By Ashur Sada (Founder and webmaster of Assyrian Voice)
-Hello and thanks for letting us do this interview with you. Can you please briefly introduce yourself and what you do?
Thank you! The pleasure is all mine! My name is Diane Pathieu, I am currently, an Anchor/Reporter for the NBC affiliate WTMJ TV, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I report on the news of the day, 5 days a week, from the field. I also anchor an hour-long noon show, 5 days a week from in the studio.
-Tell us about your TV career and what got you into it?
I’ve wanted to be in the television news business since I was a little girl, so I began to pursue it right away after high school. I don’t know why I was so passionate about news, but I was, and it’s been an incredible journey.
-What is your typical day like in your job?
Depending on the news of the day, and which job I’ll be doing (sometimes I anchor all day long, other times I report and anchor) I wake at about 2:15am, am out the door by 3am, and putting on my makeup & doing my hair by 3:30am.
I am on the air (either in the field or on the desk) at 5am. After that- I gather a news story from 7am-10:30am, and then I am back in the studio anchoring the 12pm newscast. It’s a very fast-paced, hectic day. Plus, I get up basically in the middle of the night, and that’s something your body never gets used to!
-You often publicly knowledge that you are an Assyrian, including on your bio, something you don’t get with other Assyrians in other professional fields. Why do you feel the need to make this known?
This is such a good question. You know, when I first got into this business about 11 years ago, it was never really that important to share your nationality. Viewers always would assume my nationality was Greek or Italian, and I would always have to correct them. Then, more and more, I wanted people to really understand the Assyrian people and how they differ from ‘Lebanese’ or ‘Arabic’ people, so I started explaining it to my co-workers. In each of the stations I worked at, all of my co-workers knew what “Assyrian” was, and that made me so proud. I still have a flag at my desk.
Then when social media hit, I decided to become more public about my nationality, and although people still assume I’m something else- many others have been really kind and asked great questions to get to know me and my people better.
-What are your future plans for your career?
My goal has always been to one day work in my hometown of Chicago! God willing I get there soon!
-What are some of the things that you find really interesting to cover and report on?
I absolutely love breaking news. Fires, shootings, accidents, etc. stories that get your blood pumping. Also- family stories, school stories, stories that I know will affect people and their families.
-What about some of the least exciting and interesting things that you have to report on?
I honestly can’t think of non-exciting stories! I’m pretty lucky that I get to cover a gamut of things.
-What is the most difficult assignment you have done as a TV anchor/reporter?
The toughest, by far, are deaths of children, and deaths of soldiers. I have attended way too many funerals of soldiers, and apologized to way too many moms and dads over the years, and it never gets easier.
-If you weren’t working in the current market, what other city would you love to work in?
Chicago! Hands down! Maybe one day, New York City.
-What is your advise to other Assyrians who would like to get into the TV and media business?
This business is changing every minute! Learn to do everything, and realize the big money is not there anymore. The idea that people make a ton of money in this business is simply not true. When you hit the network level, yes. Until then, get ready to live on chicken and rice every day! Oh, and be prepared to move to a very small city!
-In your online bio, it mentions that you wake up at 2:30 AM in the morning! How can you even do that?
It is the single hardest thing I do every day! I honestly cannot tell you how much of a challenge it is, but… once you get out of bed, the rest is much easier!
-What do you like about your job the most?
Making a difference in peoples’ lives.
-Is there any renowned or legendary reporter/anchor out there that you look up to?
My mentor Lisa Parker from WMAQ-TV, her terrific producer Robin Green.(former Chicago anchors) Bill Kurtis, Linda Maclennan, and Lester Holt.
-Have you ever MCed at any Assyrian events?
Yes, I co-hosted the St. Andrew’s Fashion Show in Chicago back in November of last year.
-You are both an anchor and a reporter at the same time: which one do you enjoy the most?
Since they are both completely different jobs, I truly do love them both. When it rains or snows out, I like the anchoring!
-How has social media changed your job? has it made it easier or harder in that you have to be at so many different websites and outlets at the same time?
Social media has changed EVERYTHING about my job.
There is so much more to do, and so many different outlets to expose my stories. I have a direct connection to my viewers now, and although at first it was overwhelming, now it’s something I can’t imagine working without. People are not afraid to share their opinions with you online, it’s no holds barred!
-Are you involved or have any knowledge of what is happening with Assyrians, their political struggles in the Middle East etc.?
Through my job, no. Through my personal life, I certainly try to be. All of my family is in the states, so there is no direct connection to the Middle East anymore, but I do try and stay up to date on issues. My whole family is very passionate and involved though.
-Have you visited our Assyrian Voice website yet?
Yes! I have, and it’s great! And Yes! I can, and will, promote your site!
-Any last word or something you would like to say to all the people reading this interview?
Yes, I have to talk about the reason I am sitting here, other than God’s grace.It’s my family. I come from the most humble, kindhearted, and spirited Assyrian family. The love and support I get is overwhelming, I choke up just writing about it. And that’s what makes our people great. Our ancestors have lived through so much. I am a first-generation
American, my family came to the United States with nothing. They created everything they have, and instilled hard work, dedication, and love within their two daughters. I am an enriched person, a kind person, a loved person, because of my mom and dad.
I am surrounded by my parents, incredible sister, brother-in-law, cousins, (both adult and babies), uncles, aunts, great friends and so on.
When you surround yourself with positive people, it’s contagious. I thank the Lord every day that he thought I was good enough to be a part of this family, and the Assyrian community.
-We thank you for this opportunity and wish you continued success and progress in your field.
And I thank you, for thinking I was good enough to write about. I am so proud of being an Assyrian woman, and I truly can’t wait to keep growing in this business, making other Assyrians proud!