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Class Notes Profiles

Watchdog Mary

If Mary Schwager, Comm ’93, calls, you might be in trouble.

Schwager strolled into some of the Boston-area medical marijuana clinics that popped up in the wake of Massachusetts legalizing the drug for people with debilitating illnesses. Armed with X-rays of her dog’s arthritic elbows that she pretended were hers, she walked out, unexamined, with a doctor’s certification for marijuana.

The doctors didn’t know their patient was “Consumer Watchdog Mary,” an investigative producer at WHDH-TV in Boston. After Schwager’s undercover work aired, state officials promised tougher regulations on medical marijuana.

Schwager also writes columns for The Examiner and Gal Time, which are picked up by The Huffington Post, Fox Business News and Yahoo! Shine.

“I feel like I can really make a difference in this world when I’m uncovering things in stories that people don’t want you to find out,” says Schwager, winner of 12 Emmys.

A favorite story revealed flaws in Massachusetts’ 911 system, which was supposed to automatically identify callers’ locations. But the phone companies responsible for updating customer addresses in the emergency database didn’t always do it correctly.

“It turned out there were thousands of mistakes,” she says. “One person’s business burned to the ground because fire trucks went to the wrong place.”

Another story on a fire department’s antiquated equipment and lack of resources was played before Congress.

Then there are the smaller, yet still rewarding moments. Recently, she called a Boston government agency on a story and the employee told his boss, “Mary Schwager is on the phone.” The boss replied, “Then you better take it seriously because we’re in trouble.”

And Mary Schwager smiled. Nicole Sweeney Etter


Comment by Mary Schwager at Jul 30 2013 10:19 pm
Nicole Sweeny Etter did SUCH a nice job with this article! I just attended the Marquette reunion weekend and so many people remembered every word she wrote! The university churns out some good writers! Thanks Nicole.
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