It’s a common refrain heard around Emerson. “Satch” is Jonathan Satriale ’94, MA ’09, MA ’14. Officially, he’s the College’s technology director for the School of Communication. Unofficially, he’s the go-to person for many things Emerson. And he’s always eager to share his love of Emerson with current and prospective students, fostering in them the same enthusiasm and passion that he has for his alma mater.
“I say this is a dream school for prospective students, and not just one of the schools at the top of their wish list. When they get here, they find out that they are on their way to realizing their dreams, so I focus on supporting their journey,” said Satch.
Satch’s love for Emerson runs deep. He bleeds purple, having earned three degrees from the College: a BA in Mass Communication in 1994, an MA in Integrated Marketing Communication in 2009, and an MA in Journalism in 2014. In 2024, he’ll celebrate his 20th year working for Emerson. He’s taken on numerous volunteer roles through the years with the Alumni Association, Earth Emerson, WEBN News, and the School of Communication. And while his job title has morphed over the last 20 years, what hasn’t changed is his zest for providing students with innovative tools of the trade, and his passion for supporting the Emerson network.
“I’m an only child, so my friends are my family,” said Satch. “I learned early on to make a lot of friends and network.”
Satch is one of those people who knows everyone, and people count on him.
His dependability and go-getter mentality are evident through his stories. His office in the Walker Building documents his career, and every inch is covered in artifacts and mementos that tell a story. There are photos and press passes from Emerson trips to the Oscars; Super Bowls; Iowa Caucuses; and a sustainability summit in Japan where he met environmentalist and president of Green Cross Japan Dr. Shoo Iwasaki, for whom Emerson’s library is named. Satch also interviewed the founder of Green Cross International and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev while reporting on the environment for NY1 News.
His office wall also includes a framed poster dedicated to firefighters who perished on 9/11.
September 11, 2001, was Satch’s first day back in the news business, after working for several dot-com startups in New York City. He worked as a video journalist for NY1. That fateful day, he drove a motorcycle on sidewalks and around gridlocked traffic, capturing the horrific scene that unfolded in lower Manhattan and helping fellow journalists get out of the ash and to safety. A New York Times cover photo he took, related to the aftermath of 9/11, is displayed in his office.
“I bring what I learned from [that day] to Emerson by speaking on panels that time of year, and [explaining] how to cover breaking news when it appears you’re in the middle of an apocalypse,” he said.
In his role as technology director, he loves staying current on innovative technology that Emerson’s future journalists and communicators need to stay ahead, such as streaming equipment, 360° VR cameras, and tools to turn residence hall rooms into podcasting and play-by-play studios.
And what students do with those innovative tools makes Satch so proud of Emerson.
“When [the students and I] were in the field, we weren’t on a College field trip. We were working journalists,” he said. “Emerson’s secret sauce is the practical application of what’s learned in the classroom with our dedicated faculty and staff who go into the field, and work side-by-side with the students to give them an unmatched experience.”