After over a decade of experience in broadcast journalism, Biola University alumna Velena Jones (’12) now works in a top-ten market in her hometown. Jones studied journalism at Biola where she learned the ins and outs of broadcast journalism. Her experience in the program and student media opportunities laid the foundation for the successful career she leads. Currently, she is a reporter and fill-in anchor at NBC Bay Area in San Francisco after moving from state to state covering stories in major cities within Wisconsin, Oregon, Michigan and various parts of California.

Velena Jones interviewing Chuck Todd of NBC News

Before moving back to San Francisco, Jones covered many stories on social justice and other nationwide topics, taking to heart her responsibility as a journalist to be a voice for the people. Whether it was with her team or as a one-man band, she reported on stories for the Black Lives Matter Movement, deadly shootings and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This career is beautiful, awe-inspiring, incredibly difficult, but very rewarding if you get into this business for the right purpose,” said Jones, “The idea of getting into journalism to be a voice for the voiceless comes with a lot of weight and responsibility … we don’t do this for ourselves, it’s to be a voice for people, hold the powerful accountable and to be truth seekers. If you are getting into the industry for those purposes, you are in the right field.”

Covering Oakland and the surrounding areas, Jones said she reports on, “everything from education, crime, politics and environmental issues, to stories that highlight the great things people are doing in the community.”

As a broadcast journalism student at Biola University, Jones notes how her professors and experiences in the program prepared her for the career journey she experienced since graduating.

Biola professor of broadcast journalism, Stew Oleson, advises Biola’s student-run broadcast news station, EagleVision News, where Jones anchored as a student. EagleVision provides an opportunity for students to gain experience as a news anchor and learn the behind-the-scenes of producing broadcast news.

Velena Reporting

“When I started at Biola,” said Jones, “broadcast journalism was a new emphasis you could study. In fact, the infamous Stew Oleson had not been hired yet ... Stew is the person who truly equipped me and laid down a solid foundation for me to become the journalist I am today. It’s through his lessons in class and in EagleVision that taught me the realities of journalism. Being an anchor on EagleVision prepared me for all the jobs I’ve had since I left Biola,” said Jones.

She also noted that under Oleson she learned critical skills for success in her field including how to write, edit, create engaging live shots and talk to the camera about something as simple as a pencil without stopping.

“These skills,” she emphasized, “are critical for this field.”

Oleson spoke highly of Jones’ work.

“Velena had drive, and ambition by the boatload. She was one of my very first students in broadcasting at Biola 15 years ago and set a very high bar for the others,” said Oleson. “She was an obvious choice to anchor and produce our newscast Eaglevision and made sure that every detail was covered before we shot the show.”

Taking her experience from Biola, Jones led a successful but challenging career where she got the opportunity to cover and write stories on major national events across the country. She was awarded a Midwest Regional Emmy in 2015 for her coverage of the Tony Robinson shooting in Madison, Wisconsin. During her time in Michigan, Jones also won a Michigan Broadcasting Award for the program she hosted, “Insights into Northern Michigan.”

“Velena was fearless. I knew she would succeed and the news outlets saw her dedication and drive wherever she applied,” said Oleson. “It is no surprise to me that she is now with NBC Bay Area in San Francisco. And her folks get to watch her now on TV since that is her home turf.”

Jones’ career exhibits alignment with Biola's mission to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ and Biolas B.A. Communications emphasis in journalism which seeks to prepare students to discover the importance of “seeking truth, exposing injustice and crafting compelling stories while upholding the highest ethical standards.”

Learn more about receiving a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communication and the Digital Journalism and Media program at Biola.

Written by Jalin Cerillo, strategic communications assistant. For more information, contact Media Relations at