If you spend any time on social media, you’ve probably seen the video of Stow residents reacting to the closure of two area Dunkin’ Donuts (heartbreaking news) or locals sharing their opinions on the Seaport neighborhood.
These viral TikTok videos and radio reports are all thanks to Framingham resident and Emerson College alum Matt Shearer. The WBZ NewsRadio reporter is constantly in search of stories that matter to Bostonians (much like your BOStoday City Editors).
We chatted with Matt about some of his most iconic interviews and interactions with Bostonians.
What’s the “most Boston” thing that’s happened to you during an interview?
With my Market Basket in Billerica story, the guy was so frustrated about the grocery store closing that he alluded to the fact that it was the reason the dinosaurs went extinct. [The full quote is — “I don’t like change. I tell my kids that the dinosaurs didn’t go extinct by accident. They saw the future and said, screw this. Let’s go to the tar pit.”] That’s the most Massachusetts way to react to a Market Basket closing...conjuring up images of the apocalypse.
How did the Stow Dunkin’ video come about?
Somebody had commented on a TikTok video asking if there is a single town in Massachusetts that doesn’t have a Dunkin’ Donuts. I did the research and compared a list of Dunkin’ locations to a list of municipalities in Massachusetts and found that surprisingly, there are a lot of them.
I picked Stow, went there, looked around in a vacant store window and noticed the tiling on the floor was Dunkin’ Donuts. I was like “Oh my god, they HAD a Dunkin’ Donuts here.” I started asking around and found out that there were two that both closed within a few months of each other.
So I talked to people about what its like to lose not just one, but two Dunkin’s in your town, and people reacted — as you saw.
What’s your typical approach for these interviews?
I go in with a rough idea of what the story is going to be, and then let the story tell itself to me with the little things I encounter along the way.
I prefer to go to the places where there are the most people, so that could be anywhere from Copley Square to the North End. Sometimes I will walk that entire stretch and just talk to people along the way.
Once you get to Faneuil Hall, you’re getting all tourists and an outsider perspective, which is sometimes helpful. In the North End, you get tons of people who are born and raised there and have strong opinions about like the way Boston is changing. Then in Beacon Hill, you’ve got people who are making a lot of money and on the Boston Common you get a nice relaxed mix of people who are just out to have a picnic. I try to get as many different perspectives as possible.
Do you have any favorite local spots to shout out?
No, because every time I fall in love with a really good sandwich in Boston, the place closes within a year. I refuse to promote my current favorite sandwich because I want it to stay open forever.
Quick shout out to some of the great places that have gone — the Refuge Cafe and First Bite in Allston, rest in peace.
How would you describe Boston in just three words?
Passionate, loyal, fun.