MARY BETH DURKIN
Yellow Brick Road’s owner and Executive Producer, Mary Beth Durkin, is an award-winning producer who has done it all. She’s produced documentaries, stylized magazine pieces for broadcast news, and fast paced hard news stories for CBS News. She has also written online content to accompany her broadcast stories. For the past decade, Yellow Brick Road Productions has focused on food and its intersection with our health, the environment and public policy. Prior to that Mary Beth reported on healthcare, immigration, economics, and the impact of modern day first ladies on the presidency.
Yellow Brick Road Productions created a food series called Food4Thought for the PBS NewsHour. The series won one of the most prestigious awards for food journalism, the James Beard Award and not just once, but twice. The series was named “Best TV Segment” in 2016 and 2018. Mary Beth brought National Public Radio and The PBS NewsHour together to partner on it by introducing NPR’s Food and Health Correspondent, Allison Aubrey as the on-air presence for the series.
Mary Beth’s food stories are journey’s that take you into the world of food waste, that waste’s effect on climate change, health implications of pesticides, food tech and eating trends. The segments include celebrity chefs engaged in food activism, farmers, fisherman, scientists, and more. This content allowed YBRP to pair the NewsHour’s broadcast audience with its’ online presence and conduct Twitter chats on the issues their stories touched upon increasing the audience reach of the PBS NewsHour.
Before diving into the multi-faceted topic of Food, Mary Beth explored the impact that modern day first ladies were having on the presidency and the office of the first lady. She produced, wrote, and directed two documentaries for the PBS series, The Modern First Ladies. Her 2009 documentary, Betty Ford: The Real Deal, earned her a Cine Golden Eagle for Best Historical Biography. Her 2011 documentary, narrated by PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff title, Nancy Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime, premiered at the National Museum of American History. Mary Beth also spent a decade as a national news producer for the CBS Evening News and another decade at what was then the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour where she honed her skills covering a variety of topics such as healthcare, the economy and immigration among others.