed into the taping were reporters from both the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald.

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3:08 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

The Menino Mystery

Mayor Menino gives a speech at the 2009 U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Credit Stew Milne / AP

After four weeks and four days at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Mayor Tom Menino was today released into the care of the Spaulding Rehab Center for what’s being called “physical and occupational” therapy.

While that’s good news, curiosity and speculation over the Mayor’s health continues to swirl as he’s been out of sight since he departed for Italy in mid-October. Doctors would not say how long Menino might be in rehab but they did say he’s now been diagnosed with diabetes in addition to the virus and stress fracture he was originally being treated for.

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10:48 am
Wed November 21, 2012

We Miss You, Mr. Mayor

Mayor Menino gives a speech at the 2009 U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Credit Stew Milne / AP

For many years WGBH’s Greater Boston hosted an annual tradition on Thanksgiving Eve.  It was a two-part special half hour featuring Boston Mayor Tom Menino and my dad; the late 60 Minutes guy Andy Rooney. The struggle for us was always – who should go first? My dad died a year ago this month and was not up for the travel the year before, so half the tradition ended two years ago.

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4:18 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Kosilek Case: The Definition of Cruel and Unusual

Robert Kosilek in the Bristol County Superior Court, 1993.
Credit Lisa Bul / AP

This morning Federal court Judge Mark Wolf made two new rulings in the strange case of convicted murderer Robert Kosilek, who successfully sued the Department of Correction for the right to a sex change operation earlier this year.

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11:48 am
Wed October 10, 2012

30 Issues: Emily Rooney Examines the Medical Marijuana Debate

Using marijuana for medical purposes is already legal in 17 states, and next month Massachusetts could join that group.

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3:02 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Emily Rooney on Helen Gurley Brown

"She had this very intimidating presence," stylish and no-nonsense, said Emily Rooney, who met the fabled editor in the 1970s and remembered her see-through purse. "She was gruff, she was smart, she was in-your-face." More about "H.G.B.":

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11:50 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Grass Fed vs. Corn Fed Beef: A Meat Marathon

The gang, ready for the tasting at Area Four.

Would you know the difference between corn fed and grass fed beef? How about if you were blindfolded and the meat was prepared by someone who really knew what they were doing? Yesterday, award-winning food writer for The Atlantic—and our resident foodie—Corby Kummer and myself, along with a handful of other invited guests sat down at Michael Leviton’s Cambridge restaurant Area Four for a blind taste test. Or what Corby described as "a meat eating marathon."

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3:43 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Massacre in Colorado, Romney's Taxes, Three Strikes and More

Last night's massacre in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater has put both the presidential campaigns on hold — or has it? While the furor surrounding his tenure at Bain has lost some of its momentum, Mitt Romney's refusal to release his tax returns has everyone wondering how bad can they really be? At the same, a new CBS/New York Times poll is the first to put Romney ahead of President Obama. Locally, the Three Strikes Bill passed in both the House and Senate and now awaits Gov. Patrick's signature. And why does it cost so much for prisoners to make phone calls?

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3:11 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Everything Money: Big Bank, Little Bank

The recession cost an estimated $19.2 trillion in household wealth, but it spawned a movement towards consumer activism, such as last year's Bank Transfer Day, which encouraged people to switch from major banks like Bank of America and Wells Fargo to credit unions. 

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3:07 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Preventative Measures Against EEE


It’s that time of year again: when the state of Massachusetts launches an urgent campaign against mosquitoes and triple-E, or Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Aerial spraying begins in the southeastern part of the state, but so far no cases have been reported. Meanwhile, some residents have taken a more ecologically friendly approach than pesticide, releasing dragonflies into the wild with the hope that they will act as natural predators to reduce the mosquito population.

2:42 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Lobster Lows

Toni Waterman WGBH

We may be happy, but lobstermen are not. The price of lobster is astoundingly low – as low as $1.25 a pound in Maine and around $3.75 a pound around here. That's less than the cost of bologna. Apparently, there was a perfect storm of events that led to a flush lobster season. WGBH reporter Toni Waterman interviewed Gloucester's lobstermen last week; she shares some of their stories with us.

  Toni Waterman, WGBH reporter

12:00 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith Stays in the Game

Tom Hamilton at WGBH's studios.
Annie Shreffler WGBH

BOSTON — It's back to "home sweet home" for Aerosmith, who perform on July 17 and 19 at the TD Garden. They're at the mid-point of an 18-concert American tour back from a long hiatus with a youthful vengeance. WGBH’s Emily Rooney talked with bassist Tom Hamilton right before the tour began.

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10:51 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Politics, As Usual for July 16, 2012

You never know what’s going to take-off in a political campaign, so who knew that report last week by the Boston Globe confirming that Mitt Romney stayed at Bain Capitol longer than he claims would be such a hot item with both campaigns still going at it five days later.

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11:37 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Week in Review for July 13, 2012

This week's weather has been so beautiful it feels like we're living in slow motion, but in fact a lot of wheels have been spinning, especially on the political scene. The Boston Globe’s report that Mitt Romney held a CEO title at Bain three years longer than he claimed reached critical mass this week with the Romney camp desperately trying to deflect the fallout by leaking out potential vice presidential picks. Plus, thumbs up thumbs down on Ray Allen leaving the Celtics and banning the American flag at housing projects.

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2:48 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Politics As Usual: A Carol Johnson Cover-up?

Carol R. Johnson, superintendent, Boston Public Schools
Courtesy of BPS

Mitt Romney's image problems continue, and Obama suffers from lackluster jobs numbers for the second straight month. But the biggest news of the week is Boston School Superintendent Carol Johnson's failure to suspend John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics & Science headmaster Rodney Peterson last year after he was arrested and briefly jailed for domestic assault charges.

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Beat the Press

Emily Rooney moderates a lively discussion examining the media and how news organizations cover the week's big stories. Beat the Press is broadcast on Friday nights at 7pm on WGBH 2 and streamed on WGBHnews.org.