Alumni News

2007 SJGC Graduate Teaches Students How the Freedom of Information Act Enhances Investigative Journalism

SJGC Staff
SJGC Staff
Forever Rattlers: A Timeless Tradition Friday, Oct 27, 2023 Lawson Center FAMU / AJ Shorter Photography

For alumna Jessica Larche´ ’07 , presenting during the 2023  Grads are Back event during FAMU’s Homecoming celebration in October was simply a “dream come true.”  

“I get emotional about it because when you are a student, you pray that when you get into the real world you will make [FAMU] proud,” she said.   

Larche´ led a panel titled, “FOIA: The Other 4-Letter Word.”  The workshop was designed to teach students  how the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) enhances investigative reporting. FOIA is the federal law that requires disclosure, upon request, of previously unreleased or uncirculated information and documents that are controlled by the government, a state, or other public authority.  

“FOIA is the foundation of investigative journalism,” the Emmy® award-winning investigative reporter said. “It was important to show our emerging Rattler journalists real-life ways I used it to help change lives and shine a light.”  

Larche´ is currently a news anchor at WTKR- TV News 3 in Hampton Roads, Virginia where she’s worked to shine a light in Coastal Virginia and Eastern North Carolina since 2010. One of her most notable stories was an investigative series that led to the exoneration of Black men who had been wrongly imprisoned.  

Larche´ has a passion for telling stories in underserved communities.  And a passion for getting results.  During her time as a reporter at WDBD-TV FOX 40 News in Jackson, Miss., she uncovered a lack of fire hydrants in Black neighborhoods, forcing the city to make changes.   

“There were several fires in the community but not enough working fire hydrants. I filed a FOIA request with the city of Jackson that showed which areas didn’t have enough working fire hydrants, then did a story,” she said. “By the time I left Jackson, they finally installed them.”  

Her work has been recognized by the National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence awards, the Virginia Association of Broadcasters Awards, the Mississippi Associated Press Awards, the Florida Associated Press Awards, and the William Randolph Hearst Awards.  

As a SJGC student, she  made history as one of the first news anchors for FAMU-TV 20’s live broadcast, News 20 at 5. She praised the time and effort FAMU SJGC professors put into molding her into the journalist she is today. 

“When you can see the fruit from the seeds your professors sow measured in lives and policies changes, in promotions, in incredible stories ––it makes you know that their love and sacrifices were not in vain. it is the most rewarding feeling,” she said.   

Larché also gave the occasion at this year’s Homecoming Convocation.

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