Mariah Haberman is discovering Wisconsin.
And so, Wisconsin will be discovering Haberman.
The 25-year-old University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna is one of a team of on-camera and behind-the-scenes personalities and producers now commanding the popular and widely-broadcast Discover Wisconsin television program – a syndicated show that began as a tourism booster but has evolved in a far-broader, Midwestern magnet for state recreation, culture and economic development.
“You’re constantly being surprised by Wisconsin,” said Haberman, an Evansville native who graduated in 2010 with a degree in journalism and advertising, emphasizing on public relations and Spanish. “I live in a state that has so much to offer – more than I ever thought.”
Haberman has served as a multifaceted, multimedia professional for Discover Wisconsin. She is part co-host, part marketing strategist, part media relations coordinator behind the episodes. She is also coordinating video shoots and works with Wisconsin community reporters to come and cover the shoots, encouraging hometown media representatives to share the story behind the stories that land in each episode.
Haberman said she is also helping the popular program launch a blog while she simultaneously writes for the Discover Wisconsin website.
“And I’m hoping to dabble in doing more writing for the actual show,” she said.
Discover Wisconsin has no small audience. Weekly, it’s estimated about 408,000 people tune in. The programs air throughout the Midwest, and it remains the “longest-running tourism show in the country,” now shooting in its 27th season, Haberman said. The majority of viewers are from Wisconsin. But, strategically, the show is shared with border-state viewers in Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa and Illinois.
“Each episode takes about a year to shoot – from the very beginning to the time it’s sent off to the TV stations,” Haberman said. “… We’re trying to get all four seasons in each episode.”
Haberman said her UW Oshkosh education, which involved deep immersions into news reporting and public relations, was incredibly formative. It helped land an opportunity right after graduation working in Chicago that, eventually, led to a job with a successful, Madison-based marketing and consulting firm, Hiebing. Those experiences developed knowledge, expertise and skill that led to the Discover Wisconsin opportunity.
“I felt like every single professor I had, especially in the journalism department, was a mentor to me,” Haberman said. “I felt like I had a leg up on everybody else. … (The Chicago and Madison jobs) really armed me – added to everything I learned at UW Oshkosh. It was very reassuring to be working with people who had more experience than me. … It was comforting to know my professors armed me with the right stuff. I feel like I got a deep education – exactly what I went to school for.”
Haberman said her campus and community work at UW Oshkosh were both critical to her career pursuits. “I remember doing a huge campaign with (Assistant Prof. of Journalism) Sara Steffes Hansen – we did a big advertising campaign and with Dana Baumgartner, who was at the Oshkosh Grand Opera House. I still have the portfolio we did from that. That, hands down, got me my first job out of college.”
Discover Wisconsin has offices based in Madison and Eagle River, but Haberman said the majority of the company’s crew and digital team are stationed in the capitol city. She routinely traverses Wisconsin as the shows diverse episodes zigzag from community to community, attraction to attraction, to capture the vibrancy of state tourism and natural beauty.
Starting in November, the new Discover Wisconsin season airs, and audiences will see Haberman as one of its on-camera talents.
She said her UW Oshkosh education remains one of the key confidence boosters in her successful career journey thus far.
“The knowledge is huge,” she said. “But our confidence – it can be scary right out of college. Knowing that what you did in school – we were out there with pseudo-clients, essentially — that was really essential to hit the ground running after we graduated.”