The Story of James Foley

Early Career Moves

After graduating from Marquette University in 1996, Foley began his career as a teacher through Teach for America. After working with the program for several years, he would find himself drawn toward the world of journalism. This interest culminated in the mid-2000’s, when he went back to attend Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, graduating in 2008. Shortly after, he would find himself on the opposite side of the globe, working in Baghdad on USAID-funded efforts to help rebuild a civil service for the local community.


A photo taken on September 29, 2011 shows US freelance reporter James Foley resting in a room at the airport of Sirte, Libya. AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS (Photo credit should read ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Soon afterward in January of 2011, Foley found himself working for American military newspaper Stars and Stripes.

He would then travel to Afghanistan on assignment, only to be removed from his position after being suspected of possession and use of cannabis. He admitted to the charge shortly after and resigned from the position. Almost immediately, he began working with the Boston-based GlobalPost, relocating to Libya to cover the ongoing uprising against Muammar Gaddafi. Foley would be embedded with rebel soldiers in the area, and it was here that he encountered his first serious run-in with hostile forces.

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