Born in the former Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic and raised in Eastlake and Kenmore, Tatevik Aprikyan started “playing journalist” years before she became one.
Her family moved to America and the Seattle area in 1993, when she was around 5 years old. Aprikyan remembers her father buying a camcorder as one of his first American purchases.
“I would grab anything I could — a hairbrush, the blocks we were playing with — and just go to work,” she recalled in a recent interview with The Seattle Times. She would narrate whatever was in view: an airplane in the sky, a bus driving past on the street.
Aprikyan spoke little English when she arrived in Seattle but she learned to emulate reporters when her parents watched local newscasts.
“At the end [of a report] they’d say their names, ‘reporting live from wherever,’ and so that was my signoff to his camcorder,” Aprikyan said.
Likely familiar to local viewers from stints at Seattle Channel and Seattle’s Fox affiliate, KCPQ (Q13), Aprikyan now hosts “The Why,” a nightly one-hour newscast that does a deep dive on issues of the day. The program, a production of the digital channel Newsy, airs at 5 p.m. in Seattle on over-the-air Channel 33.7, KWPX. Newsy is also available via streaming devices Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV and at newsy.com.
Aprikyan moved to Chicago in August 2021 to join Newsy and help prepare “The Why” for its January 2022 launch. The program includes reported pieces and Aprikyan conducts live interviews in each broadcast.
“We spend a half-hour on a topic,” Aprikyan said. “It’s an opportunity for us to go behind the headlines because we take the time to explain the stories and understand the ‘why.’ ” It’s the latest step in a career she began to explore back in grade school.
“My second grade teacher had a classroom newsletter and I took over editing that,” Aprikyan said. “My sixth grade class had a newscast so I anchored that. I did newspaper in junior high school and then I was a news anchor and editor of my school paper in high school, so it’s kind of always been there for me.”
At age 14 she emailed famed Seattle TV news anchor Jean Enersen and asked to shadow her. Enersen responded and invited Aprikyan down to the station.
“My dad just dropped me off at KING-TV and I watched her anchor all the newscasts that night,” Aprikyan said, recalling Enersen’s advice: “Don’t ever change your name. People will tell you that many times. Keep it.” (The phonetic pronunciation of Tatevik’s name is “Todd-ah-vik Up-reek-yahn.”)
Enersen invited Aprikyan to sit in her anchor chair after a broadcast and encouraged her to read a script.
“I just read it and she was like, ‘They’re real people, read it with a little bit more emotion,’ ” Aprikyan said. “She gave me a lot of lessons in those early days.”
In addition to trips back to KING 5 to shadow reporters in high school, Aprikyan interned at KUOW (as part of what’s now RadioActive) and wrote a column about teenagers for the King County Journal for three years. (The King County Journal ceased publication in 2007.)
After college internships with KING 5, the “Late Show with David Letterman” in New York — she decided “going the entertainment route” wasn’t for her — and the Seattle “Evening Magazine” program, Aprikyan took a job in Idaho Falls, Idaho — currently Nielsen market No. 155 nationally. (Seattle is No. 11.)
“A few people [from Seattle] said it’s a great place to get started. It’s not super far away and they have really good stations there that teach you live reporting,” Aprikyan said.
After two years in Idaho and a year in Providence, Rhode Island, she returned to Seattle to host “CityStream” on Seattle Channel, adding to stints at KUOW and finally KCPQ from 2017-19.
Now she’s at Newsy, where the dominant on-set color, purple, is meant to represent that the network is not slanted to the right (red) or left (blue), but rather that the show plays it down the middle.
“We’re very neutral and it’s very much in the ethos of Newsy and making sure that we stay balanced,” Aprikyan said. “There is no slant to it.”
In a post-coronavirus environment, Aprikyan envisions having in-studio guests on “The Why,” but for now she’s content with going into greater depth on stories through remote interviews, including a January episode that spent a half-hour on the topic of anxiety.
While hosting a national newscast offers a new opportunity, Aprikyan still looks back fondly on making it in her hometown after stints in other markets.
“It was such a different and fulfilling opportunity to have finally come back home … and tell those stories like the reporters I grew up watching,” she said, remembering how one of her first stories in Seattle took her home to her old Eastlake neighborhood.
“I found myself on the live shot lineup next to the reporters [and] anchors who taught me how to report in the field and ones I tagged along with all those years ago,” Aprikyan said. “It was one of those full-circle moments that are rare in life. To have the old-timers say, ‘Great job, kid,’ really meant a lot, since I had looked up to so many of them as I was coming up in my career.
“Now [we’re] standing right next to each other, from competing stations, but all journalists doing our jobs for our community. It was a moment I’ll never forget.”