Prof. Roop Raj
"Welcome Home." These are words I've been waiting to hear for more than a decade. And it is great to be back in Detroit, my home. I spent the last seven years in New Orleans as morning anchor/reporter at one of the TV stations there. I was there for three years before Hurricane Katrina and spent the last four years covering that city's recovery. Before that I worked as a reporter, anchor and weatherman at the NBC station in Flint, MI for four years.
But it all started in Troy, MI where I began my TV career at the age of 14 when I created, produced and hosted a public-affairs talk show on the government access station. One year later, I was deemed one of the nation's youngest TV personalities when I appeared on The Phil Donahue Show.
While attending Michigan State University, I worked at the Lansing CBS and ABC affiliates.
A defining moment in my career was covering Hurricane Katrina while living in New Orleans. Anchoring for almost 17 hours straight as the monster storm came ashore was truly a reminder of why we do what we do. People who were stuck in their homes alone had no contact with the outside world but us.
After a few days of covering the mayhem on the streets of New Orleans, we evacuated to Mississippi where we anchored from a make-shift set with a camera, a speaker phone and a dry-erase board that told the people where to go next. Where to get water, how to find relatives, and how much of the city was under water were crucial topics our evacuated audience needed to know about.
I've never been one to talk about awards I won as part of a news team. However, I am proud to say our coverage in the hours leading up to the storm won our team an Emmy Award for "Best Continuing Coverage." I also received an Associated Press first place award for "Breaking Weather Coverage". In the years after the storm, my coverage of a city in crisis won two first place awards from the Press Club of New Orleans and the Associated Press as I profiled the "Safest Places to Live" when it comes to storm protection and crime.
Now, I come home to Detroit where a different type of storm is brewing. It was hard to watch my neighbors and friends in metro Detroit deal with this economic crisis. I wanted to come back and help report on stories of struggle and recovery in our area. Whether you lose your home because of storm surge from a hurricane or foreclosure due to a lagging economy, your home is gone.
People are tuning in to local news not just for a check on the weather. News has never been more important in people's lives as they try to recover. I am proud to join Detroit's only news team that's producing solutions as "Problem Solvers." You can watch me on FOX 2 News weekdays at 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. reporting on the day's big stories. You can also catch me reporting and anchoring weekend mornings along with Deena and Jay.
One of the biggest questions I get is where my name is from. Although I was born and brought up in the Midwest, my parents came from India back in 1973. So yes, the name is Indian. And I have heard all of the nicknames! "Roop Dogg," "Roop There it Is" etc.
I believe that my job as a reporter here doesn't end when we sign off. I want to get involved in the community whether it be mceeing your organization's event or volunteering with your group. So please, let me know how I can dive right in and help this community. There's truly no place like home.