Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Becca Foley ’20 has yet to set foot in her workplace — the main New York Times newsroom — since starting as a news assistant there last summer.
But, she noted, “Running the Kenyon Collegian during the beginning of the pandemic really introduced me to collaborating and working with a team virtually.”
Working for the Collegian as editor-in-chief helped Foley determine how she wanted to chart her career. She had her hands in all aspects of the student newspaper’s production and in leadership of the Collegian team — experiences that proved valuable as she transitioned from that newsroom to the much larger one of the New York Times. Foley even had the opportunity to cover a Democratic presidential debate held in Ohio live from the ground for the Collegian.
Foley earned her Times position with help from the Kenyon alumni network; after connecting with Fred Bierman ’98, who runs the Times’ news design department, the two stayed in touch, and he encouraged her to apply for an opening when one arose last year. In her role, she primarily builds pages for the print edition of the paper, and in her first year already has contributed to a range of significant moments, from working with the politics team on election night to helping build front pages during President Trump’s second impeachment trial. “It is a very busy and fast-paced career,” Foley said, “but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Foley, a modern languages and literatures major, credits her Kenyon experience with equipping her to navigate through any adventure on which she might want to embark.
“A liberal arts education like Kenyon’s doesn’t necessarily have majors for such specific fields as journalism, education and business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go into those fields,” Foley said. “I learned so many things in my classes that all connected to one another that allowed me to pursue journalism — how to write arguments in art history courses, how to communicate effectively in language and English courses, how to work on a team in anthropology courses. You learn so many different elements with a liberal arts education that allow you to find your interests and passions.”