She was so very proud of her Armenian heritage, proud to be making a difference in the world as a journalist.
If you are fond of the Los Angeles Times, you have most likely come across Tenny Tatusian’s compelling work. A curious news editor, Tenny had a great passion for journalism and was her colleagues’ favorite for her professionalism and sunny personality. “She was so very proud of her Armenian heritage, proud to be making a difference in the world as a journalist,” says her friend Joe Bel Bruno, the managing editor of Variety Magazine.
Born in Iraq in July 1969, she grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. As the political situation deteriorated in Iraq, following the revolution of 1968, her parents, Aram and Alice Tatusian, moved to the United States. From childhood, Tenny expressed interest in reading and stayed focused on her studies. A gifted student, she majored in journalism, enrolled in a class taught by Walter Cronkite at the Arizona State University (ASU) and received an AGBU scholarship to continue her studies. Immediately after graduation, Tenny was hired to work for The Orange County Register, where she began reporting the news and launched a food column. Her career progression lead to editorial positions at CNN and the Los Angeles Times, as she helped expand and improve their digital presence. Although Tenny was a fine cook, she continued enthusiastically nourishing her professional interest in culinary and spent a few months in France, excelling in baking and learning the secrets of a French pâtissier.
Straightforward and outgoing, she brought meaning to everything she did, whether it was traveling, writing or volunteering. In her father’s words, “She was interested in life itself.” For many years, Tenny volunteered to support people in need in their quest to obtain affordable housing. After workdays, she spent weekends volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. “She was really interested in helping people,” says Tatusian, describing his daughter’s long-time service. Tenny’s thirst for life and optimism was on display after she was diagnosed with melanoma a few years ago. She did not give up and continued working and traveling. A trip to Japan was one of her last adventures. She also loved spending time with her friends and family, bringing warmth and love into their lives. “She always acted as a bridge between our family’s Armenian and Iraqi roots and our assimilated lives, filling in cultural gaps and making us and others feel more comfortable,” says her cousin Alex Tatusian. “I think everyone who knew her feels a distinct empty feeling and will continue to on some level.”
After Tenny left us in July 2017, Aram and Alice Tatusian found a touching and meaningful way to honor her life and legacy. Wishing to support Armenian students who pursue degrees in journalism, they established a scholarship with AGBU in memory of Tenny. “We owe AGBU a lot, it’s about the courtesy they have shown,” says Aram Tatusian with hope their gift will have a positive impact on young Armenians.