ABC Race & Culture reporter Abby Cruz didn’t have an easy childhood growing up in North Philadelphia, so she developed what she now calls “keys” for turning lemons into lemonade.
These keys also unlocked his latest career move: participating in George Stephanopoulos’ eight-part docuseries. Power Trip: those who seek power and those who pursue it airing on Hulu, where ABC News goes behind the scenes to show the effort it takes seven of its new reporters to cover this year’s midterm elections.
ABC News has a long history of using embeds, campaign reporters who embed themselves in a campaign, to help cover presidential elections, but this is the first time they’ve been used for a midterm election. Power trigger tracks the integrations as they do the heavy lifting to get the stories.
“We are boots on the pitch and provide access behind the scenes,” Cruz explained.
Raised in North Philadelphia, Cruz said, “I like to tell people that Kensington made me and Logan raised me.” Both neighborhoods were tough and dangerous, but Cruz insisted that was what made her tough.
And tenacity, as she told her audience during her 2020 Ted Talk — Seize your opportunity — is one of its keys to getting there.
Yet there was nothing in Abby Cruz’s life to suggest she would make it.
“My name is Abby Cruz. I’m with ABC News in Washington, D.C. I’m also a board member of the National Press Club,” she explained on Ted Talk. is a dream come true.
His reality was more nightmarish.
Cruz’s mother took her away from her grandmother, who had raised her in Logan until she was eight, in a second-chance attempt at mothering but became physically abusive. His father was completely absent.
In his mother’s Kensington townhouse, Cruz recalls: “That’s when all hell started again. Every time my mother saw me, she put her hands on me. Every time she was angry, I understand that. She just didn’t like seeing my face.
Eventually her mother kicked her out of the house and she went to live with her best friend. At 15, she left and didn’t look back.
School, however, was another world. She attended Conwell Middle Magnet School, then was directed by an instructor to the academically challenging Philadelphia Girls’ High School. Finishing LaSalle University makes her the first college graduate in her family.
But pity isn’t what Cruz wants people to get out of his talk about his childhood experiences. She wants people to know that the second key to success is embracing your own fight. Cruz thinks you have to have a “willing to die for this opportunity” attitude in order to seize the situation.
And she wants you to know when you seize the day, nightmares fade away and dreams come true.
Cruz knew she wanted to leave North Philadelphia and she knew she wanted to be a journalist. She just didn’t know how to make either of these happen. “I was always so hungry and determined. I wanted to get out of this so badly,” she said.
During her freshman year in college, Cruz received a call from the Department of Social Services that led her to become the legal guardian of her two younger sisters, ages 13 and 6. His life therefore became parental with a full-time job and a full-time school load.
Cruz credits his favorite uncle, Alberto Torres or De$oney (pronounced De-money), with igniting his love of newspapers by reading the Applicant want ads together to help him search for jobs. She credits the Philadelphia Daily News for his first internship and allowing him to search the streets in search of stories. On February 17, 2015, Cruz’s first article was published – about a man who sold his popular carrot cakes on the subway after misfortune struck and he had to close his physical store.
He showed what is becoming a Cruz specialty – authentic stories about real, resilient people in difficult situations.
The story was a success in the newsroom and began his rise as a journalist. Eventually, her newspaper mentors urged her to leave town.
She told her Ted Talk audience that sometimes seizing the opportunity means listening to people give you real advice. She chose to go to DC but had no job or place to live. However, her 2018 independent coverage of the student-led March for Our Lives protest following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida, caught the attention of Reuters, the BBC and ABC. News about his work.
And when ABC News offered to pay her for some photos, she replied with a job application. In 2019, she became an office assistant.
“An office assistant is an entry-level job but I was grateful for the opportunity. I started presenting my own stories. It doesn’t matter what the title is. The role you are going to play is important,” Cruz said.
Cruz, who now lives in DC, called from his temporary home in the Dallas-Fort Worth area because Power trigger assigned him Texas and Nevada. Unusually, Cruz doubted his readiness for the docuseries and thought Power trigger would be too difficult for a journalist without political experience.
When she asked Stephanopoulos for help, he told her that every story ultimately intersects with politics. “Thank you God for giving me this advice, because once he gave me this information, I was not afraid anymore. He made it so simple. And the icing on the cake – if I ever have a problem, he’s just a phone call away.