Anchor calls assignment one of most important of her career
Trip went off without a hitch, produced series of stories
Booroojian wants to go back to Armenia on a family trip
A second trip to Armenia not only gave KSEE24 anchor Stefani Booroojian the opportunity to fulfill a wish to be in the country of her heritage for the 100th commemoration of the Aremnian genocide. It also gave her a better handle on expressing her feelings about the journey.
“It was a life-changing experience both times and one of the most important things I have done in my job,” Boorjian says.
That’s a big statement considering all of the news stories she has covered over the past 30-plus years for the local station.
Booroojian and chief photographer Kevin Mahan spent over a week in Armenia to put together a series of stories for the local NBC affiliate. Their trip coincided with the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
Not only were they able to file multiple stories, but they were interviewed by local and national news crews. The one question Booroojian was repeatedly asked was about her mission for doing the reports.
“I told them that we were there to share what we saw with our audience and not to state an opinion,” Booroojian says. “I felt like this was a unique opportunity because of the large Armenian population in Fresno.”
The first part of the trip was spent in Nagorno-Karabakh, where they reported on the relief work being done by the Armenia Fund to improve the lives of Armenians in that region. Armenia Fund is a nonprofit organization established in 1994 to rebuild the economy and infrastructure damaged in the Nagorno-Karabakh War.
Booroojian and Mahan returned to Yerevan for the genocide commemoration.
Except for a long walk in the rain after covering one media event, the trip went off without a hitch. Booroojian says the people were open and friendly wherever they went. There was only one misunderstanding.
Booroojian and Mahan went walking in Yerevan the night they arrived. After dining in a restaurant where no one spoke English, Booroojian couldn’t find a place on the bill to leave a tip. The effort to make the owners understand she just wanted to know how to leave a gratuity began to come across as complaint. She reluctantly left without leaving a tip.
Technology was never a problem. They found it easy to send back stories and footage from the other side of the world. Those story locations ranged from the genocide commemoration to a trip to a small school in the tiny village of Ditavan. That’s where Booroojian picked up a very special souvenir.
“There were Forget-Me-Not flowers everywhere. One of the schools had made crocheted pins and gave Kevin and I one,” Booroojian says. “It is such a meaningful thing to me.”
Her first trip for the TV station to Armenia was in 2011. Booroojian says this most recent trip gave her a chance to cover a large part of the country, but she would go back for more stories. And she would like to travel there with her family so that she could take more time to appreciate the country and its culture.