Bettina Boateng

Bettina Boateng

Reporter Bettina Boateng Brings Her Care, Compassion and Love for People to the Airwaves of the Birmingham Area

Most will know Bettina Boateng as the morning TV Anchor on Birmingham’s Alabama’s 13 Today In Alabama morning show, but after reading about her, I wanted to share with you the person behind the anchor. Bettina moved to the United States from West Ghana, Africa when she was two years old and was raised in Houston, Texas. As a student at Southern Methodist University, Bettina was studying pre-med to eventually go to medical school, but soon realized that pre-med was not really for her. “I was having a very hard time with the course work in pre-med, and I was coming to the realization that I had to drop pre-med.” said Bettina Boateng. “As I was trying to make the decision to drop my courses, a fellow student came up to me and said that she could see me as a host of a some sort of TV show. I changed my major and the rest is history.”

Her decision to changed majors paid off, because Bettina worked as an intern with CNN, FOX-Atlanta, ABC News Radio and CBS Dallas, all of which helped her pave her way to her first job. “I do not see my path into broadcast journalism as a decision I made, but rather I view it as a calling, and I thank God I answered it.”

One of the things that she loves most about what she does is sharing stories about others with the community. While working at the NBC affiliate in Charleston, S.C., Bettina shot a one-hour documentary From the Low Country to Africa: the Ghana Connection. Bettina found the similarities between South Carolina’s Lowcountry and Ghana mesmerizing. “Living and interacting with the people in and around Charleston was like interacting with the people of Ghana. I felt that others would be fascinated by the similarities as well, so I decided to do the film while I was on a trip to Ghana. Also, a group of Charleston teachers taught students in Ghana, so I also had the opportunity to highlight how they were impacting students lives oversees.” The documentary won an Associated Press Award.

Bettina told me that the best thing about her job is the people that she interacts with everyday. “I meet someone new everyday and I love it,” she added. “I also love the energy people have, in fact I feed off of their energy, and it keeps me going.” It’s good to note that she respects the good in and potential good in all people, especially when sometimes the news she covers is not always good.

I couldn’t interview Bettina without asking her what she thought about what the future of the broadcast new industry looked like as well as what she thought about the insurgence of Social Media and citizen journalists. She believes the broadcast news industry in particular will become “hyper-local” and that we will access more and more news on mobile phones, iPads and other devices that have yet to be developed. “I can envision broadcast news being delivered in a more concise and in shorter intervals,” said Bettina. “For example, can you imagine getting a link on your phone, and clicking and the journalists pops up to give you a one-minute, or breaking news? That’s where we’re headed I believe. It’s evolving and we (broadcast journalists) are going to have to definitely change the way ‘we’ communicate,” she said. As for citizen journalists, Bettina reminded me that we’ve always had “I-reporters” or those who give news tips, and now these tipsters, as she refers to them, can be of more value because they can get information to the journalists quicker, and then it is up to the journalists to do the correct fact-checks. The problem she told me is when a citizen journalist decides to take a slanted viewpoint and place inaccurate information, often potential slanderous information into an online forum. “These self-published blogs or online newspapers, often look authentic, but in essence they are not. The “journalist” then “slugs” it as reputable news,” she said. “True journalists are trained to disseminate information and report the facts to the masses. We are more than ‘town-criers.’ Journalists work effortlessly and tirelessly to communicate the facts accurately and without personal opinion.” Bettina also believes that journalists are public servants not entertainers.

I wanted to further investigate her statement that she views journalists as “public servants,” so I asked her about her community involvement. Most may remember, that Bettina was one of the Anchors who supported the United Way’s Food Drive over Thanksgiving. “With my job, I am amazed everyday by how I have the ability to change people’s lives for the better,” she stated. One of the issues that Bettina has deep concern over is poverty. It’s a known fact that we have deep pockets of poverty in the State of Alabama, but what Bettina was able to do was to remind me that some of the people suffering could very well live next door. Bettina added, “There are people right next door that are hungry and who need a job. And when people are hungry and when they have no money, they often are very frustrated.” She went on to say that sometimes people react to this frustration with aggression, not everyone, but some do. “I believe that everyone is connected. There are people in our community who are hurting and we cannot just push these issues under the carpet,” said Bettina. “If you keep hiding issues, then eventually the problem will show up at your door. And, often times, the experience is devastating. I learned this first-hand when someone shot and killed my brother. When people are hurting and in need we need to do what we can to help.”

Bettina believes that in order for her to do her job well, she must know the people and community in which she lives. “I am the voice to the masses, so I have to know the people I talk about. I listen to and stay in touch with the people in Birmingham. I care about my community and its people. It is my job to report in such a way that it spurs my viewers to seek more information about a particular subject with the hope that it enhances their view or broadens it all together.”

I, for one, am glad we have such a compassionate caring person (journalist) on the airwaves in Birmingham. You can catch Bettina Boateng mornings on Alabama’s 13.

4 Responses to “Bettina Boateng”

  1. S.M. Madison says:

    Bettina adds so much zest to the set. She always comes across with a genuine smile and a professional connection. Glad you did this story, because it is educational. Birmingham is blessed to have someone like her in this city reporting the news that effects us all.

  2. S.M. Madison says:

    Bettina adds so much zest to the set. She always comes across with a genuine smile and a professional connection. Glad you did this story, because it is educational. Birmingham is blessed to have someone like her in this city reporting the news that effects us all.

  3. Angela Adams says:

    Wow!! This was a great article. Thanks so much for sharing. Bottina is more than a blessing to the airways. She brings a little joy, lots of style and class into our lives daily. Thank You!

  4. I like the items you put in here. Very pertinent information. Consider yourself book marked.

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