She was here five years ago when Day to Day began.
She'd been looking for a job—she had a couple of part-time things going up in the Bay Area, but she wanted to try working for NPR, and here was this new show starting up in L.A. She came down for a job interview, and got this question: "What DON'T you like about NPR?"
"That's easy," she said right away, "blah, blah, blah."
We might not have put it quite that way ourselves, but we knew exactly what she meant. That's what we were tired of, too. And someone with the ability to put it just like that, and the nerve to offer it up in a job interview? I think it was the next day we offered her a temp position—all we had at the time.
Shereen Marisol Meraji got hired full-time very quickly. Then promoted. Then promoted again. Within a year she had one of the key positions on the show — she was the director...she ran everything in the studio while we were on the air. It's a very stressful and important job...coordinating what the hosts are saying, what the engineers are doing to play the right interview, bringing in live feeds or phone calls from overseas, on a special talk-back constantly to the production unit down the hall to make sure everything is coming in on time. She was always the youngest person there — by a lot in my case. But there was never any question who was in charge.
Even so, she began to bump her head, as people do in their first real jobs, no matter how good they are. She went off to report from Lebanon for several months. She came back and got restless again. She finally dragged us into the 21st Century by first insisting the show must have a blog, and then creating it — DayDreaming, the blog you're reading here - around a project she ran called California Dreaming.
This summer was coming to an end, and we wondered what she'd do next...and now we learn that she is going to try a new media job in public television. It is wonderful news for a very smart and capable woman. And it's a dagger to the heart.
My friend Steve Proffitt, a senior producer here, wrote and produced and performed this song about Shereen:
An ode to Shereen Meraji by Steve Proffitt
If you listen to the show much, you should get most of it, and leave a comment if you want parts explained.
Here is Shereen:
And here is Steve—he may take over for some of her work on the blog.
Boy, I'm really going to miss her.