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.
A grassfire broke out on the bluffs above Lake Natoma Saturday night. I dangerously and precariously stepped out on the cliffs near Negro Bar to capture the exciting, dramatic work of Sacramento Metropolitan Fire which used its helicopter to draw water from the lake and drop it on the blaze. Pretty wild as the chopper flew right over my head as I stood high on those cliffs.
You can't help but notice it when you walk into the KFBK newsroom. Right behind the Editor's pit, before you get to the reporters' stations, to the right of the well-worn, heavily-stained carpet, is a big huge chunky turquoise-colored wooden box that takes up the entire wall with a grid of 24 slots -- The Cubby. Hand crafted circa 1996/97 by former KFBK Morning Editor Mark Seeling, now an editor-reporter at KCBS, The Cubby houses quite a history for our station and staff. And for Unabomber Ted Kacyznski and wife and baby killer Scott Peterson.
I've trained and worked with more than 50 reporters and dozens of producers. If there are two things these ex-KFBKers are fond of once they've left the station, it is the make-shift smoky barbecues I started ten years ago for staff who had to work the three summer holidays and brought out the Fire Department twice, and The Cubby. When word started getting out that KFBK was moving studios after more than 30 years, ex-staff members got nervous and started writing me: "A bunch of former KFBKers are concerned about the move: What will happen to the name wall?! Preserve it, Judy!"
I'm not quite sure just how the ritual got started, but it became the much-anticipated practice that when a staffer moved on, a ceremony would be held in the newsroom for that person to gingerly remove his or her name label from the front of their slot on the cubby and stick on the side wall under the names of others who had left. People gather round for the ceremony. There are cheers and applause. Pictures taken.
The side of the cubby has become a mish mash of different types and colored labels, lined up in a row with the names of former workers. Some names stand out -- for example, Laura Ingle, who went on to be a star reporter at KFI in Los Angeles and is now a television reporter in New York City for Fox News. When she left, an editor did play-by-play of the cubby ceremony as it was happening to Laura's friend and former colleague, Jennifer Jones, now the Morning Anchor at KGO in San Francisco. (There are also some names we have to struggle to remember who they are.)
Some were lucky to have the ceremony twice. More than a half dozen workers returned to KFBK after leaving the first time. My former producer and KFBK reporter Rachel Belle returned to KFBK after teaching English in Japan only to leave three weeks later for a great opportunity in Seattle at KIRO radio. Her second cubby farewell was an elaborate one -- featuring a video of her dancing and singing to her cubby ceremony.
There was also a dark period where the cubby was threatened. We had a news director for a year who didn't like the messy side wall. One day, as I gasped, he removed all the names -- clawing them off with his fingernails! How could he! After he left, I went into the trash and rescued the labels, knowing they would outlive his short tenure at station and put them up again when he left.
But that's not all that's on The Cubby. Let's just say, historic news items were acquired over time. There was the infamous road trip where Unabomber Ted Kaczynski's cabin was transported piggy back on a flat bed truck from the Montana woods to Sacramento. Authorities briefly put it on display for reporters. A certain editor asked her reporter, "Wouldn't it be great to have a piece of Kacynski's cabin?" Before she knew, reporter returned with a chip of wood that is now secured on cubby. A few years later, after massive coverage of the Scott Peterson murder trial, reporters were at his house in Modesto for the last time after he got convicted of double murder. The same editor said "It seems we should have something from there..." Editor was shocked when reporter returned with a big piece of wood taken from the side of the house!
Actually, I was appalled. I meant a rock or a stick. But now a piece of that wood is also on the cubby near Kacyznski's cabin and besides Peterson's picture.
Our colleagues Armstrong&Getty once did a show on KSTE on what kind of people want souvenirs from criminals or crime scenes? I merely pointed to the cubby from across the room. Guilty.
Maybe not our proudest moment but I can tell you those incidents happened spontaneously and were not intentional. There was no pre-meditation or malice aforethought on our part. But these items are now part of KFBK's history and folklore. We have a new web master who said if the cubby has to go during the move, he will saw off that side with all the names and news items and frame it for the new place.
I was sure that old, boxy, unattractive chubby cubby would not be coming with us to our new, slick, high-tech, industrial chic newsroom with neon track lighting. But Friday night my boss Alan assured me it was.
"Really?" I asked in pleasant surprise. "Yes," he said. "It has sentimental value."
Former KFBK reporter now Fox News radio commentator Todd Starnes wrote me: "Thanks goodness! I was worried about the memorial cubby!"
A lot of talented people who once roamed the KFBK corridors and left their mark here were as well. I'm glad they will be relieved -- their history, along with Ted and Scott's, will be preserved.
Originally posted on The Huffington Post
Her tweet immediately got my attention: "Photo courtesy of my work husband."
Work husband? I tweeted back, "I want one! You don't have to go home and make dinner for them!"
Rachel Belle is the funniest person I know. She was my radio producer for a year at KFBK in Sacramento, Calif., and kept me laughing every day. Now this single gal is at KIRO radio in Seattle working on The Ron & Don Show and has found her work husband in her happily married co-worker and co-host Ron Upshaw.
Her relationship with her work hubby began when they were on business together in Japan and had to stay in the same room but in separate beds. Nothing happened. But she said he sealed the deal in another way when he brought her coffee and bagels in the morning.
"A work husband is someone of the opposite gender who you work with," she explained. "My work husband is kind of like my touchstone and is the person I'm closest with at work I end up asking advice from personally."
In our down economy where we are all stretched to the limit doing two or three jobs, we all need someone who can help us out, cover our back and give us support to keep us going at the workplace. Maybe even bring us coffee or lunch when we're slammed.
The concept of a work husband/wife/spouse is not new. An OfficeMax survey released in February found 50 percent of those polled said they have a "significant other" at work. But the approach to a "work spouse" is new. Talking to the experts and just everyday people, a work spouse may actually be good for you -- if you're careful.
Joey Garcia is a relationship expert in Sacramento, Calif., who thinks the idea of a work spouse is sweet and needed in these times.
"To call someone a work husband or work wife is just a way of saying this person is really important to me and I trust them," said Garcia.
I've had several male friends who were co-workers. When I was covering crime and courts in Los Angeles, I had lunch every day with my newspaper competitor, Jeff. I was married. He was engaged. We competed on stories but were best of friends. There was even a weekend in Carmel covering a judges' conference when we unwound in the hot tub together. Yes, as friends.
In the 21st century, our opposite sex workplace pal plays a crucial role, suggests Garcia. We spend so much time at work we see our co-workers more than our spouses, children, other family members or friends during the week.
"A work husband/work wife is someone who has the same kind of passion or passionate concerns for my career," she said. "They're going to help me in my career and selflessly offer me the naked truth about my behavior at work; about strategies, about my capability on a project."
But Sacramento marriage and family counselor Tim Dakin is very wary of the concept.
"I think the whole work/spouse thing is a very dangerous blurring of boundaries and creates a lot of relationship rule confusion," Dakin said.
"Co-workers may think they're in the clear because they haven't crossed the line physically. (But) They develop an emotional bond with this person," he said. "They may trust their spouse to be physically faithful. But they don't realize what it will become if you develop an emotional bond with this person."
Agreed in part. I've had two friends whose husbands got very attached to the female co-worker he was working with on a project. When it ended, both of these husbands were depressed, missing that bond with the female co-worker. One even bought his female colleague an expensive gift his wife wasn't very happy about.
Rachel's work husband, Ron, said his wife loves Rachel. They text each other and have dinner together. Ron said with Rachel they have an actual friendship that is above and beyond the work relationship.
"If there was the same situation and there's any sort of physical attraction or sexual tension there then I think that would be bad and have the potential to blow up on you," he said.
(Photo of Ron Upshaw and Rachel Belle by Chris Pendl.)
Family counselor Dakin still thinks these type of relationships are "super dangerous." He said marriage is tough enough without having an outside friend of the opposite sex.
"When you go to work, your work partner/spouse only sees you at your best. They see you with your best clothes on. You're presenting the best part of who you are," Dakin said. "At home, people accept you despite the stubble, messy hair and bad breath."
But in our increased time and workload at the office, don't we all need someone to vent to?
"These relationships are about intimacy -- but not what you think," relationship expert Garcia admits. "Intimacy is the people that we let so close to us that they see the reality of who we are. They see our shortcomings, our frailties, areas of growth that are necessary. They also see our beauty inside and out; our talents and gifts. They love us as we are. But they always tell us the truth."
Yes, truth and trust. I have a male work friend who is the only one I trust to edit my blogs. Everyone else just tells me they're good. I trust this guy to tell me exactly where the faults are -- in my blog or in me.
"It's good to have somebody to ask questions to about my personal life because they're not in your real life," Rachel explained. "Your friends have all these opinions and know everything and judge you."
"He's like the family member. If he bugs me, I'll just tell him to shut up."
That's the good thing about a work spouse. Not sure that would fly with your real life spouse.
It was a Friday night. My co-workers and I were getting a special perk -- a black tie dinner to celebrate my radio station's 90th anniversary. We were all dressed up -- guys in tuxes and gals in their best black dresses. It was a celebratory mood. We hugged and laughed as we made our way through the crowd to accept our honors. I saw one of my colleagues standing off to the side. We are very close, having worked on many projects together in the newsroom. I went to say hi and extended my hand in a handshake.
"You're shaking my hand?" he asked incredulously, knowing it was a silly gesture for someone he knows so well. So I leaned in for a peck on the cheek and to my surprise, he pulled back. Almost a whiplash head back. Awkward moment. Later he would tell me "I don't do kisses. I'll do hugs. But not kisses."
So just what is the appropriate etiquette when your suited up place of business goes into the ballroom? Do you hand shake? Hug? Back slap or give the social smooch on the cheek?
Read the rest on Huffington Post
It started innocently enough. During lunch out with a co-worker, we somehow stumbled on topic of whether it's okay for a guy to look at other women when they are happily involved or married. After some discussion, the debate was boiled down even further to -- ALL guys look at attractive women, no matter the circumstances.
"It's in a man's DNA to look at attractive women," said my colleague. "It doesn't mean they're going to act on it." The debate heated up when I said in the two biggest relationships of my life, my men didn't look at other women when they were with me.
"Ha!" laughed one. "That's BS!" said another. "Of course they were looking but you just didn't know it," said someone else. Ouch!
A group of about eight of us, men and women, circled in the newsroom and argued quite heatedly for about 45 minutes Friday. (I am not identifying many of the very high profile people involved to protect their identities.) They unanimously agreed all men's eyes wander. There's nothing wrong with it, they said. It's part of "nature."
You should know I can be hard and tough in the newsroom (Pitbull is one of my nicknames) and my staff knows it. They were very surprised to see the romantic optimist in me fight back hard, hopelessly and alone... "Not all men are the same. You can't say every man is the same."
"Yes, they are!" they argued.
Without getting into details of my personal life, I know my last relationship of ten years was unique. I never saw a wandering eye out of him in all our time together. And believe me, in my youth I had two boyfriends whose heads would spin around and ogle whatever woman walked by. I find that behavior insulting and rude. Not out of insecurity. But out of confidence. Hey, you've got me! You don't need anything else. That's why they didn't last long.
But I was the lone wolf in this argument. I believe some men are so in love, enamored, appreciative, grateful, smitten or so focused on their partner that even the hottest hottie wouldn't get their attention. I've seen it to be true. But my boss retaliated with the coup de gras: "You wouldn't want them to appreciate beauty?" That comment led to a loud, rousing, hand-clapping group cheer against me telling me I had lost the debate on that clincher.
That was not the issue. I was defending Men. I believe they are not all created equal. I've known my share of them from my time living around the country in New York/New Jersey, Los Angeles and now Sacramento. From what I've seen of them, I would never say all men are the same and have the similar behaviors.
The talk got me to cautiously email one of my exes after a long absence, now doubting what I believed to be true after all those years with him. "Is it true? They say I'm naive and all men are the same..."
"You were not naive and your co-workers are wrong to think that all men have wandering eyes," he replied. "They are painting with a broad brush because there are exceptions. I am such an exception."
Phew! I didn't imagine it. There's one guy out there. While I listened to my co-workers arguments, they didn't persuade me. I still disagree with them no matter how much I am outnumbered. I feel like I am sticking up for all Men, and their fabulous uniqueness. Because wouldn't life be boring if we were all the same?
I urge you to weigh in through comments or Twitter...Aliases accepted. :)