Journalist of the month: Nicole Froio

byJessica Weiss
Nov 18 in Journalist of the Month

Each month, IJNet features an international journalist who exemplifies the profession and has used the site to further his or her career. If you would like to be featured, email a short bio and a paragraph about how you have used IJNet here.

This month we feature Brazilian journalist and editor Nicole Froio, a freelancer based in Rio de Janeiro. Froio, who studied journalism at the University of Sheffield in the U.K., writes about human rights, with a special focus on feminism and gender politics.

She also works for RioOnWatch, a community website run by nonprofit Catalytic Communities that seeks to amplify the voices of favela (or slum) residents in Rio de Janeiro. She writes, edits and commissions work for the site.

“People from neglected communities around the world rarely ever get a voice to say what they really think,” she said. “Working in community journalism is incredible because it goes to show that everyone has something to say and that there are so many things that go unreported--the good and the bad.”

How has IJNet helped you?

IJNet has helped me find extension courses online that have made me into a better professional. I took a data journalism course advertised on IJNet a few months ago and learned some great skills that I use every day. I always find fellowships through IJNet that I plan to apply to someday to further my work and education. There are all kinds of opportunities on there, so I check it all the time.

What are you the most proud of so far in your career as a journalist?

There isn't one particular story I am proud of, but I do take pride in the fact that I have grown to understand the power of words. It’s easy to just report on events and not think about what your civic duty as a writer is. I am proud of the fact that I try to be a conscious writer and editor.

Tell us about your work reporting on issues surrounding women's rights.

Journalists have incredible power. They set the agenda and define the language that is used. Is what you are covering sexist or racist? Is the way you are covering it stigmatizing? What stories should be known so they can stimulate change? Who needs a voice?

In terms of women's rights specifically, I feel that the media definitely has a role in defying and eventually destroying the patriarchy. If more journalists fought against sexist gender roles portrayed in journalism, for example, there would be less headlines like "Mother of three to run BBC.”

My work to change perspectives is currently focused on Brazilian women. Throughout the World Cup I noticed a lot of foreigners did not treat Brazilian women with respect, and I was street-harassed by foreigners a few times, even in professional settings. Brazilian women are seen as exotic and sexual. This is something that has to change. I set up a project, called Beyond the Sex & Sunshine, that aims to portray Brazilian women as more than just sexual, but as the women they really are: people who are complex and deserve to be respected.

With this project I am trying to change the narrative around Brazilian women not only by showing that they are more than sexual objects, but also uncovering the Brazilian sexist society that oppresses us. I hope to bring these issues to light, while simultaneously humanizing Brazilian women.

What advice would you give to aspiring journalists?

Don't be afraid to be socially conscious or care about issues. And be persistent - that's the mark of a good reporter.  

Image courtesy of Nicole Froio.