HOUSTON — Being a journalist of Russian descent has always inspired jokes. Throughout the years I’ve been able to take advantage of that to break the ice during tough-to-start interviews.
Tough-to-start interviews, or difficult-to-get ones, somehow became my specialty during 12 years at KUSA/9NEWS in Denver.
The walking to school up hill in snow both ways- was certainly the training ground.
See what I did there?
But seriously, somewhere during my time at 9NEWS I was assigned to cover crime and courts. My official title was “Crime and Justice Reporter.” I fought that assignment, it seemed like it would be a lot of sadness. And it was. But it also was about giving victims voices, giving them their power back and finding ways to cover crime that made the community care.
I also did investigative work, uncovering wrongdoing. A series of our stories helped change a law protecting crime victims’ rights.
Denver was great and hard. I’ve covered the Aurora Theater shooting and its aftermath, from survivors, victims and police perspectives. I traveled to tell stories of people who lost so much of their community in a mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, TX. I came to Houston to help KHOU, another TEGNA station, and cover the tragedy at Santa Fe High School.
I did pre-Olympic stories in my native Russia and traveled to the Sochi Olympics themselves.
While at 9NEWS in Denver, I was lucky to work with brilliant journalists and together we won Regional and National Murrow Awards, Regional Emmys, an award from the National Association of Black Journalists and the Colorado Broadcasters Association Awards.
In 2018 my family moved to Houston. I continued working for TEGNA, 9NEWS and KHOU11’s parent company.
I oversaw, produced and reported for a digital-first series for Facebook Watch, called An Imperfect Union. Our team traveled the country, bringing people together to discuss different points of view and volunteer in the community.
My journalism career started after graduating SMU, taking me to Amarillo, Tyler and then Birmingham, Alabama, Denver and now Houston.
Here I work as a part of TEGNA’s Deep Dive team, producing deeper investigative-type stories to air in 11 Texas cities where TEGNA owns TV stations. We have the ability to reach more than 80% of the state.
I’ve been a journalist for 20 years. As difficult, upsetting, frustrating, and lonely as this work can be, this nosy, loud, curious ex-Russian can’t imagine doing anything else.