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From television news reporter to mommy of two: Rachel Elzufon talks life after news

One day you see your favorite reporter on TV and then the next you're wondering where are they now? Here Rachel Elzufon tells us more about the shift from being right in the action to spending more time at home.

One day you see your favorite reporter on TV and then the next you’re wondering where are they now? Rachel Elzufon, formerly of Channel 7 (WKBW), was one of those reporters who had a heart of gold. She didn’t just smile for the camera, she always had a huge smile off camera as well, which could be attributed to her beautiful family. She is now a mommy to two children and she is working as a volunteer coordinator at the American Red Cross. So what made her leave a career in television news for a more easygoing life? Here Rachel tells us more about the shift from being right in the action to spending more time at home.

How long were you in television news? And what did you love about it?

I spent ten years in TV news. The first two years I interned in Elmira, Washington D.C. and here in Buffalo. I then worked for eight years on the air in Yuma, AZ/El Centro, CA and then in Buffalo mainly as a reporter. I also anchored, produced and dabbled in weather and sports!

Looking back on it, my favorite part of news was the teamwork. Newsrooms really are teams and very right knit … you strive to lift each other up. Some of my best friends came from the industry. And believe it or not, as competitive of a business it is, you become friends with the competition!

The best part of being out in the field was meeting so many people with different perspectives, ideas and life experiences… it is very eye opening. News absolutely made me less judgmental and a better person.

What made you leave and work for a nonprofit instead?

As much as I loved news, I was always drawn to the work done by nonprofits. Even in news, working with nonprofits were some of my favorite stories. I love the different ways our community comes together and helps each other. And I was always amazed that many of these nonprofits function because of volunteers. These are some of the most amazing people you will ever meet. (Oh and by the way — I am now a volunteer coordinator and have already convinced my husband to volunteer once our kids are older!)

Talk to me about your sweet babies. Was that what motivated you to leave television news?

I left news to find a better work-life balance. In 2014, my husband and I had Joshua. He is now a sweet, funny and sassy 3-year-old! We also had a little girl, Shayla, in July! Kids are only little for so long, and I was missing too much. I started working for the American Red Cross part-time in May of 2016. My current job has been incredible flexibility. I can work from home if the kids are sick or change my schedule around if we need to head out of town to see family. My boss also let me take an extra month of maternity leave…  I get 16 weeks off with my baby girl! For any job in he U.S., that is amazing! Most importantly, I get to be more involved with my babies’ lives on a daily basis!

What’s the family life like as opposed to the hectic schedule of a TV reporter?

Family life is so much calmer now. I used to love being called for a story at anytime or having to stay late for breaking news. Now, I love our routine and having quality family time both before and after work. I know what time I will be home from work everyday. I’ve also made myself more of a priority. I believe you lead by example, and want my children to take care of themselves. I eat healthier, exercise more and have become involved in my number one passion again — dance!

Do you ever miss it?

There are aspects of news that I miss. I loved writing and actually really enjoyed editing video! When I catch something newsworthy, I still try to pass it on to my friends. The “news bug” never really leaves you.

What’s your favorite story you’ve covered?

It is hard to pinpoint favorite stories. There were some that were really fun, others that were “big” and many that were touching. The most fun I ever had on a story was flying in a fighter jet with the Blue Angels in El Centro, California! The biggest stories I covered were natural disasters…  a 7.2 earthquake in Mexicali (the capital of Baja California in Mexico) and the Snowvember storm that dumped seven feet of snow in parts of WNY. The most touching story I covered was how Forest Elementary in Amherst rallied around a student with cancer. The entire community came out for a fundraiser! It was amazing, inspiring and tear jerking at times to see the love shown for this little boy!

What do you like about working for the Red Cross now?

Now, I love the work I do at the American Red Cross! It is so fulfilling to see the different ways that people come together to save lives and help the community. I work in blood services and have met the most remarkable people who donate so much of their time (and blood). Many of them do not want any recognition — they just want to help. There is so much turmoil in the world right now, but these people are a bright light! It is incredible to see how much goes into this life saving measure on the part of staff and volunteers.

My husband and I also have more time for our families outside of WNY! He is from downstate and I am from Wilmington, DE. In news you often have to work holidays. You also cannot take off during certain months because of the ratings period. That did not bother us until our son was born. Now we are able to host Thanksgiving and go home for certain holidays! We are able to spend more time with our family members who do not live here!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, what are you most grateful for?

I am most grateful that college (UB) – and years later news – brought me to WNY! Buffalo has given me the most amazing family and a wonderful life! Life has taken us on quite a few unexpected paths. I moved to Buffalo in college as a dance major at the University at Buffalo and ended up a journalist. I moved back to Buffalo as a journalist and ended up working in the nonprofit industry and teaching dance. I am very glad that I embraced the unexpected! We did not intend to settle here, but now cannot imagine being anywhere else!

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