Araksya Karapetyan

Anchorwoman Araksya Karapetyan Is a Storyteller with Empathy and Purpose

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By Maria Cozette Akopian, MBA, EdD

Special to the Mirror-Spectator

LOS ANGELES — “Everyone has a story. That’s what’s fascinating about journalism,” says Araksya Karapetyan. An anchorwoman at present for Fox 11’s Good Day L.A. morning news show, she has maintained a sense of curiosity and an appreciation for storytelling throughout her career.

Karapetyan’s mornings begin at 5 a.m. The audience sees a polished product, but tremendous time-consuming work is required to reach that stage.

She has honed her craft over the years, and got her career start in Idaho Falls, Idaho, many years ago.

After graduating from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Broadcast Journalism, she began her journey in media at KIDK-TV in Idaho as reporter, anchor, and producer. “I was one of those people who thought I could avoid bouncing around [geographically for employment], that I was the exception to the rule, but reality hit. I accepted the job blindly and had no idea where it was. I just packed up the car and hit the road… I was the only Armenian in town but saw that as a chance to teach them what an Armenian was.”

Araksya Karapetyan

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She would often sit on the floor of her apartment in this unfamiliar city and cry. Her family supported her but didn’t necessarily understand why she was subjecting herself to such challenges. “I will say one person, who is now my husband, always pushed me to keep going and not give up,” Araksya said.

Her experiences in Idaho Falls forged her professional tenacity. She next moved to Portland, where she was a television host and reporter for KOIN-TV, and after two years, accepted an offer at Fox 11 in Los Angeles.

Karapetyan’s work ethic was inspired by her mother and grandfather. She related: “Growing up, they always told me ‘You’re going to work for a certain number of hours. You can give it your all or be lazy.’ So, if I’m doing something, I’m going to give it my all. Maybe nobody will notice, but I will, and I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t do my best. In this business, there are moments when we think we can take shortcuts, but when you do that, somehow you end up losing the benefits you would’ve gained if you worked hard.”

In 1988, the Spitak Earthquake hit Armenia. Araksya was born in Gyumri (then called Leninakan), a city that was heavily impacted by the earthquake. “I had just finished painting a bird in class and at that moment, the entire building shifted.” She described waiting alone at school amidst the rubble, covered in dust with trails of tears on her cheeks.

As she fled through the chaos to find family members, Araksya heard of her aunt’s passing. Her aunt was a physician at a local hospital that had collapsed. Araksya’s cousin let out a scream upon hearing the news that still rings in Araksya’s ears to this day.

“There are these moments I remember so well,” she continued. “As we sat in the town center waiting for my grandparents to meet us, everyone was gathered in the middle of the street. I was so traumatized and begged family members not to go back in their homes. There are just these flashes that come to me… When there’s an earthquake in California, I always go back to that day.”

Araksya Karapetyan in Armenia

Araksya’s family emigrated to America in 1990 and she recalls how she felt as they landed: “I saw the palm trees and thought we were in Africa. It may have been all the movies I had seen. I also envisioned that my room would be filled with Barbie dolls from the floor to the ceiling.”

It was a new world for a bright-eyed little girl. She said, “I immediately acclimated and went into survival mode. I knew I had to learn the language and when they put me in ESL [English as Second Language classes], my goal was to get out as soon as possible. I wanted to be a part of everything, every activity.”

There isn’t a moment when Araksya forgets her roots. She is involved in several charitable initiatives of Armenian nonprofit organizations such as Armenia Fund, where she has hosted fundraisers and promoted annual projects, Children of Armenia Fund (COAF), Eternal Nation Foundation, Armenian-American Museum and Armenian Educational Foundation. Araksya also has supported Armenian businesses and individuals who are doing meaningful work by publicizing them through her media platform. She declared, “It’s wonderful to be in a place where I can be a voice for the voiceless.”

At her station she regularly pitches stories about Armenian subjects. She tries to ensure that the story appeals to a broader audience. She is fortunate to work for a station that has embraced her heritage and given her leeway to pursue her interests.

She said, “Being able to showcase Armenian artists, therapists, professors, and filmmakers gives our community a chance to shine. It’s so gratifying. One of my favorite sayings is: ‘The measure of success isn’t what you achieve for yourself. It is what you do for others.’ I hope to do just that and never lose sight of it.”

Araksya has found a balance in understanding the intricacies that come with being a media personality and being able to tell stories that are personally significant to her such as those about the Armenian Cause. “I never want to be told ‘Do less of this,’ so I have to be very mindful in what I do, how I do it, and when I do it.”

Araksya’s thirst for knowledge is matched by her empathy. She observed: “When I’m interviewing people, I’m mindful of the fact that maybe for me, this is just another story, but for them, it’s a moment they get to share something special about their lives.”

Indeed, many of the stories she tells are devastating and this is where her vulnerability comes through. Karapetyan explains that the ones about children hit the hardest. “I wear my emotions on my face… I think that also makes it authentic. People love seeing the real you,” she said. The impact of these stories on her often are so powerful that she needs to stay in her car alone for some time to decompress before going home.

Witnessing such tragedy also allows her to feel immense gratitude for the blessings in her life, starting with her kids. “When I get home, I’m reminded of how much joy there is, that there is beauty in the world, there is innocence,” she exclaimed.

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