"Remember, sometimes when life gives you a *no, it simply means your greatness is needed elsewhere. Keep looking for that right place and opportunity to share your gifts."
A beautiful quote to begin our story, and the elegant FOX News Channel broadcast journalist who said these words, Harris Faulkner, is indeed someone to look up to in life when it comes to going after your dreams.
When you think about success, sometimes it can be easy to look at someone (especially on TV) and feel like they just "made it"; they just "got there" and that they didn't have to struggle. However, what Faulkner's inspirational story reminds us is that building a career can take time, patience, faith and tenacity. In most cases, you don't just go from A to Z, but realistically you have to hit every point in between.
Prior to landing her job in network news as an anchor on FOX News Channel’s FOX Report Weekend and co-host of Outnumbered, she took many twists and turns working across the country at local television stations. With great persistence she made it to the top and is now the recipient of six Emmy Awards, including the 2004 Emmy for Best Newscaster and Best News Special. This University of California at Santa Barbara graduate is also the winner of the Amelia Earhart Pioneering Lifetime Achievement Award for her work as a humanitarian.
MOGUL was honored to have had the chance to sit down with Harris Faulkner, and we walked away feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the world. After reading and watching the below interview, we predict you will feel the same.
MOGUL: What inspired you to pursue broadcast journalism?
Harris Faulkner: My family's love of storytelling inspired me. My father was deployed to Vietnam when I was a baby. He wanted me to know his voice and remember him, so he made recordings of stories like "T'was the Night Before Christmas."
He has an incredible ability to bring the written word to life. And he's very funny with an amazing vocabulary, which he still to this day works to improve upon and grow. That all means that he can tell a story in a very memorable way, weaving a plot line and characters together with his voice. It's a gift, really. And my Mom loves TV news. She always has been so curious about what's happening in this world.
Harris Faulkner discusses in depth her start and how she got her big break
MOGUL: What are the challenges and opportunities that have come with working within the profession? As an award-winning journalist, how were you able to navigate and shape your career from working at a local level to a national one?
Faulkner: Probably the greatest challenge is getting that first job in TV news. Most of us start out with a thin resume. Mine included internships in Los Angeles at a local TV station and at a cable access channel…all while I was working another job to pay the bills. So, I had a strong work ethic and some experience, but for my first job I’d never actually reported on the air.
At the internship at KCOP channel 13, the News Director offered to send me to the National Association of Black Journalists convention, which was in L.A. that year. And, I got a job at the Career Expo! But, there was a catch. There’s always a catch. The job was thousands of miles east…in Greenville, North Carolina. Never heard of it. But, I loved every minute of working there at the CBS affiliate. The News Director, now deceased, Roy Hardee was an inspiring boss who assigned me to a big story on my very first day. And, from then on I had the one thing every new journalist needs: EXPERIENCE!
From Greenville, I landed my next job as a Consumer Reporter at the Fox station in Kansas City, Missouri. Wow! I was blessed with great newsroom leaders and a fabulous co-anchor for nearly eight years, Phil Witt. I learned so much from him and we became quite the anchor team.
From KC, I went to the ABC affiliate in Minneapolis, St. Paul. And, that’s really when my career began to take off…the opportunities got bigger because that market was bigger. Six Emmy Awards later, I joined the Network Magazine show in NYC, “A Current Affair.” And, that was my connection to Fox News Channel. We were owned by the same parent company. When management chose to end the journey of ACA, Mr. Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News asked to see me in person. Woah. I thought to myself, “The most powerful man in cable news wants to meet me? Good Lord what have I done?!”
It was all good. He was deciding if I had what it took… seeing how hungry and ready I was for the next level… network news. Mr. Ailes gave me a big break by putting me on prime time to do one-minute news cut-ins. I would travel across the country visiting my family in Texas or Arizona and people at the airport would say, “Hey it’s that lady who interrupts Bill O’Reilly with news headlines every night!”
Long story short—from headlines to prime time anchoring on weekends with the “Fox Report” and now weekdays co-hosting “Outnumbered,” I’m on a fun journey.
Harris Faulkner discusses her journey to network news
MOGUL: Having had the opportunity to cover so many groundbreaking stories, what has been the most memorable moment for you?
Faulkner: There are so many. Recently, on my Sunday prime time newscast, FOX REPORT, our team recognized the tenth year since the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. There was a little video from my reporting in the mid-90’s on that story and a rush of emotions came over me as I was recounting it all for current viewers. It was the first time I covered domestic terrorism. To this day, I can recall the smell of that smoldering building, where Americans went to work and many of them never went home. Nineteen children perished in the daycare center. A tough assignment to be there while it was unfolding…the manhunt for the killer, the funerals for victims. A year later I returned to see healing underway. That healing would be a slow process for our entire nation, actually. I hoped it would be the only time a story like that would grab the headlines. It wasn’t. The attacks on September 11th came years later.
But, Oklahoma City was the first time I reported on a story for the national level that meant serving as the pool reporter for some of the coverage, doing live shots for various news outlets.
MOGUL: What advice would you give to young women who are looking to pursue a career in the competitive world of broadcast journalism?
Faulkner: Don’t give up. Follow your heart. Be on time—ALWAYS. And, remember, sometimes when life gives you a *no, it simply means your greatness is needed elsewhere. Keep looking for that right place and opportunity to share your gifts.
Faulkner discusses what helped her get to the top, as well as must-know career advice for aspiring journalists
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