Q & A with Josie Cox, Journalist
If you watch the BBC News Channel, you may have recently seen Josie Cox, financial and business reporter with the Wall Street Journal, as a guest reviewer on The Papers. Josie left school in 2006, and since then has been busy forging a career in global financial journalism, although she has had the opportunity to visit ISB on several occasions down the years. In 2015, as a keynote speaker at the annual Careers Fair, she was invited to share with an audience of ISB students her experiences of study, work and life after school – no doubt inspiring some of the world’s potential journalists, business associates and financial experts of the future!
So, Josie, it’s been ten years since you left us. What are your memories of ISB?
I spent six years at the school – first at the Freies Gymnasium Campus in the city, and later in Reinach. I also attended ISB Kindergarten in Bottmingen in the 1990s, but my memories of that are hazy at best, and mostly feature a large, blue, dragon-shaped slide, and plenty of summer afternoons at the outdoor swimming pool.
What sort of ISB student were you?
I was an active member of the student community. I played volleyball, basketball and soccer, practised track & field and softball, helped set up the Model United Nations club and was vice-president, and later president, of the Student Council.
I also joined a school-arranged trip to South Africa, where I volunteered for the charity Habitat for Humanity. I learned about the disadvantaged and impoverished, and realized just how exceptionally privileged our student community was.
And after you graduated ISB?
I completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Bath, England, in Modern Languages and Politics. I continued to play volleyball and took up long-distance running. But I also discovered a passion for journalism and managed to secure several internships at global news organizations around Europe – including back in Basel.
In 2010, I moved to Frankfurt, Germany, and accepted a job as a correspondent for the news agency Thomson Reuters. I later transferred to London with the same company and in 2014 joined the US daily The Wall Street Journal, where I work as a financial and business reporter, chiefly in print, but regularly appearing on TV and radio, too. I’ve recently helped launch a new mobile app for the WSJ, targeted at the social media-savvy next generation of news consumers.
You’ve visited the school several times since you were a student here. What’s your impression of ISB?
I’ve been consistently amazed by the school’s rapid pace of growth. I see many familiar faces in the corridors and classrooms, but the school’s footprint has clearly expanded dramatically, and with it the size and diversity of the student community. It’s inspiring to see students, teachers and parents from so many different walks of life, living and working together in this seemingly unremarkable corner of Switzerland.
What advice would you give current students?
As an international school student, it’s easy to live in a bubble, surrounded by those who speak your language, understand your culture, eat your food, watch your TV shows and listen to your music. But I would encourage you to make the most of life in this city, however brief your stay. Basel is a place of great beauty, despite the smoky pharmaceutical towers on the banks of the Rhine. It is home to an exceptionally rich selection of museums and galleries, concert venues and cafés, parks and forests. Its history is rich and fascinating.
A final tip?
Seize opportunities to learn about local life, be that by joining a club or team, or simply getting to know your neighbor. Appreciate the calibre of education that you’re getting at the school, but don’t forget what else is out there. It’s beyond the corridors and classrooms that you will really be able to prepare for life after school.
Josie Cox, ISB Class of 2006 – thank you for talking to us!