She was about to cover her first NBA playoffs and was nervous. My hometown team the Sacramento Kings were going up against the Los Angeles Lakers with Shaq and Kobe and everyone was super excited. But when my reporter arrived at the arena for a liveshot, she panicked. Told me she wasn't ready. That's when I got bossy and told her "Yes, you are. You're going live right now!" She did and her report was terrific.
I've trained more than 50 news reporters. Many of them are now working in major markets across the U.S. Most starting out are afraid to go live from a breaking news scene such as a fire or police shooting until they gather information. I have to coach them through it. Tell them to describe to me what they're seeing within minutes as they arrive on scene. I am pushy with them. And bossy. And typically, the results are great. Because someone pushed them, believed in them and elevated their game.
There's been a lot of talk and national writing about the firing of New York Times Editor Jill Abramson. Sadly again, the same old stereotyped, narrative arose. She was fired for being a women. The tired old story goes a woman in leadership positions are deemed bossy and pushy while men are considered confident, strong leaders.
Let's stop that stereotype right now. I've been fortunate to have never been held back in my 25 years in the news business, whether I had a male or female boss. I realize that's not the case for everyone. But we all know, whether you're in journalism, business or another career, there's a bad boss and a good boss. A mean supervisor criticizes you; doesn't offer help or solutions and holds you back from your true potential. A good manager knows what you are capable of achieving before you even know it and pushes you to accomplish that goal.
I was driving to work a few years ago when I saw a sign promoting The Sacramento Bee newspaper's upcoming project - a series on methamphetamine. Darn! My staff has been planning the same series but had not yet gotten it off the ground. I raced in, called a meeting with reporters, editors and producers and within an hour we brainstormed and had seven different segments assigned. Within 48 hours, we were on the air with "Sacramento: Valley of Meth." It won a national Edward R. Murrow award for Best Series which in most broadcast circles is considered the equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize.
My radio station KFBK broke the biggest story in Sacramento, CA in the past three years by reporting those same Sacramento Kings were considering moving to Anaheim. After my reporter broke the story, I wouldn't let him rest for four months. We enterprised new story angles daily even when there wasn't one. We broke the story, so we were going to own it. We pushed the story nonstop with each new development morning, noon and night, never letting up. We not only gave our listeners new content, but attracted new listeners to the station. By being aggressive. There is no gender attached to that.
I've angered some of my reporters with being too pushy and bossy, but afterwards, they were grateful. They have all thanked me for pushing them beyond what they thought they were capable of achieving. Maybe because several people did it for me. Because someone has to be the Boss. And there's nothing wrong with that.
KFBK Senior Editor Judy Farah has more than 25 years news experience in New York, Los Angeles and Sacramento. She's edited the KFBK Afternoon News with Kitty O'Neal the past 16 years while also directing the newsroom by assigning stories to reporters and scheduling guest interviews. Farah started out as a newspaper reporter on the East Coast, covering major stories as a reporter and editor for The Associated Press in Los Angeles, including the 1984 Olympics, the Oscars, Emmys, the presidency of Ronald Reagan and the criminals trials of the Night Stalker and the Hillside Stranglers.
Farah came to KFBK in 1996, and has helped direct coverage of five presidential elections, five governor's elections and the killing sprees of Yosemite Killer Cary Stayner and Scott Peterson. She reported live for two 13-hour days for KFBK from the 9-11 terrorist attacks. She was also the editor on KFBK's 2011 exclusive report that the Sacramento Kings were considering moving to Anaheim.
A graduate of William Paterson College in New Jersey, Farah has won three Edward R. Murrow awards, including one for Best Writing, while at KFBK. She's also earned three awards from the Northern California Radio Television News Directors Association for Best Series, Best Newscast and Best Sports Segment. She has also written for the Wall Street Journal, TV Guide, Los Angeles and Parents magazines. She was honored with a Jefferson Fellowship in 2009 and traveled to Japan, China and Hong Kong to study the Asian economy. In 2010, she was awarded a RTNDA RIAS Fellowship to travel to Germany, Belgium and Prague to study the European economy.
Farah currently is a national blogger for The Huffington Post and often speaks on news and social media. You can find her on Twitter @newsbabe1530
In her free time, Farah enjoys the outdoors by hiking along the American River bike trail and kayaking. A wine enthusiast, Farah's produced a monthly wine segment on KFBK the past five years and enjoys visiting our local foothill wineries.