TCN’s Steve Rukavina introduces us to Giovanna Drpic, a successful Croatian American with a fascinating background.
On Friday, October 27th, I had the opportunity to interview, an incredibly talented Croatian American, Giovanna Drpic, about her blossoming television reporting career. My first question to this journalist was how did she make the transition from financial journalism to a political reporting job with CBS46 in Atlanta. It was interesting to hear how a competitor from another TV station from years ago, then the news director there called her to tell her about a political reporter’s job, soon she was packing to leave the New York City area and relocating to Atlanta.
Giovanna had previous reporting assignments in Huntsville, AL, Memphis, TN and Orlando, FL. She was in the New York City area for nearly six years and as a host-producer with the “Money and Main Street” show with Verizon’s FiOS1 News and also, working with the Fox duopoly WWOR/WNYW in New York. Giovanna’s Masters in Economics had ideally prepared her for any type of business show. She has been nominated for three Emmys and she won an Emmy with her WWOR team for their coverage of the “Miracle on the Hudson” story about the US Airways Flight 1549 that made an emergency landing on the Hudson River. She won multiple “Folio”, Long Island Press Club and “Garden State Journalism” awards.
Of course, I had to ask her all about the transition to entering the rough and tumble political world and she laughed and replied, “politics is really a contact sport as they say” and she learned quickly not to let any candidates or elected officials manipulate her. Giovanna proudly stated that she stands her ground and is determined to ask the tough questions. She admits that she has to be seriously prepared for every sit-down interview and she sure did with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. It’s been so imperative for her to learn and become an expert on so many local Atlanta and state of Georgia issues with this political journalism job.
I asked her to share a few of the more interesting and challenging stories with this new political reporter’s job and the first one we discussed was the “6th Congressional special election race” that drew national coverage and was the most expensive US House congressional race ever. The New York Times called it the “most consequential special election since Watergate.” That race pitted Democrat Jon Ossoff against Republican Karen Handel. Giovanna was a panelist in one congressional debate and covered all the action through election night. Giovanna does admit that the election night coverage of the 6th Congressional District was magical and very suspenseful, with the eyes of the nation watching the results.
Working election night in the press area – Georgia 6th District Primary
She was a panelist for an Atlanta City Council debate and won accolades for her no-nonsense questioning and tenacious follow-up questions. She felt honored to be covering the recent unveiling of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. statue and so fortunate to be there on the spot to record the historic nature of this event. Recently, Giovanna reported on the hugely significant competition for Amazon’s second headquarters and deciding which American city will win that bid which will bring 50,000 jobs to that city. Clearly, the role of a political reporter tackling the toughest issues of the day requires someone with endless determination and boundless will to seek excellence and the truth.
Giovanna’s father, Ivo Davor Drpic’s family comes from the village of Pucisca on the island of Brac. Yes, her Croatian ancestors are from the area that produced some of the world’s most famous pure white limestone and the stone used in Diocletian’s Palace and probably even in the White House from the 1902 renovation. Giovanna is proud to point out that her dad’s Croatian determination and resilience trait is in her DNA. This helped foster a “fearless streak in her and she chases dreams with gusto.” She believes her Croatian side gave her a serious work ethic not to be denied. She also admits that her mom, Consuelo Drpic, instilled in her self-confidence, grace and dignity, no matter what life throws at you. Giovanna’s mother is Bolivian and Peruvian and she says “has a natural elegance and inner joy that radiates warmth and a zest for life.” Giovanna considers herself blessed that she has a wonderfully diverse Croatian and Bolivian heritage to draw from within her life.
Giovanna’s story in the United States starts as a two year old girl from Bolivia coming to the Shriner’s Hospital in Houston to have her two dislocated hips operated on. It’s an amazing story about her early life in America and her overall education and endless commitment to better herself with hard work. It is so impressive that under all those circumstances and someone learning English as her second language, she now stands out as a political reporter for CBS46 in one of the biggest media markets in America and showcasing her intelligence, her eloquence and her journalism talents everyday.
Working election day, Georgia 6th District runoff
Giovanna also is committed to giving back to society and has volunteered for several charities including the New York City area group, “Wings Over Wall Street”, which raises money to fight ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. She has also been active and committed to fundraisers helping with Muscular Dystrophy. Giovanna credits her Shriner’s Hospital experience as a young girl as instilling and reinforcing the significance “to help and be of service to others.” She is also very committed to mentoring younger female Americans to get involved and speak out and to truly take responsibility for what’s happening in one’s life.
I finished our conversation asking her about how she likes her new home and she quickly stated that Atlanta has a lot of energy and a really good vibe. She is thrilled with the day-to-day challenges of her political reporter’s job with CBS46. However, she does admit that she loves to travel and mentioned that she plans to visit Croatia and Brac next summer. This very successful professional and another second generation Croatian American like myself, truly has pride in her Croatian heritage which is great to see in action.