Week of 2.20.17

Welcome to the home of Social Lights. New online reports with photos appear each week on the website and in the monthly print editions for the Birmingham-Bloomfield area and the Rochester-Rochester Hills area at the start of each month. If you want e-mail notification of when new Social Lights columns are posted to this site each Monday, sign up in the Newsletter Sign Up box at the lower right side of this home page.

Bates Street Society Dinner

The Community House Board of Directors welcomed 200 to the second annual dinner ($200, $250 tickets) honoring significant donors ($25,000 plus). It also saluted community Pillars of Vibrancy who were toasted at a preliminary champagne reception. The 2017 Pillars are: Culture - architect Victor Saroki and publisher of Downtown Publications David Hohendorf; Wellness - Richard Astrein and Beaumont Hospital President Rosanna Morris; Philanthropy - Lois Shaevsky and George Miller; Education - Margaret Matthes. They were eulogized by house CEO/President Bill Seklar and received tribute pins from past pillars before joining the dinner crowd.
This weeks social light photos…


oakland confidential

March 2017

MARCIA, MARCIA, MARCIA: Oakland County Commissioner Marcia Gershenson (D-Bloomfield Township, West Bloomfield) may have picked a fight with the wrong person in power when she called out county board chair Mike Gingell and vice chair Mike Spiz , both Republicans, during board swearing-in ceremonies on January 11. "She seemed determined to create dissension," said a fellow commissioner. "She ...more»
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Photo: Laurie Tennent
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02/02/2017 - Whether he's on the air to talk about local weather conditions or relaying vital information in the midst of a natural disaster, FOX 2 Detroit news reporter Roop Raj said the key to connecting with viewers is by being himself.

"Believability is critical. When you show up on the air, people with a PhD or a GED know when you're being you and being genuine. They can sense that," he said. "Being believable means being real and being genuinely who you are on the air. I'm lucky to work for a station that encourages that.

"We are people with feelings, and we are not afraid of sharing our feelings. There are some things that are indefensible – they effect you, and to share that on the air is the believability people want when they are watching the news. I'm not sure anyone is going to do well in this industry if they aren't believable."

Raj, who was raised in Troy, moved to Bloomfield Township in 2009 when he joined FOX 2, after spending seven years in New Orleans as a morning anchor/reporter for WDSU-TV.

Growing up the son of Indian parents who moved to the United States in 1973, Raj said he rejected the traditional career paths of medicine, engineering and law that second generation children are often pushed toward. Instead, he knew from an early age that he wanted to be a television journalist. Instead of fighting him, he said his parents encouraged him by making him read news reports and writing his own. Through reviewing his summaries and critiquing his work, Raj learned how to take in and analyze the news, and then convey it to others.

"That's a skill I picked up early on," he said. "I give credit to my parents for that."

During his teenage years, Raj started his own television show, Voices of Troy, on Troy's cable access channel. His work earned him national attention when he appeared on The Phil Donahue Show in 1992.

"I wanted to go into television, but nobody would hire me because I was a kid," he said. "I decided to start my own show. I did that until college. That was my ticket into getting into television."

While attending Michigan State University, Raj worked at the Lansing CBS and ABC affiliates before later moving to New Orleans.

It was there, while covering Hurricane Katrina for nearly 17 hours straight, that he understood the news he was relaying could have an immediate impact on people's lives. The ability to reach people who were stuck in their homes and direct them, through their televisions on where to go to find water, relatives or other necessities, was vital to the welfare of many in the crisis. The experience, he said, also showed him another side of news and journalism.

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