Abbie Boudreau: On Raising News-Savvy Kids

By Elena Epstein

parenting

Abbie Boudreau with husband, Michael Cook, son, Calvin Cook and daughter, Clover Cook. PHOTO COURTESY ABBIE BOUDREAU

As a kid, Abbie Boudreau was curious about everything. She wanted to grow up to be an astronaut and a pastry chef. Later, as a graduate student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, her inquisitiveness and desire to help others led her to pursue a career in broadcast journalism. The Emmy-Award winner went on to work at CNN and ABC News as an investigative correspondent and now covers feature stories for “Good Morning America” and “Nightline.”

Boudreau lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two young children. She is also building a fan base online with her weekly live-streaming videos on Facebook. Boudreau recently created the family-focused website, Abbie Live! (www.abbielive.com). Her recent TEDxHollywood speech shed light on the importance of being a smart news consumer, and I recently chatted with her about this, among other things.

How can we raise news-savvy kids?

I think about this a lot with my own kids – especially now, when there is so much talk about “fake news.” It’s important to teach our kids how to find information they can trust. We need to teach children from a young age how to become their own reporters. We can do this by teaching them to have an open mind, to seek out multiple sources and to dig for information in its rawest form. Technology has changed the way we gather news and how consumers process it. As a parent and as a journalist, I am trying to encourage my children to stretch their attention spans beyond 140 characters to find the real story.

Tell us about working with your kids on your Facebook live broadcast.

I love working with them and we’re learning so much together. We could be crafting LEGO magnets one day and making a brownie in a mug another, but it’s something we have fun doing together. I love visual storytelling and I enjoy connecting with other parents, so this is my sweet spot. Because it is a live broadcast, it’s far from perfect, and that’s just the way I like it! It’s important to me that my content is real and unfiltered.

How do you juggle home and work life?

For me, it’s all about prioritizing elements of my day to achieve some semblance of “balance.” It’s not easy and I certainly don’t have it figured out. My car has become my “mobile office.” It’s really the only place where I can escape for some quiet time away from the chaos inside my home! I have a full-time babysitter to help with the kids. I no longer travel so much for work. I try my best, but I have learned to embrace my imperfections. I used to act like I had it all together, but that’s a very stressful way to live. Now I remind myself to let go, have fun and to enjoy my family.

Share with us a news segment that affected you as a mom?

I worked on several segments for “Good Morning America” about body shaming. While covering this story, I was inspired by women who refused to be victims of online haters. They posted filter-free pictures of themselves and embraced their bodies with a “who-cares” kind of attitude. It made me realize that I had been judging myself too hard for far too long. I’m glad I finally learned this lesson so I can lead by example when it comes to my own kids.

Where is your family’s favorite spot in L.A.?

On just about every weekend, we hit the beach! I’m from Chicago so I try to take full advantage of the gorgeous weather and ocean here.

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