Pamela Abramson

Pamela Abramson

Pamela Abramson Grisman is an expert in an important aspect of genealogy: oral histories and chronicling life stories. Her strength as a journalist has always been at gathering interesting information about people, going back 30 years to her days as a correspondent at Newsweek Magazine, where she learned the craft of telling an interesting story through the art of interviews. She has written many celebrity profiles including stories on Julia Child, Sally Ride, Joan Rivers, Florence Griffith Joyner and Martina Navratilova. Says Pam, "I still repeat a saying that tennis star Martina Navratilova told me"—one that her father would tell her when she was a girl growing up in Czechoslovakia. "Do you know the difference between involvement and commitment. Think of ham and eggs. The chicken is involved, the pig is committed."

Today, Pam writes profiles on all kinds of people for a wide variety of places—from corporate publications, websites and Wikipedia pages to the obituary section of newspapers. "We all have an interesting story to tell, not just the newsmakers among us," she says, "that I have learned in all the years of writing profiles that have passed since the 14 years I worked at Newsweek." She says that some of her most interesting assignments are writing obituaries for the living—a growing trend among seniors who want to leave behind a short, written legacy as part of end-of-life planning. Pam recently started Postscript Publishing a writing, editing and consulting service for people who want to publish their own books to tell their own stories in their own words. "These people are important, not because they are famous (they are not)," said Pam, "but because they are beloved by family and friends."

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