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.
"Tin soldiers and Nixon coming, We're finally on our own, This summer I hear them drumming, Four dead in Ohio..."
"Ohio," was written by Neil Young for Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in 1970 in the immediate aftermath of four students being shot dead by the Ohio National Guard at a non-violent Vietnam War protest on campus at Kent State.
Here in 2011, the nation was outraged by the shocking still and video images of a University of California, Davis police officer casually pepper spraying ten students in the face who were sitting and staging a peaceful protest on the campus Friday afternoon. By Sunday, the video went viral and it became the top news story in the country.
The universal reaction was gutteral and understandable. Sheer disgust by all. Embattled U.C. Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi issued a statement Sunday saying she spoke with students and said "I feel their outrage." Katehi added she has heard from "overwhelming number of students, faculty, staff and alumni from around the country" denouncing the incident.
Bill Ostertag is a long-time UCD professor. He wrote a long, thoughtful blog on the militarization of campus police. He said students are frustrated that just six years ago, tuition at UC Davis was $5,357 and is currently $12,192.
"I teach at UC Davis and I personally know many of the students who were the victims of this brutal and unprovoked assault. They are top students. In fact, I can report that among the students I know, the higher a student's grade point average, the more likely it is that they are centrally involved in the protests,"
By Monday, campus Police Chief Annette Spicuzza and two campus officers were placed on administrative leave while Katehi announced she was asking the Yolo County District Attorney to investigate the police actions.
The action could not come in the nick of time. Emotions are running feverishly high right now across the country with the Occupy movements and concurrent campus protests at U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Davis. They are escalating to the point that possibly, it was only a matter of time emotions would overflow, tensions would rise and someone would snap and use a gun instead of a baton or Taser -- like Kent State.
On May 4, 1970, four students were killed and nine injured when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on students during an anti-Vietnam War rally on the Kent State campus. The students killed were unarmed and in good standing with the university. The Ohio National Guard fired 67 rounds in 13 seconds. The iconic photo of a wailing young woman standing over the body of a dead, under 20 college student became one of the symbols of that turbulent time in our history.
I am old enough to remember the standoffs at Columbia University over the Vietnam War and even marched on my state Capitol in Trenton, New Jersey to protest rising college costs when I was a student. My youngest daughter just finished college. No parent who sees those images of the students coming out of U.C. Davis wants what happened to those students to happen to their child.
I've worked closely with law enforcement during my 25 years in the news business and respect them immensely. Campus police are in a conundrum for our times. Ever since 9/11 terrorist attacks and 1999 Columbine shootings that left 25 dead, we expect campus cops to respond in immediate, full-out attack mode to take down campus shooters. Yet, we don't expect them to be Storm Troopers in riot gear for spontaneous, peaceful protests. We can only hope their training and professionalism helps them discern the difference between the two.
As University of California President Mark G. Yudof wrote in his statement Sunday:
"Free speech is part of the DNA of this university, and non-violent protest has long been central to our history...I implore students who wish to demonstrate to do so in a peaceful and lawful fashion...
"I intend to convene all 10 chancellors, either in person or telephone, to engage in a full and unfettered discussion about how to ensure 'proportional' law enforcement response to non-violent protests."
The pepper spray was awful. But it forced officials to take immediate action. And just in the nick of time. Four decades later, we don't want another Kent State.
...."Gotta get down to it, soldiers are cutting us down. Should have been done long ago. What if you knew her? And found her dead on the ground? How can you run when you know?" "Ohio" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young after 1970 Kent State shootings.