From Commutes to Cats: Chatting with Jim Schachter | New Hampshire Public Radio

From Commutes to Cats: Chatting with Jim Schachter

Nov 22, 2019

In mid-October, Jim Schachter began his tenure as New Hampshire Public Radio’s new president and chief executive officer. In the weeks since his appointment, Jim has been getting to know NHPR’s staff, putting his award-winning journalism expertise to early use, and meeting many folks across the Granite State. NHPR listeners and supporters can learn more about Jim’s early thoughts and impressions through this 2-minute, 2-way with NHPR's communications & marketing director, Tricia McLaughlin. 

Welcome to New Hampshire! Tell us what appealed to you about the position at NHPR, and why you chose the Granite State for your next journalistic undertaking.

NHPR has an essential role to play in New Hampshire, right now. At a time when so many people wake up expecting life to be a battle - about politics or money or the climate or just getting through the day – we try to build common ground and understanding, based on real information and honest conversation. Who else sees that as their mission? Also: what a beautiful place New Hampshire is! After nearly 25 years living in and around New York City, we are hankering for the natural beauty and relative peace (plus short commutes!) that New Hampshire offers.

You started out as a print reporter in Jacksonville and Kansas City, then spent time at large urban dailies – The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times – before moving over to public media at WNYC. What is the unique value proposition public media has with its audience, and with its ability to tell stories?

The genius of public radio is that we do our work in partnership with our community. The audience informs the content, whether by calling into The Exchange, providing tips to law enforcement – like the listeners to Bear Brook – or by becoming sustaining members of NHPR. And the people who work at NHPR can say, unabashedly, that we do our journalism in order to build a stronger community, one empowered by reporting and research and evidence and facts. It’s revealing that commercial media are adopting the language of public media, asking people to “support” their journalism. We in public media learned early on that it’s more powerful to be in a collaborative relationship with our community than to just be at one end of a business transaction.

You and your wife Pam have four children – scattered throughout the country doing amazing things. But I understand you are hardly an empty nest household. Do tell!

I think you are referring to our affinity for cats. We have four, and Pam spent the summer fostering kittens. She helped raise so many kittens, in fact, that she started naming them after the only thing she could think of that was just as numerous: the field of presidential candidates. Just one more way we prepared for our move to New Hampshire! Pam is a special educator – so whether it’s in the classroom or via nurturing new animals in the world – she likes to nurture and guide!