Marco Werman, co-host of station GBH’s The Worldpublic radio’s longest-running daily global news program, has worked in journalism since he was a 16-year-old copy boy at the News and Observer in Raleigh, N.C. After graduating from Duke University in 1984, he joined the Peace Corps and went to Togo and Burkina Faso. While in Africa, he started freelancing for the BBC World Service, where he produced Network Africa. He has worked all over the world, joining GBH in 1995 to start The World, which is now heard on 377 public radio stations nationwide — a record number for the program. 


An interview with Marco

What are you reading or listening to now?

I read a lot of current affairs and global news — daily reporting from multiple sources to long-form magazine articles — so I’ve been lately creating space to read more fiction. That’s recently included American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson (thrilling historical fiction), The Postman Always Rings Twice (old school, James M. Cain wrote gripping dialogue you need to read out loud), and I’m about to start The Scent of Burnt Flowers by Blitz Bazawule (also a talented musician who goes by Blitz the Ambassador). But invariably the fiction is put on pause by a compelling nonfiction book for the show like Knife, Salman Rushdie’s essays about his stabbing in 2022, or Covert City on how Miami was molded by the Cold War.

Who is your role model or inspiration?

Photographer Jill Freedman, whom I worked for as an editor, for her gutsiness in approaching strangers to speak with for a story. My godfather Ernest Pendrell made weekly documentaries for ABC News when they still did that, and he made me realize at the age of 7 that there was a profession to be had in journalism. And there are too many writers, reporters, and editors working today to mention who inspire me with their courage, creativity, and ability to turn a phrase.

Why did you become a public media journalist?

The intersection of several things: the freedom to cover and tell stories commercial media were not and the ability to do that on radio in a sonically immersive way was something I had experience doing for the BBC and other outlets from my post in West Africa. And the freedom and independence public radio gave me was a counterbalance to my entry level salary. My first job at a public radio station in 1990 paid $14K a year, but I was doing what I loved and figured if I worked hard and practiced smart journalism, I’d grow.

What is one word to describe your job?


Describe an impact that a story that you produced made.

I get a lot of feedback (emails, messages on social media) every day, quite often about stories that impact listeners’ days. Sometimes it’s things the audience hears that they love. Other things they hear impact them negatively; it’s not surprising news coverage doesn’t always get a warm reception. But I think my recent reporting assignment in the Middle East that took me to Israel and the West Bank left our audience with a more nuanced picture of how complex and fraught the situation is there right now.