Ubah Ali got her dream job when WCCO brought her on board. She also made history.
The 27-year-old who was raised in Rochester is the first Somali-American to become an on-air reporter in the Twin Cities TV market.
"It's a pinch-me moment," she said Wednesday, an hour after her first story as a full-time employee aired on the CBS affiliate. She celebrated over tacos with her sister, one of three siblings who live in the Twin Cities. "I didn't know how long it would take for me to get here. I'm incredibly grateful."
Ali worked at KTTC and Fox 47 in Rochester after graduating from St. Cloud State University in 2019. She just finished a two-year stint at TMJ4, an NBC affiliate in Milwaukee. She said she was "pleasantly surprised" how accepting Wisconsin viewers were of her and the fact that she wears a hijab on the air.
"If I got any nasty hate mail, it was about the stories I was doing, not about how I looked," she said.
While she was a college student, Ali worked as an intern at both KARE and WCCO.
"Her passion for telling important stories that matter to our neighbors will help WCCO nurture and grow that commitment to our community," said WCCO news director Kari Patey. "We're thrilled to have her back to cover our community even more thoughtfully and thoroughly."
Ali hopes she can inspire young Somali-American viewers to follow in her footsteps.
"I don't want to be the first and only," she said. "I want to be the first of many."