THRIVE is an AIWA-SF April project dedicated to highlighting Armenians who are doing amazing things in their personal and professional lives to better themselves and those around them. These individuals are inspiring, dynamic, innovative and interesting. Today, we feature Ella Sogomonian.
Ella Sogomonian anchors KRON ON, the first 24/7 local news app she helped launch in the San Francisco-Bay Area. Most recently she brings daily coverage on the Coronavirus pandemic, interviewing members of the medical community that include a scientist who is on the brink of a possible antibody cure. Before the app, Ella covered the entire region reporting and shooting video for the evening newscasts. In addition to local and breaking news, Ella reports on major state-wide issues including the housing, homelessness, and wildfire crises.
Ella has reported on the Wine Country Firestorm in 2017 that decimated towns and claimed lives. She was on the ground for weeks meeting with survivors and sharing victims’ stories. Ella broke the news within minutes of another fatal fire in 2016. This time at a warehouse in Oakland called Ghost Ship where 36 music lovers were tragically killed during a party inside a controversial live-work space. KRON 4 news was recognized for the team coverage with an Emmy.
To promote criminal justice reform, Ella featured a former San Quentin inmate who was hired by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative after completing a coding program with the non-profit The Last Mile while serving time. She showed given the tools and desire, inmates can reject a life of crime and reduce recidivism.
Before the Bay Area, Ella worked in Yuma, Arizona where she reported and shot video by day, then produced and anchored the newscast by night for KECY-TV, daily. Covering the U.S.-Mexico border, she was dedicated to reporting on immigration, Native tribes, border security, and unearthing the mystery behind the multi-billion dollar agriculture industry. Ella was awarded by both the Yuma County and Arizona Farm Bureaus for her coverage on technological advancements, worker shortages, and water conservation.
Ella was born and raised in the Greater Los Angeles Area where she learned to speak English, Russian, and Spanish. She graduated from Chapman University with a B.F.A. in Television and Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish and Linguistics. She was raised by her mother and grandmother. Ella is married to a theater actor and together they live with their cute yet feisty cat.
Question: What is your life philosophy?
You reap what you sow. There is luck along the way but you’ve got to put in effort to get where you want to be. Just don’t forget life is beautiful and you should stop to smell the roses. Take in the beauty along the way. Work hard, play hard. And definitely help others around you. You can’t do that if your own ship is sinking, so when afloat, bring more on board. Don’t compare yourself to others because every journey is different. Find your talent, be creative, and use it to the best of your ability. Most of all, have an attitude of gratitude.
Question: What is your hope for the future?
That people recognize themselves in one other. That the world endures the least violence possible and all of humanity has the luxury to live freely and up to their potential. That worldwide, people aren’t persecuted for their pursuit of knowledge and justice. That human life and health is held to a higher regard than making a profit. That technology promotes unity and doesn’t get in the way of forming strong social bonds. That people aren’t afraid to get to know a stranger and they don’t miss out on the potential for new love and friendship.
Question: What is your favorite thing about being Armenian?
Having an artistic spirit and an innate passion to host and make guests feel welcome. We are a hospitable people with a talent for throwing a fabulous party that celebrates life!
Question: How has the Armenian culture shaped/ influenced you?
It’s provided me with a knack for connecting with people from all sorts of backgrounds. It’s shaped me to be down to earth, friendly, respectful, and resilient. Good with languages and expression whether it’s writing, painting or dancing. It’s encouraged hospitality from the heart.