For Rebecca Abramson, broadcast journalism found her. After thinking she wanted to become an architect, the Fox-2 Detroit WJBK-TV producer discovered herself on a different path.
“I was really jealous of all my friends who knew exactly what they wanted to do,” she said. “I knew I liked to write, and to be creative. I just hoped I would end up where I was supposed to be, and fortunately, I did.”
Abramson received a communications degree from the University of Michigan, but was initially unsure what direction she wanted her career to take. The one thing she did know was that she wanted to focus on television, which was how she ended up at Victor/Harder Productions in West Bloomfield, a broadcast media company, after graduating.
Then, her life took a swift left turn.
“My mom was like, 'I know someone at Channel 4. So, maybe I can help you get a job,'” the Groves High School alumna recalled. “I was like, 'I really don't want to do the news,' but I ended up getting the job. And I loved what I was doing.”
After a period of time working at WDIV-Local 4 News, Abramson landed an interview with Fox 2 News.
The catch though? She would have to start producing. In a twist of fate, she ended up loving it, and has been doing it since 2006. Now, she produces Fox's 11 p.m. show.
“It's this pretty cool combination of being creative and organized at the same time. Your job is different every single day,” Abramson said.
Over the last 14 years, how she does her job has changed slightly, such as the use of Facebook and Twitter to search for stories. But the heart of the job has stayed the same – looking for human interest stories to produce.
“I want it to be something that you kind of react to,” Abramson said.
Some reactions are bigger than others – like a story she produced in mid-April which garnered over 11,000 reactions on Facebook, thousands of shares, and was picked up by other news outlets.
The piece focused on a metro Detroit couple, the owners of Brody's Custom Print and Camp Supplies in West Bloomfield, who had been married over 70 years, who had been forced to separate due to coronavirus and died within hours of one another.
“Things like that, I'm like, wow, that's really cool that I can have an effect on a story and it can change people's lives sometimes,” she said.
A story Abramson produced last year had a similar effect, where they were able to help a teenager raise money to go to college. The teen had lost her brother to a house fire – Fox had covered the fire years earlier – and more recently, lost her mother. The young woman was all alone.
“She ended up getting thousands of dollars from the community because people were so touched by her story,” Abramson said. “I'm like, 'Oh my god, this changed her life.'”
Local journalism, like these stories, is very important in today's day and age, Abramson believes, especially with local newspapers getting smaller and smaller.
She said people still need to know what's honestly happening in their communities. These stories help build community, and Abramson plans to keep telling them.
“I’m so happy that this career found me...I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she said.