WXYZ-TV reporter Syma Chowdhry is leaving Detroit, a move prompted by pandemic (2024)

WXYZ-TV reporter Syma Chowdhry is leaving Detroit, a move prompted by pandemic (1)

Syma Chowdhry spoke directly to viewersduringSunday morning's7 Action News broadcast to let them know it would be her final weekend at Detroit's WXYZ-TV (Channel 7).

Describingher time at the ABC affiliate as "a great five years," she said on the air that "the pandemic has put different perspectives on life and I’m moving my family back to the East Coast because that’s where my family is."

The Emmy Award-winning reporter and frequent weekend anchor, who grew up in New Jersey, told theFree Press that she is thankful to the TV station and the city for the opportunities they've given her.

"I love Detroit. I want to be an honorary Detroiter," Chowdhry said.

Her last day at WXYZ is March 3.

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Chowdry has been with WXYZ since February 2016 and handled both reporting and fill-in anchor duties.

A graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, she previously worked forKYW-TV, theCBS affiliate in the same city,where she covered stories like Hurricane Sandy's devastating aftermath. She also workedforNews 12, anall-news channel for the New York City and New Jersey regions.

She previously anchoredFirst Forecast morning segments for CBS Detroit, as well.

Even beforethe pandemic, Chowdhry says she had been thinking abouthow far away her relatives in New Jersey seemed.

"My whole family is all there—my mom, my brother, his family, my cousins … My kids don't get to see their cousins or the cousin's cousins," she said.

Things only became harder when COVID-19 putthe nation into quarantine in March 2020.

"Then the pandemic happened and we were on an island all of our own," she said. "We were struggling, trying to work from home, keep everyone safe."

She and her husband decided theywanted theirthree young children —two sons who are 5 and 3 years old, respectively, and a daughter who's 2—to be closer toextended family.

WXYZ-TV reporter Syma Chowdhry is leaving Detroit, a move prompted by pandemic (2)

Chowdhry also was driven by concerns forher mother's health during thepandemic.

"There were times my husband would drive all the way to New Jersey, pickher up and drive all the way back, all in the same day, just to make sure we could take care of her," she said.

According to Chowdhry,she will be focusing for a brief period on therelocation.

"I definitely want to take a short break, just to get the family acclimated to the new environment and catch my breath … before I start my next adventure in TV," she said.

With a laugh, she said, "Ifthings aren't going to be crazy enough, we're actually getting a puppy this week right before moving."

The new addition will be a playmate for the family's rescue dog, Hamilton.

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Word of Chowdry's departure prompted tweets from fans and colleagues on Sunday morning.

"Omg@SymaChowdhry !!! I had no idea this was your last telecast!!!! I would have thanked you for always being so gracious and amazing...you will be missed and I’m honored to have been your final interview!!!!!!," wrote "Movie Show Plus Host" and regular WXYZ film critic Tom Santilli on Twitter.

WXYZ meteorologist Hally Vogel said on the air that she would missChowdhry as a co-worker and friend.

Vogel urged her to stay in touch through social media “so everyone knows where to find you because we know you have this wonderful career ahead of you as well.”

One of Chowdhry's most memorable stories for 7 Action News was abouttheviral video of a brideposingfor photos in Beirut at the moment of the huge August 2020 explosion that rocked the city.Chowdhry did a riveting interview with the woman,Israa Al Seblani,a doctor from the Detroit suburb of Troy, who hadtraveled to Lebanon to get marriedand who immediately attempted to save lives after the blast.

"WXYZ has been a place where I've really been able to grow as a reporter and they let me shine here," Chowdhry said.

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Chowdhry, whose parentsimmigrated to the United States withher mother coming from India and her father from Pakistan,said she has been moved to hear from young womenof similar heritage that they can see themselves in her.

"That means a lot to me. I knew I wanted to be a reporter fromthe time I was a kid. But I never saw anyone who looked like me be on TV," she said.

"Representation matters," she continued. "I know that I'vecovered a lot of AsianAmerican stories,especially recently in thispast year. I think that's really important in newsrooms. Generally speaking, newsrooms need to value different voices."

Contact Detroit Free Press pop culture critic Julie Hinds at jhinds@freepress.com.

WXYZ-TV reporter Syma Chowdhry is leaving Detroit, a move prompted by pandemic (2024)


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