Thursday, May 16, 2002

Boxer connects on camera

Published in the Current

Like many teenagers, Cape Elizabeth native Elisa Boxer once vowed never again to live in the town she grew up in. But now the Channel 8 news anchor
and her husband are building a house in the Cross Hill development and plan to stay.

Being near home, she said, took a little bit of adjustment.

“At first it was really bizarre,” Boxer said. “Now there’s nothing that appeals to me more.”

A 1989 CEHS graduate, Boxer went to Bowdoin College and then worked in newspapers in Massachusetts before going to Columbia University for graduate study in journalism.

She made the jump to video and documentary journalism and promptly won a student Emmy award for work documenting the lives of Bosnian refugees\ living in New York City.

“I like connecting with people,” Boxer said.

Television, she said, allows her to combine writing and pictures in a way that tells a story effectively. “I like putting all the elements together,” Boxer said.

But it’s reporting that really excites her.

“I really like pounding the pavement,” Boxer said.

She is particularly interested in the ways people respond to suffering. Some people, she said, are able to turn suffering into efforts to benefit others.

“People do it every day,” Boxer said.

One woman she met had lost her husband and a son within two weeks of each other. That woman was able to create a gathering place for people to grieve together and begin healing after the death of loved ones.

Boxer’s awards have been for her stories along those lines, including a recent Emmy for a piece on victims of abuse at Baxter School for the Deaf and two Edward R. Murrow awards for writing about a Holocaust survivor.

She credits the people in her stories more than herself, and says of the awards, “it’s because they told it to me.”

At WTMW for just over four years, Boxer is an anchor as well as a reporter. The two are different, she said, but she still tries to connect with her audience, rather than talking to cameras.

“I feel like these are people watching me,” Boxer said, gesturing to the studio’s cameras.

And sometimes they are indeed watching her. She talks to her parents, who still live in Cape Elizabeth, after every newscast. Now and again, Boxer runs into people she went to high school with. The irony, she said, is that when they find out what she does for a living, they have one response: “But you were always so shy!”