On Feb. 13, award-winning investigative journalist Karen Foshay told Archer she hopes Archer girls will go on to be journalists. She explained during her presentation that she believes good journalists are greatly needed in our time. Foshay currently works as KPCC’s investigative producer. During her presentation, she shared advice and spoke about her career as a journalist.
Foshay told Archer girls that she knew she wanted to work in this field from a young age; she was greatly influenced by her mother who she described as a “news junkie.”
In 1991, Foshay obtained an internship with KCAL. After her internship ended, she said that she “kept showing up” at work, and leaders at KCAL were inspired by her perseverance. She was soon offered a job and began her 20-year career in journalism. She recommends internships to all aspiring young journalists, as she believes it is a great way to immerse yourself in the job experience.
Foshay told Archer girls that she believes there are no bad stories—only a bad way to tell them. In her current career, she enjoys coming up with her own stories and self-assigning articles. She advises young journalists to constantly be alert to their surroundings. Twitter, she remarked, is a great tool which some journalists use as inspiration for potential stories. After finding an idea, they can then do further research, contact people involved, and see if there is a story to be written.
One Archer student asked how to avoid bias and how to evaluate our articles. Foshay suggested that we ask ourselves one pivotal question: “What could someone reading my article complain about?”
Archer students also wanted to know if there was a case or a story in which Foshay felt in danger. She told students about a time that she was investigating a wildfire near Pepperdine. She and her work partner were very excited because they had an exclusive story that other reporters weren’t covering. However, the fire was erratic and spreading quickly. Eventually Foshay and her partner had to abandon the van and run to escape the fire.
Foshay admits that investigative journalism and producing is a demanding and time-consuming job. For her, it is evidently worth it. She shared an expose she produced about the Compton City Council and how that story affected the next election, which demonstrates the monumental effect good journalism can have.
Yasmeen Namazie ’15, co-editor-in-chief of the Oracle, said, “Karen Foshay gave an inspirational and interesting presentation. I am so happy that I got to hear her insights on the journalism world.”