About the Author
Sharon Hardee Jimenez
Sharon Hardee Jimenez is a writer, journalist, public policy publicist and unrelenting activist for issues relating to women, families, and jobs. A graduate of the University of Florida, a college created in Gainesville under the tenure of her great grandfather Napoleon Bonaparte Broward under the “Bruckman Act” in 1905, Sharon regularly attended college forums where candidates for public office and journalists would share their stories with students in 1970-1974. When the Washington Post muckraker Jack Anderson came to talk, Sharon was the only woman to come to the microphone in the crowded hall to ask Anderson about his coverage of the war in Vietnam.
With a brother fighting in Southeast Asia drafted out of college and having lost friends in the war, the Q & A with Anderson was the igniting spark which drove her to pursue TV journalism. Sharon worked in TV news in Jacksonville, Houston, and Atlanta covering the iconic newsmakers as she followed the historic campaign of the first deep south president since reconstruction, Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn, from campaigning in Georgia and Florida to the White House. Boarding the North Florida Peanut Brigade train out of Jacksonville she was on her way to becoming one of the pioneering women in TV political news coverage in America.
While the Today Show’s Barbara Walters sat in the comfort of a studio above the floor of the ballroom in Washington, where Jimmy and Rosalyn were coming to mix with celebrities and political supporters at the Georgia/Florida celebration of this historic presidency, Sharon was putting together a package for her local TV station WTLV-TV NBC Jacksonville. Sharing conversation with Art Garfunkel, Neil Diamond, Chevy Chase, and Neil Sedaka the celebs teased the 23 year old reporter saying, “Someday you’ll be up in the studio looking down on the rest of us.” Sharon never aspired to be looking down on a crowd. She always relished in being in the midst of chaos on the ground – searching for answers to questions about the issues of her time. By 26 she was state capitol bureau chief in Atlanta for the NBC affiliate WXIA-TV, chasing stories and embarrassing high powered elected leaders about campaign contributions gifted during votes on banking bills and gerrymandering voting districts to maintain the status quo.
In 1980, marrying NBC news correspondent Bob Jimenez, she was starting a family as the first woman on the air in Atlanta to be pregnant covering the news. The birth of all of her children would make the TV newscasts in Atlanta and San Francisco as Sharon shared the story of family and motherhood, framing a feminine portrait right smack in the middle of what was still a man’s world of TV journalism.
In 1985, Sharon and Bob startled viewers in San Francisco by producing a TV segment on the birth of their daughter Anna with Sharon sharing the power of birth with viewers as she allowed cameraman Lou D’Aria into the delivery room to record the birth. Twenty months earlier, Sharon and Bob had lost a baby girl Lara who died after being born full term with anencephaly. Allowing a TV news camera into the birth of Anna was a bold move supporting nurse Linda Jenkins who was a Berkeley based childbirth coach helping couples share the miracle of birth bonding men and women in a new way as they created families. All of these experiences led to the telling of her great grandmother’s story Girls on the Porch – a work in progress now in 2021.