In Bustle’s Quick Question, we ask women leaders all about advice — from the best guidance they’ve ever gotten, to what they’re still figuring out. Here, Harris Faulkner, anchor of Fox News’ Outnumbered Overtime and co-host of Outnumbered tells Bustle about the challenges of working from home as a television news anchor and why delivering news amid the coronavirus pandemic is healing.
Harris Faulkner’s workload hasn’t lightened up while in quarantine. In fact, it’s the total opposite. Faulkner, who’s the only Black woman to anchor a weekday news show on any major cable network, finds herself working a lot more from her at-home studio, formerly her husband’s "man cave."
"My two daughters are taking their year-end school exams, so my household is run like a campus at the moment," says Faulkner, who’s on a headset instead of speaker phone to avoid disturbing the math exam in progress. While it’s challenging to separate her work and home life lately, Faulkner says providing viewers with information right now is "somewhat healing."
"Balanced and objective reporting are our dedication as journalists, but I never thought that I would want to interject something that shows hope and unity, and now I’ve started to do more of that," Faulkner tells Bustle. "And with the killing of George Floyd whose death was captured on camera, I look for those points of brightness and to show people that we are capable of amazing miracles among all of us. The world looks to America to rise — and we will rise."
Below, Faulkner shares how she practices self-care, the book she finished reading in a few hours, and her advice for other Black women in media.
How do you take care of yourself and recharge?
HF: Having a studio in my house is a challenge because it’s a constant reminder of what I could be doing work-wise. To unwind, I do yoga. My 11-year-old daughter is a gymnast, so she’s working with me with some great new exercises. I feel like I have a personal trainer in my house. I read more than ever. I just finished Gabrielle Union’s book, We’re Going To Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True. It’s not a new book, but it’s one that was given to me a couple of Christmases ago and I thought, "Oh, I’m going to delve into this," and it never happened. I finished that book in hours.
What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever received?
HF: To not engage in the process of editing, learning sound, and learning how stories are put together. Fortunately, I ignored that advice and interned at a public access station in Los Angeles where I learned those very storytelling tools. Because I can edit footage myself, that skill makes me a better storyteller. I don’t do that at the network now, but I can assist in a way that allows us to cut down our time in half because I know what I want and I know what the story needs. I would tell any young person who’s pursuing broadcast journalism to learn as much as you can in terms of that final TV product. It makes your storytelling that much better.
And what’s the best advice?
HF: Find your purpose and remember that’s what the world will make room for if you are dedicated to becoming the best at what you do. There will come a time when people look around the room and they’ll say, "Let’s give that job to [her] because she does this so well," and you want to be ready so you don’t have to get ready when those opportunities come. And they’re coming.
Do you have any wisdom for aspiring Black female journalists?
HF: There will be times when people make decisions that hurt your heart because you know that they’re not fair. Have faith in yourself that you have what it takes to go beyond that. Make sure you’re ready for your opportunity when it comes. Keep working hard. Press, but press with purpose. Be stern, but not with anger. Be patient, but don’t be walked on. Be assertive, be respectful. When those things come to you, give it everything you got.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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