KFBK News Director and 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.
It's not every day you open an email and it's about someone you know that begins with: The United States of America vs. Matthew Keys.
Keys currently works as a deputy social media editor for Reuters in New York City. They immediately contacted me for comment. I was reluctant, but told Reuters reporter Alistair Barr that I was friends with Matthew and have always known him to be accurate in his successful news Twitter feed @TheMatthewKeys. I added: "I trust him."
The calls, texts and emails came in quickly, from New York to San Francisco. Wow! Did you hear about Matthew? Many of us in the Sacramento news community were very proud of Matthew. He went from leaving a local, small TV affiliate here to working in New York City for the international news service Reuters. He was an inspiration to other journalists of what they could achieve with hard work.
He was racing to get the audio to broadcast on KFBK. Los Angeles television station CBS TV captured the intense 90 second video and audio of an explosion of gunfire between ex killer cop Christopher Dorner and law enforcement in San Bernardino County on Tuesday. KFBK producer Scot Murdoch worked quickly to get the incredible audio on KFBK airwaves. Hundreds of rounds were fired from heavy artillery weapons while officers under fire frantically shouted orders. The audio captured the intensity and volatility of the situation but there was just one problem -- a police officer said the F-word during the gun battle. Specifically, he said "Get the F--- out of here now!"
Ever since the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has severely cracked down on radio and TV stations. If we let an obscenity get on the airwaves, we risk heavy fines, imprisonment and worse yet -- losing our license. Everyone at KFBK is required to take FCC/Obscenity training every year.
Scot worked feverishly to edit the word out, doing what we call "surgical editing" on the audio wave -- carefully cutting out a nano second. He kept asking me, "Can you hear it? Can you hear it?" Under FCC rules, we have to edit out an obscene word to the point that a listener cannot discern what it is. A bleep with "Fu--" is not okay. If you can understand it, you're in violation.
Scot skillfully edited the audio and Kitty O'Neal gave listeners a warning about the graphic content of the gunfire, but I looked at Scot and said: "If there is ever a time the F-word should be allowed on the airwaves this is it."
Dorner was the subject of a chilling national manhunt; targeting cops, their families and killing innocent people. When San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies confronted him last Tuesday, they were facing a heavily armed man in a battle for their lives. One deputy lost his.
So is it okay to air gunfire that killed a man but not okay to broadcast a bad word?
No one likes the F-word. It is harsh, offensive and disrespectful. 99 percent of the time it should never be used in a broadcast -- either in serious news or entertainment. But in a rare, incredible life and death situation captured vividly by CBS TV reporter Carter Evans, the magnitude of the moment should allow the use of the word. Intelligent listeners would discern the seriousness of the incident.
We edited the word out. But should we have?
I wore it for years. Can't remember how many. Six? Eight? It was always a part of my left wrist - the yellow rubber band with the slogan "Livestrong" embedded in it. I was not alone. 80 million people have worn the bracelet that was the symbol of Lance Armstrong's Livestrong cancer foundation since it was launched in 2004.
There was a point where it seemed everyone had one. Admittedly, many wore it as a trend. But most wore it to honor someone they knew -- or themselves -- who had cancer. My reason was different. I was going through one of the most difficult times of my life. A divorce. Custody battles. A close relative's drug addiction. All at once. At times, it was all too much to bear. That's when I looked down at my wrist and saw it. Livestrong. A simple, pure yet powerful motto about how we should live our lives. And it inspired me. Helped get me through.
The fad has passed but many true Lance believers held on to the bracelets. I was one of them. I idolized Lance for his accomplishments both on and off the bike. Believed him when he said he didn't dope. Was so excited when he made his career comeback in Sacramento in the Amgen Tour of California. But now, with news of his lying and drug admission, some are cutting their bracelets off. One of them was San Francisco KCBS radio reporter Doug Sovern, who's worn his for nine years. He Tweeted a picture of himself taking a scissor to the band.
The Livestrong Foundation does incredible work for cancer patients. We shouldn't take our anger at Lance out on them. But unfortunately Livestrong is so tied to Lance people can't help but see him when they look at the golden rubber band. The Livestrong wristband got me through a very tough time as it did for millions others suffering far worse than me. I took its meaning and message to heart. I so wish the founder of that slogan, Lance Armstrong, did as well.
She asked the question many of us are asking after the school shooting in Connecticut on Friday.
"God, why do you take her?"
This question was asked via Twitter by the younger sister of 27-year-old Victoria Soto, who is being hailed as a heroine for saving the lives of her students while giving up her own. Soto hid her students in cabinets and closets while telling the shooter, whom she confronted, that they went to the gym. For her courage, the coward shot and killed her. She is a beautiful young woman with a wonderful, extended family. One of the iconic photos of that horrific day is of one of her sisters crying in anguish into her cell phone, wondering the fate of her beloved sister.
Another sister, known only to me through Twitter as @ICarlee23, or Carlee Soto, asked that question of God: Why did you take my sister?