Since graduating from Biola, alumna Nicole Foy (B.A. ’16) has worked as a journalist in multiple states, often writing stories of those whose voices aren’t frequently heard. Most recently, she was hired as an investigative reporter at the Austin-American Statesman newspaper in Austin, Texas. The previous year, she was accepted into Stanford University’s John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships as one of 11 journalists chosen because of their notable work in covering stories of people of color, including bilingual coverage, during COVID-19.
Here are five things you should know about Foy’s work in journalism and how she is striving to elevate the voices of those not heard.
- She believes that Christians serve a unique purpose in the field of journalism.As a student in the Biola Digital Journalism and Media department, Foy was deeply impacted by her professors’ dedication to integrity as a Christian in the field, she said. “None of the professors or the classes ever shied away from the idea that you can be fully yourself: fully a Christian in what is considered to be a very secular industry,” she said. “Everything that you are about, your faith about who you are as a human being, and what you care about, what you love, that all is a strength for you in this job.”
- Her passion for reporting investigative stories began in college. In her junior and senior years at Biola, Foy embarked on a long-form writing project that dove into the reality of sexual assault on college campuses. That experience, coupled with Biola’s emphasis on cross-cultural journalism, were instrumental in preparing her for the work she now does daily. “In journalism, you’re talking to a million people every day who are nothing like you, and are often very specifically focused on something that… you don’t know a lot about, or someone with a completely different agenda and life story and purpose than you,” she said. “Biola helped prepare me to speak with empathy and understanding to people whom I have nothing in common with, but whom I’m always glad to learn from and talk to.”
- During the COVID-19 crisis, she strove to represent her local Latino community. Before moving to Austin, Foy served as an investigative reporter in Boise, Idaho, where she worked to represent the Latino community in the news media. Among the stories she wrote in that role were a piece about farmworkers concerned about being sprayed with pesticides without warning and an analysis of the achievement gap between Latino students and their peers. The fellowship program that she was a part of was designed for journalists aiming to close the information gap for people of color, and it provided her resources to expand bilingual coverage in the Boise area. Foy is white and Latina and bilingual in Spanish, which she used in her work in the fellowship and in her reporting.
- While change can be rare, her work in investigative journal- ism is rewarding. “Hearing from people who thought that they would never get to say what they wanted to say, and speak on what they want [is rewarding],” Foy said. Though infrequent, seeing something actively change in the community because of something she has written is a rewarding experience, she said. When she does receive feedback from people she has featured, their encouraging words are tangible examples of the impact of her work.
- She trains in self-defense. “I’m really into Krav Maga. I’ve been on and off practicing it for a while,” said Foy. “I started it when I lived in Chicago for a year and I became obsessed. I just love it.”