Monday marked five years since freelance war correspondent James Foley of Rochester was killed by ISIS after being held captive in Syria.
Foley’s legacy lives on through a foundation his family created to advocate for the safe return of Americans taken hostage. The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation also works to educate student journalists about staying safe in dangerous situations.
A few years ago, the foundation rolled out a curriculum for graduate college programs. This year, there is a new pilot undergraduate program available for students who are interested.
“We want to prevent journalists and others who do international work from being taken captive,” his mother, Diane Foley, said on Monday. “We emphasize risk assessment, digital security and just general awareness of who we are talking to and where we’re talking.”
Diane Foley said the foundation has found that many undergraduate journalism programs never address the issue of safety, which is concerning because even local reporters encounter dangerous situations.
She is hopeful leaders at the University of New Hampshire and other Granite State schools will start incorporating some safety training into their classes.
Diane Foley said Monday was a solemn day of remembrance.
“Today, as we remember Jim, we are more committed than ever to advocate for journalist safety and for freedom for all Americans taken hostage abroad,” a post on the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation Facebook page said Monday.
Every year, the foundation organizes a celebratory run and walk in Rochester near James’ birthday, which is Oct. 18. This year’s race will be on Oct. 19.
The run and walk, which draws about 1,000 people locally and 1,000 worldwide through a virtual event, is a major fundraiser for the work being done by the foundation locally and in Washington, D.C.
A similar event will be held for the first time this year in Washington, D.C. The foundation’s new executive director, Margaux Ewen, is posted there.
“The idea is just to build awareness about press freedoms and the need to protect journalists and Americans when they go traveling around the world,” Diane Foley said.
In November, James Foley was honored with the Life and Liberty Award during a ceremony at the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Diane and John Foley accepted the award on their son’s behalf.
For more information about the run and walk, or to contribute to the work being done in James Foley’s memory, visit www.jamesfoleyfoundation.org.