Anchor and News Director Jennifer Scarborough
“There’s a reason it’s the first (amendment),” she says. “I really believe in its function, especially in regards to local journalism. We’re able to shine a light on things people might not have known about otherwise. When you have good information from all sides, you can make good, informed decisions.”
In an area where many aspiring journalists often do touch-and-go landings on the way to bigger markets, Scarborough has become a mainstay. The Santa Fe, N.M. native considered leaving far Northern California a few times, but ultimately decided that raising a family in a community she’s deeply fond of wasn’t such a bad idea.
“I love what I do and I love living in the North State,” she says. “People in this area are so genuine and so nice, and the area really matters to me. As an anchor, people feel like they know you very well, and they do. I feel very privileged that they let me into their living rooms every night.”
After graduating from Santa Fe High School (a school she attended with KRCR meteorologist Mike Krueger), Scarborough went to the University of San Diego and later interned at San Diego’s KNSD Channel 7. Though she had written for both her high school and college newspapers, it only took a quick glimpse of the KNSD staff in action to set her career path.
“The first day, I knew it was what I wanted to do,” Scarborough says. “I came home and told my roommate, ‘I know what I’m going to do.’”
Her first job in the business was as an anchor and reporter for KDCI News in Carlsbad, N.M. While there, she met former KRCR news director Cal Hunter at a media conference and “chased him across the room and convinced him to hire me.”
Scarborough started at KRCR in 1995, initially serving as the station’s Tehama County reporter. When the station launched a weekend newscast in 1997, she began anchoring two nights a week and reporting the other three days. Soon she was anchoring weekday newscasts, and in 2005 she took over as news director.
In addition to anchoring the news, Scarborough’s role includes hiring and mentoring young reporters. She tells them how important it is to listen, collect accurate information, ask questions and then question the answers.
“I always figured that when people on both sides of a story were upset with me, I was doing my job,” Scarborough says. “I tell (young reporters), ‘I was you.’ Now I’m here to help them achieve their next goal. I want them to become the best journalists they can be and have success at the next level. I love hiring beginners because they bring a fresh perspective. They come in with high ideals and passion, and it translates to what they do.”
Scarborough balances her work at the station with a busy family life. She and her husband Gary Haslerud, a Redding civil attorney, have four young boys — Justin, Connor, and twins Carson and Ryan. Scarborough figures she’s changed at least one diaper every day for the past seven years. She’s also been on the board of One Safe Place, formerly the Shasta County Women’s Refuge, for the past decade.
“At the time when she had the twins (2010), I made a vow that I was never, ever going to say I was tired,” says Mike Mangas, Scarborough’s longtime anchoring partner who has been with KRCR since 1975. “It just amazes me what she can do, given her family life and her job as news director here.”
Scarborough’s ability to stay calm, smooth and engaging on-air is comparable to a professional golfer, says Mangas.
“When you watch a PGA golfer on TV and their swing is so smooth and easy, what you don’t realize is the amount of time and effort that led up to that point,” Mangas says. “That’s kind of what happens during a newscast. You spend the whole day working for what goes into that hour of news. Jennifer does it very well and makes it look easy. It’s really not, especially when there’s breaking news. She’s great at doing breaking news. She’s just an amazing woman.” •