Sonni Abatta: Host and Author, We Gotta Talk Podcast and Blog

 

Angela Tuell: 0:05

Welcome to Media in Minutes. This is your host Angela Tuell. This podcast features in-depth interviews with those reports on the world around us. They share everything from their favorite stories to what happened behind the lens and give us a glimpse into their world. From our studio here at Communications Redefined, this is Media in Minutes. Today we are talking with Sonni Abatta. Sonni is an Emmy nominated and AP award winning journalist who spent 15 years working as a TV anchor and reporter. Today she is the host of the weekly live talk show and podcast We Gotta Talk. Sonni is a wife and mom of three who believes women were fed a lie when they were told we can have it all. She transitioned from working full time as a TV news anchor to launching a platform where she could address issues across the spectrum, from news to wellness to beauty. Welcome, Sonni.

Sonni Abatta: 1:00

Hey, Angela, thank you so much for having me.

Angela Tuell: 1:02

Yes, I’m really looking forward to talking with you today. We actually started our careers out the same as television journalists. And then both eventually went in different directions. I saw you mentioned how it’s really a lie that you can have it all as a woman and it really hit home for me. One of the main reasons I left TV was because I had met my husband and knew I wanted a family and it didn’t seem feasible, you know, to move around the country every couple of years to move up markets and at the same time be a wife and a mom. Do you feel the same?

Sonni Abatta: 1:36

I do. And I always feel like a buzzkill when I say that, because it’s boiled down to like the most headline way of saying that. But in in essence, it is true that you can’t have it all, at once. And the message that I’m sort of trying to get across to other women isn’t don’t go for your dreams or don’t pursue that career that sort of lights your soul on fire. But it is to not ignore the practicalities of life that will always be there as you’re pursuing that career. And it doesn’t have to end up the same way that mine did, which was stepping away from news and sort of deviating into this digital media space. But I think it we do women a disservice to send them out into the universe that you can do it all, because what ends up happening is that we have unrealistic expectations on ourselves, and how we show up in our job and our relationships in our relationships with our children. And therefore we’re caught in a cycle of constant self criticism or exhaustion. And I just don’t want that to be like the storyline. And I have to say, you know, I can hear I can feel like my parents generation sort of like cringing when I say this, because I was, I am the daughter of a woman who worked full time. My parents both worked. And my mom showed me that you can have a career and have a family. But the type of career that she had was just a little more amenable to a family situation. And so when we say you can have it all, you just have to make sure that whatever you’re doing in the professional space, is giving you the flexibility and freedom to also have that family life. Because there there’s nuance to that saying so I always like say that, because the movement did come so far to allow women to exist outside right of the domestic. Yeah, and I’m so grateful. But I also that was my personal journey was realizing, well, I can’t do my job on my schedule, with my partner and my children. It just didn’t work and like it’s okay. And I yeah, I loved my job. It doesn’t take away from that. But that’s sort of the bottom line, I guess, takeaway, is that like giving myself permission to acknowledge that it was a lot harder than I thought it would be.

Angela Tuell: 3:41

Yeah, I definitely have seen too, you know, if you’re working mom even full time you still have those other mom responsibilities that you would have if you were a full time, Mom, you know, stay at home mom. And I think that’s, that’s tough to try to be able to fit all of that in.

Sonni Abatta: 3:57

Yeah. And you know, I think every woman has to have like a very, you have to sit quietly with yourself and have a very honest moment where you ask yourself, what do you want to be on the top two or three of your list and you can’t be full steam parent, full steam career and full steam partner all at once. You just can’t do it. And so maybe there’s a way to take from one column and move to the other and just kind of readjust it a little bit. But I would never want someone to feel guilty because she feels like she’s not 100% showing up all of those categories. It’s just not physically or spiritually or emotionally possible.

Angela Tuell: 4:35

And I think that’s how a lot of us feel. So I love that you’re bringing awareness to that.

Sonni Abatta: 4:39

Yeah, I hate again, no. And I think every generation will take that take a lesson from that, you know, whatever lesson they will and, you know, give themselves permission to sort of evolve upon the last generation.

Angela Tuell: 4:51

Right, right. So what was life like after leaving TV? You know, I tended to still feel like I was a journalist, even really today identify that way. Maybe that’s why I have the podcast, you know, 15 years later. How was it for you?

Sonni Abatta: 5:07

I definitely identify as a journalist and I, you know, I think being a journalist is, comes down to the quality and integrity of your work, not necessarily the outfit that you’re working for, or the outlet that you’re working for. I think, you know, there are practical challenges to being an independent journalist or an independent host. And that is, you know, you don’t have a team of fact checkers all the time. So you have to acknowledge things and episodes are in things where you don’t have the ability to like single handedly fact check things or, but that just as a disclosure, but it doesn’t, doing what we do now, and I’m counting you in this digital space, of course, as well doesn’t preclude us from being journalists, just because we’re not working for old media older, you know, like established media outlets. In fact, I’m really encouraged by what I’m seeing in the independent journalism space. And while it can create some confusion and can sort of muddy waters, I think it’s providing a really necessary middle ground for a lot of people who were really tired of what became a very binary media system. So I’m really honored to be part of this new guard in a lot of ways.

Angela Tuell: 6:09

That’s a great perspective. And I love seeing that, like you had just mentioned too I live in Indianapolis. And you know, with most, all newspapers and traditional media throughout the country, they’ve gotten smaller and less journalists. We have had three or four independent media outlets open in just the last year. A lot of them are, you know, e-newsletters put on digital, and by the, you know, traditional journalists that worked for these other outlets. It’s fascinating.

Sonni Abatta: 6:36

Yeah, yeah, it’s really cool to see people in the

Angela Tuell: 6:36

Yes. journalism space and media space, wake up to that need to, you know, I think we were all conditioned to be like, well, if I don’t make it to network, I’m not a legitimate journalist.

Sonni Abatta: 6:46

I’m sure, you know, I would have done a lot Well, in fact, those journalists are working with more restrictions and difficulties than a lot of us are, you know, when it comes to time limits, and the ability to fully express with nuance a really complicated issues. So they’ve got their downsides, too. And, you know, it’s no longer my goal, like my goal, just like every other woman who watched Katie Couric, or whoever was on the Today Show. I was like, I want to be on the Today Show. better if I stayed, you know, could have gotten to New York if I stayed the path, but I don’t want that anymore. And I think I’m coming to terms with you know, a change of dreams, or a change of goals is like an important part of the process too. Like, what is appealing to me now, as a mother of three as a wife, as a, you know, as a woman is not what it was for me when I was a 19 year old. So and that’s okay, too.

Angela Tuell: 7:38

That is so true. But at that point, was it hard for you to leave?

Sonni Abatta: 7:42

No, not at that point. I mean, I feel very, here’s what was hard. It was never the job that I disliked. I loved the work of what I did. And I was most recently at a Fox affiliate here in Orlando, and they had really changed the structure of our newscast to include a lot of interview segments. So people think of an anchor, and they think, Oh, you’re just reading from the box. And most of the time, that’s the case. But we really made an effort during that period of time when I was working there. And they’re still doing this to include longer format. And longer format in TV is like two to three to four minutes, right, interviews, interspersed throughout every newscast. And I was the anchor of the five, six and 10pm newscast. And so we were responsible as anchors as CO anchors for creating a lot of the content, not a lot, but a decent amount. A decent chunk of time of a newscast, if you’re in the world, you know, like two minutes in TV is at a big chunk of time. So I really was able to sharpen my interviewing skills, I was doing anywhere from like five to seven interviews per day and coming up with my own questions. Like a lot of times, we weren’t being prompted by producers. Like they, you know, they might give you like, Hey, make sure you cover this, but like, we were in the weeds. And so while I don’t miss the job and the schedule and the pressures that came with trying to always show up as like, you know, a good wife and good mom, what we talked about. I never disliked the work, so I don’t miss it because of the schedule, but and I feel fulfilled in my passion because I have a podcast and because – You know, I have that ability to express my

Angela Tuell: 9:10

Yeah. passion and to produce what I think is good work, even without being on an anchor desk. And so it just looks different now. So yeah, I don’t I don’t regret leaving it. It was really not – I needed to. I felt like I was taking someone else’s job by really would have wanted it. Yeah.

Sonni Abatta: 9:30

I remember feeling that like, you know what, I’m taking a job from someone who actually wants to be here. I was so distracted by –

Angela Tuell: 9:37

Life.

Sonni Abatta: 9:38

Life, right. Yes. I was like, I don’t need to be here. I need to be. I felt it so viscerally. I need to be at home. I need to be away. So it really wasn’t a hard decision for me and I don’t mean to come across as callous when I say I don’t miss it. But I I don’t because I’m finding a fulfillment in a different way. So

Angela Tuell: 9:59

That’s great. So how do you manage now being a mom and a wife and having this professional career and what you’re doing now? That while it’s not as demanding is working full time in TV news, it still takes significant time and energy and resources.

Sonni Abatta: 10:13

Yeah, I mean, I think I’m like a lot of this people in this space motivated by my passion, and my passion really is informing and offering nuance to really complicated things, right, in life, whether they’re in the news or whether they’re in sort of under the more health and lifestyle category. And so I, I feel like I’m able to, like show up in that way in service to people. And so it feels in alignment, in a lot of ways, in a way that I probably couldn’t have executed, while operating under the umbrella of, you know, a news company. So I organize my days and weeks by I’m driven by that passion. So it’s not hard for me to show up and do what I want to do. Because as dorky as it sounds, it really is my passion to engage in interesting conversations. So I’m able to plan my week around the time that I have, which usually looks like the first half of the week is kind of work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. I tried to schedule my interviews, go through and write some newsletter content. And then Thursday and Friday generally are a little more freeform. And so it’s, it’s really nice. And you know, I’m fortunate to be to be married to someone, I don’t have the pressure of providing the bulk of our income. And I have to acknowledge that privilege. But it’s allowed me to come up with a way to work and remain engaged that works with my schedule. And you know, kids like, a lot of time, and energy, and it’s wonderful, but it’s like, it’s Yeah, so I feel grateful that I’m still getting into the groove. Like, I’m trying to work on my time blocking better and all these things that like, you know, you hear people talk about as far as productivity hacks. So I’m, I’m refining the process, but I’m able to really work it, work the system a little bit and work my schedule, which has been really cool.

Angela Tuell: 12:01

Yeah, I think, you know, with my, I’m pretty much full time Monday through Friday, but I am so flexible, where I can run, you know, to a couple hour field trip, or I can go to lunch with the kids or do something that’s needed. And that is just so invaluable to have that kind of flexibility, I guess.

Sonni Abatta: 12:20

Yeah, absolutely. It’s Yeah. Sounds like you being grateful for like, recognizing that there’s like a privilege like, I don’t forget that because I know, what it feels like to not be able to do that. So every day that I can sit at this desk and like, schedule something around what works for my kids’ schedule and mine just feels like such a blessing.

Angela Tuell: 12:40

Yes, yes. So when did you start We Gotta Talk? And please tell us more for those listeners who are not familiar.

Sonni Abatta: 12:46

Yeah, so We Gotta Talk, it’s like a news and issues based podcast. It’s all about the tagline is Real Talk on Big Topics. So the idea is to bring people into otherwise difficult conversations or conversations that require more nuance in a really accessible way. So I cover what’s happening in the world. I’ve done some coverage lately, what’s happening in the Middle East, I’ve touched every controversial issue there is to touch. Second Amendment, abortion rights. I mean, like every possible issue, religion, everything they tell you not to talk about in broader company, I, we talk about, because it is my belief, and it is the ethos and philosophy of this podcast, that more conversation allows us to see our philosophical opponents and I’m kind of using air quotes as more of the humans that they are and to kind of search for points of connection. So that’s the goal of the podcast. It, I would say it’s, it’s it’s a good blend of heavier topics, because I have a real passion for current events, geopolitics and American politics. But it’s also we give you breathing space too. I’m like a huge beauty and skincare freak. So I have interviewed really do funny to reuse of like dermatologists and brand founders and plastic surgeons, and, you know, like all this, like, totally superficial stuff that just really, at the end of the day, who cares. But that’s sort of the counterpoint to the other really heavy stuff that we cover. And so that’s what the podcast is about. I’ve had a podcast for over five years now. But I sort of rebranded to We Gotta Talk, I think, three, I think three and a half years ago. So it’s been in this current iteration, it used to be called 30 something and then I aged out of that category. And now it’s 40 something No, that’s just we got it. I wanted to you know, I wanted it was important for me, and you know this too having to brand your own company now, it was important that when people came to the site or came across the feed that it represented, like a broader kind of understanding what was happening on the show. And, you know, I had a heavier focus on motherhood, I think when it was just 30 something and I was really finding my footing and then I realized as I kind of like had started to grow that I wanted to really go back to my news roots and I am a person who cares about what’s happening in the world and who thinks that when we have the privilege of living in a place, in a country like we do, it’s important to remain engaged. And so I’m always trying to, you know, keep my feet a good blend of real world stuff versus fun, health, whatever lifestyle stuff because I really believe passionately in, in people remaining connected to the world around them.

Angela Tuell: 15:21

I love that about your show. And I was listening to some of the episodes recently, and it’s just I feel like it’s I hate the word unique. I don’t use that often as a journalist, because there’s not much that’s truly unique. But I love that blend that I haven’t seen it before. So I really –

Sonni Abatta: 15:37

That means a lot. Thank you.

Angela Tuell: 15:38

I really appreciate that. And I something else that, you know, that really bothers me is when people have vocal opinions, but are not informed. With what’s happening. Like, how can you have opinions and not be informed?

Sonni Abatta: 15:52

I know, it’s crazy. And you know, I don’t it’s, it’s tricky, especially with what’s happening in the world right now. I don’t ever want to deny anybody, the, the allegiances they have or the feelings they have toward whatever side of an issue.

Angela Tuell: 16:08

Sure.

Sonni Abatta: 16:08

But I think with the abundance of information that’s out there, it’s really on us to, I always say trigger ourselves, right to go outside of our echo chamber and to seek out other opinions. And you may land in the same spot, you may come back to what you believe, but –

Angela Tuell: 16:22

Sure.

Sonni Abatta: 16:24

You know, I just want to keep having conversations and take myself out of my own comfort zone. And I hope that it does that for some people, because you will find on the feed, things that you may not philosophically agree with. And as you know, from working in news, you’re not allowed to have an opinion in public. So there are moments when I share…

Angela Tuell: 16:47

Not allowed to registeras a, as a Republican or Democrat.

Sonni Abatta: 16:50

It’s wild. And so it really feels like so revolutionary for me when I’m like, Oh, this is what I think. But what you know, I My opinion is present in some episodes. But even if I feel what I feel, I still seek out another side, I still continue to seek it out. Because if there’s one small thing I can contribute, it’s maybe a more nuanced understanding of things that are happening in the world. And I think that’s like, if you would ask me, like, what is your like podcasts do? Or why do you do it? Like that’s the ultimate sort of active service that it provides. It’s just like, more information, like, I know more information is like harder to comb through and sometimes we don’t want to hear it, but like, get oh, like, let’s get into it. Let’s hear it. And you will go back to what you think and that’s okay. But it’s so important to be informed. It’s exactly what you said, like, let’s hear it. Let’s hear from both sides. Let’s hear from all sides and just see how that changes things.

Angela Tuell: 17:43

Have you had any that’s changed how you’ve thought a little bit?

Sonni Abatta: 17:46

You know, it hasn’t changed where I land. But since doing my podcast, specifically, a little mini series I did on the overturning of Roe versus Wade, and the jobs rolling. I did a little mini series on that which included interviews with women, not interviews, like sort of, they recorded their own experiences. I didn’t ask any questions on why they chose to get an abortion or chose to not get an abortion. I talked with a constitutional expert who explained how this could have happened. I talked to someone more on the activist side. So Anyway, point being it was a very comprehensive sort of view on what happened. And I wouldn’t say that I changed my opinion, I still identify as pro choice. And I know that that can be offensive and trigger some people and I’m, you know, I can appreciate that might turn some people off. But it really taught me how, how and why it’s important for me to show up untriggered to the other side. Like it used to be, if I’m being frank, really difficult for me to sit across from a person that I disagreed with on this issue and, and really hear them out because I was like, but how can you, but how this and how that.

Angela Tuell: 18:55

Right.

Sonni Abatta: 18:55

That I realized it isn’t. And then I lived more of

Angela Tuell: 18:56

It does. I love that. And I feel like so many of life. And I came in contact with people who don’t agree with me. And I worked at a job where I had to interview people that I didn’t agree with. And when you’re constantly quote unquote triggered like that you learn to react, you learn to not react, I guess you learn to see this person on the other side of any issue as a human deserving of their set of beliefs due to the experiences they have or the belief system they’re raised in. And so while I wouldn’t say I changed my mind, I welcomed with open arms those people in those conversations into my life and I surround myself with people I don’t agree with I feel like I’m weird in that way. Because it teaches me that you can still be a good person. Like why is conservative a bad word? Like why are we scared of conservative? I don’t understand. Why are we scared of like woke? Like same kind of thing and it taught me from having lived in a constantly triggering environment that you can begin to see the human behind it, so like I said, I didn’t necessarily change it but now I live differently. My energy is calm around people I disagree with I seek. I lead with curiosity rather than the need to defend by point of view. And, you know, I don’t know that like, there are certainly people in the world whose goal is whose existence sort of plays more into the activism space. And I think my role on this earth, if we’re getting spiritual is to be more of a mediator and to be that person or that feed to come to when people just want to hear the other side and not get angry and see them as human. And I think that’s kind of the change us could use that more. And I feel like, especially over the past, you know, few years that I was almost more like that. And that I’ve experienced. And I’ve understood the nuance behind people’s belief systems a little bit more. Like I, I want to know it was getting getting more towards the side of it just now, how people come to believe what they believe, rather than I don’t want to write people out of my life. We don’t have to be besties. We don’t have to be going to each other birthday parties, but I want to be a good human to you. And I want that in terms and especially in this world. So yeah, I would say that’s the biggest change in me, it’s just feeling like I finally, and this is years in the making, can show up really, as a decent person, even though I might believe some things you don’t believe in, and vice versa. If that makes sense. being impossible to almost hear the other side. So I love kind of that full circle to go back towards that. What are some of your favorite episodes and topics? Ones we should definitely check out and we haven’t yet.

Sonni Abatta: 21:36

Okay, let me browse my feet Hold on, I don’t the thing is that. So like involved in every episode that I like, forget. I do think most recently I did two episodes regarding the war in the Middle East, the conflict and Middle East that I think are worth a listen to. I want to say I don’t want to say interviewed because I conducted this a little differently. But I gave airspace to and provided an identical list of questions to two people, a Palestinian American, and a Jewish American. And I let them while I understand these don’t represent all of this sort of different sides in this issue. This was a two that I was able to come in contact with and who were willing to share. I would encourage people to listen to that and to listen to the side that you may not agree with. And what I did with these women who were so gracious to give me their time was provide them with the identical list of questions and give them the time and space to explain how they came to feel how they feel. And the title of those episodes are what an American Jew wants you to know about what’s happening in the Middle East and what a Palestinian American wants you to know about what’s happening in the Middle East and they were deliberately as apolitical as possible in the titling because I’m trying to create a welcoming space for conversations. I would say check those out those are fairly recent. Oh gosh, I also got a real woo woo side, Angela. So I like to talk to like psychics and spiritual advisors. I did this really interesting interview with this woman who is like a spiritual medium, for lack of a better word. And she goes through the whole and I’m, I’m Catholic personally. So I’m religious that I’m also, I’ve also got a really appreciation for I guess you just call it generic spirituality. So she walks us through what the soul is and why so many people, no matter the religion, believe in it. And this concept of new souls and the lessons we learn in life, and it’s applicable, really to any set of beliefs. And it was just fascinating to hear her talk about this connection we all have, regardless of religion to soul, and why it’s important to remain in touch with that. It’s just it was really cool. I did a really cool episode recently about narcissism. This is like a tag where you hear all over Instagram and Tik Tok. Like, oh, everyone’s calling everyone a narcissist these days. And so I was like, scrolling through my feed and I’m like, there be this many narcissists in the world. So I interviewed a like, clinical psychologist, she’s a nationally recognized expert on narcissism about like, okay, really, what is it? And like, what to do if you think you might be in a relationship with one. Yeah, I just kinds of fun stuff that I did.

Angela Tuell: 24:10

Sounds great.

Sonni Abatta: 24:10

Yeah, just a lot. I mean, there’s it’s all I interviewed Tara Lipinski recently about motherhood. So that was fun.

Angela Tuell: 24:17

Yes.

Sonni Abatta: 24:18

But yeah, as you can see, they’re kind of everywhere. But the one common thread is it’s like a real deep dive into some really complicated issues.

Angela Tuell: 24:25

Yeah, so we’ll put the links in our show notes for sure. So that listeners can can listen to all of them and in subscribe to your podcast.

Sonni Abatta: 24:32

Thank you.

Angela Tuell: 24:33

So one question I do have though, did you and that our listeners might have as well did you find it difficult to start your own business and to get into into this you know, situation where you’re where you’re doing this and then in with your family and your kids and…

Sonni Abatta: 24:48

Yeah, I don’t have so much of a problem with the

Angela Tuell: 24:49

I’ve struggled with that as well. creative side of things. I can plan an editorial calendar to a tee with great content. But I really struggled and I think

Sonni Abatta: 24:57

A lot. I’m always like, my husband is an attorney. continue to work on my, like the business side of things. Like the keeping track of the money and the finances and the like. And I’m like, can you just tell me how to work Excel real quick? And he’s like, How do you know? You’re a forty two year old woman.

Angela Tuell: 25:22

We did not have that, learn that in journalism school. I never learned Excel or PowerPoint.

Sonni Abatta: 25:26

Right, you the best hook for days on your story, I got right to the chase, but I cannot balance a spreadsheet. That’s been a challenge for me. So it’s like, you know, I think I’ve learned to seek out help on that stuff. And yes, also, it’s important for me to like scale my business and to the needs that I have at the moment. Like sometimes I’ve had more people working with me on a freelance basis. Right now, you know, kind of slimming things down. And I’m taking on a little bit more of this and that. So it’s just a process. It’s definitely challenging. But I think if you’re motivated by a goal, it’s kind of easy to rise to the challenge.

Angela Tuell: 26:04

Yes, yes. So a lot of our audience are PR professionals. So question, a question about that. How can PR professionals best pitch you ideas or interviews for the show? What do you look for in a guest?

Sonni Abatta: 26:17

I look for a great hook. Do the work for me a little bit. I don’t want people to pitch journalists or podcast hosts and be married to one angle, per se. However, I want you – if you’re emailing me or really even when I was working in news, and I would comb through emails – you got to tell me why you should care. What doesn’t work are generic mailers about for example, in the local news market, new pizzeria opening. I don’t care. You know what I care about? I care, I care that Antonio. Uh, you know, I don’t know chef from Sicily opening first Italian owned restaurant in x City Floor. Like, he’s bringing his family recipes. Give me a hook. Give me juiciness. Tell me what’s different about your pizzeria than anyone else. Because people are drawn to stories. People aren’t drawn to brands, eventually we become loyal to brands, of course, but it’s not because, necessarily, because we just decided to pick up the drink one day, the best pop I’ve ever tasted. It’s because, you know, buy the world of Coke. Like sell me on the story, right? It’s the story behind the brand. So I would, I would love to see that. And sometimes I do lean right into the angle the PR person has pitched me on. I just did an interview yesterday. And the subject line was very clear and concise. It was Stop Trying to Fix Everything. And I was like, Oh my gosh, this resonates like wow, let me read more. You know, make your subject line compelling. Tell me what’s different about it. And really do the work of getting to the core of your brand story, whether you’re working with an author or a company or whatever. Like I said, people buy stories. People, I mean that like literally, but also, look, I buy into you because I know, well, maybe all the things that you went through to get where you are or that’s that’s what we have to do, I think with some of these pitches and brands. Kind of do, do some of the heavy lifting for me and tell me why I need to care. And that’s what gets me to open it. And then beyond that, I think what makes a really big difference is like a great headshot in there. Like, I want to see the person bullet bullet points and stuff for me. And tell me right off the top. You know, don’t there’s, I think this misconception that I need, we don’t need the whole life story. So to speak. In there.

Angela Tuell: 28:35

Right?

Sonni Abatta: 28:36

We need yeah, the hook, right? The subject line’s gotta be a hook. And like maybe some other bullet point options for “she can also talk about” or”Antonio can also talk about,” I don’t know how to grow your own herb garden, if you want to get into whatever, you know.

Angela Tuell: 28:49

You need enough to talk about for a long period of time as well.

Sonni Abatta: 28:53

Right? And you presumably know your client best

Angela Tuell: 28:53

That’s great advice. I want to circle back to in the PR position. And it’s very clear to me when PR groups the children really quick. So we both have three children around or, you know, reps take on clients that they’re not into or that they don’t know much about because the it’s just like, Oh, she can talk about, I don’t know, being a mom and working. And I’m like, uh uh. That’s like not granular enough. Right? So get to know your kiddo. I can tell if a person really cares about what they’re pitching. And if you care, I’ll care. It’s like it’s the age old story of like advertising. You got to tell us why we need to care. There’s so many things racing for our attention. And so when you do some of that heavy lifting, it makes a huge difference, I think really increases the chances of getting coverage. the same ages actually. I have twins that are 12 and a seven year old.

Sonni Abatta: 29:49

Yeah, okay. Yes, so mine are 11, nine and six.

Angela Tuell: 29:52

Okay. Okay, so I liked your advice you gave in a recent post about talking with kids about the news and making sure you know we are raising informed children going back to that informed children, informed adults. How do you do this with your kids?

Sonni Abatta: 30:07

I answered their questions very honestly, at an age appropriate level. They recently were, like, clued in a little bit through school about what’s happening in the Middle East. And my son came back with some questions. And I answered them to the best of my ability. And I don’t necessarily shield them from the baseline idea of what’s happening, like I’m not of the personal belief, and I respect that others may not agree, that we need to pretend like certain things don’t exist. Like, you know, even when my kids recently went through, like American history, they did a whole, you know, period of time studying slavery in America. And it was important for me as a parent, when he came back with questions to say, yes, you know, this is what happened. And it was like, an awful time in American history. And, you know, here’s what we’ve done since and I try not to veer too much into like the overexplaining territory. I wait for them to ask the questions. But I’m not a real sugar coater, but just try to present it in a way that helps them understand what our, our family we consider to be right and wrong, but not in a preachy way, and use it as an opportunity for them to look at the world with empathy. And you know, like, here’s what some people might think about this. And here’s what other people might think. And, you know, I’m not like, and here’s what you should think kid.

Angela Tuell: 31:31

Right, right.

Sonni Abatta: 31:33

Yeah, I just, I try to be honest. I’m also the parent that’s like, you know, we’re getting to that age, I’m sure you are with your twins too where the birds and the bees are coming into, right, we’re getting some things coming back from home or from school, but I’m like, wow, okay okay.

Angela Tuell: 31:48

Yes, yes.

Sonni Abatta: 31:50

So, you know, like, they get tidbits of what’s real. Like, they know that they know how a baby gets into the world. Like, not how they get into the tummy yet. But they know that like, you know, you don’t just snap your fingers and the baby’s out. Like my daughters, like, know about periods already. And they know that like, it’s a natural part of growing up. I never want to be raising a kid who’s shocked by natural things that occur. So while some people may think that’s like, what was too much for like a nine year old to be told, I personally really think that slow, dripping facts to your kids is really important so that they don’t feel shamed to ever ask a question, and so that they’re informed at their age level.

Angela Tuell: 32:38

Yes, not going to their friends instead to ask those questions. You want to be the one. I completely agree with you. That’s great advice.

Sonni Abatta: 32:45

Yeah, yeah.

Angela Tuell: 32:46

I do have to ask, I could talk to you forever. We try to keep our episodes to 30 minutes or less. So I do have to ask though, before we go. You recently wrote about what’s next in 2024. And then also some lessons learned in 2023. Could you share some of that with our listeners?

Sonni Abatta: 33:01

Ooh, yeah. So um, I did a, yeah, I did a post

Angela Tuell: 33:01

Yes.

Sonni Abatta: 33:02

So yeah. recently about just some lessons learned. I have little personal stuff on my blog and website too, in addition to like, sort

Angela Tuell: 33:08

Fantastic advice. How can our listeners connect of breakdowns of the interviews I’ve done. And I just ran through some things that had been working for me in the year because I like to reflect. And I talked a little bit about like, time blocking and like how, from the business side of things, how I’m really, as we said before, as a mom trying to balance it all, I’m sort of leaning into some productivity hacks that I haven’t tried before. And so I talked a little bit about just what I told you earlier, like how time blocking by day has been really helpful for me, because it helps me set up that mental barrier between work time, family time. I also went through some things professionally where I didn’t work out as much as I wanted to. And this is kind of an intersection of a personal life lesson and a work lesson. And learning to see things as a lesson rather than something bad. That happened and you know, reminding myself, too, as an entrepreneur that we don’t always follow it A to B to C path, sometimes you have to wind around a little bit. So that lesson that like sometimes plans change was like a reminder to myself to be okay with my evolution as in the professional with you online? And on your show? world. And then, you know, another thing that was sort of reified for me this past year is just the importance of what we

Sonni Abatta: 34:23

Yeah, so my show is called, We Gotta Talk. It’s talked about earlier, which is like, staying on top of what’s happening in the world. And I did a little write up about how just what I said to you, I’m working on being as honest as I can with my kids about the world they live in and trying to speak to them in a way that reinforces the belief system that I have, which is that we have so much more in common than we do differently. It’s the show really. Like my, my soul is in We Gotta Talk and so raising them to understand you listen, you got to look for points of connection with people. You’re not going to agree with everyone all the time, but like be kind always. Find, find something even if you don’t love what they’re saying or what they’re doing, just say, just seek to find the commonalities rather than the differences because that gives me hope as a mom, maybe selfishly, that we will end up in a world right that’s not so polarized, if we can raise the next generation does is to be empathetic and to be respectful. Stand strong in what you believe but understand that the world isn’t always like you. And that’s okay. on all the major podcast platforms. The website is WeGottaTalk.com. And like I said, I break down and in blog post some interviews that I’ve done. There’s also like a lot of like I said, beauty and fun content and all that links to this stuff that I, products and things that I like, because it’s important to take a break andfrom the serious stuff. Yeah. And then on Instagram and Tik Tok and all the things I’m Sonni Abatta which is S-O-N-N-I ABA-TTA.

Angela Tuell: 36:05

Thank you so much, Sonni.

Sonni Abatta: 36:07

Thank you, Angela. This was truly a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Angela Tuell: 36:12

That’s all for this episode of Media in Minutes, a podcast by Communications Redefined. Please take a moment to rate, review and subscribe to our show. We’d love to hear what you think. You can find more at CommunicationsRedefined.com/podcast. I’m your host, Angela Tuell. Talk to you next time.

With so many things racing for our attention, Sonni is drawn to stories, and leads with curiosity to have open and meaningful conversations about deep topics. Listen as she shares with Angela her journey to independent journalism and how she remains engaged with today’s biggest topics.

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