Meet KPU: Nicole Gonzalez Filos

Gonzalez Filos is a former editor in chief of The Runner and created a documentary set to air this fall

Nicole Gonzalez Filos is a KPU journalism alumni and previous editor in chief at The Runner, holding the position for almost two years. (Submitted)

Nicole Gonzalez Filos is a KPU journalism alumni and previous editor in chief at The Runner, holding the position for almost two years. (Submitted)

Nicole Gonzalez Filos graduated from Kwantlen Polytechnic University in 2022 with a bachelor of journalism and a minor in creative writing. During her time at KPU, she held the Editor in Chief position at The Runner for almost two years, working her way up from starting out as a contributor. She now works in communications for the Fraser Basin Council, a non-profit organization that advocates for sustainability in British Columbia. Gonzalez Filos is also the editor of Down to You, a podcast showcasing young individuals who are taking action against climate change. She also founded the production company The Aguacate Media, and is working on an educational documentary titled, A Local Journey Through Latin America, which is about Latin American countries and is set to air on Sept. 19. 


When did you join the KPU community and why?

I joined the KPU community in September of 2017 after I graduated from high school. I decided to go into the journalism program because in Grade 12 English, I read a book called The Glass Castle. Back then, I actually had no idea what I wanted to be…. I read this book, and I could relate to Jeannette Walls in many ways, not her living situation, but more of the way that she looked at writing, and the way she looked at wanting to know more about certain things. At the end of the day, she became a journalist, and I related to her because of her passion for writing.So, through the book, I found my passion for journalism.

I was looking at journalism schools around B.C., and the only one that had a bachelor’s in journalism was KPU. And I’m like, ‘Oh, awesome, it’s close to my house, and yeah, I’ll give it a shot.’ So I went in and I started my first class. On my first day, my professor told me that I wasn’t going to make any money in journalism, but I did not let that discourage me. 

The summer of 2019, I decided to pick up a copy of The Runner. I was reading through it, and I’m like, ‘Oh, this sounds interesting.’ Then I just went into my first pitch meeting, and I had a great time. It wasn’t until the second time I went to the pitch meeting, where the previous editor in chief was like, ‘Hey, you can grab something super easy if you want.’ So, I grabbed a culture story about an event happening at Science World with a KPU instructor. From there, I really enjoyed reporting because I got to go to the event, take pictures, and talk to the individual and ask questions I was wondering about. I started contributing more during the summer since I had more free time. When they started hiring for the position of community reporter, I decided to apply, and that’s how I got involved with KPU and The Runner.


 What is your favorite story of your time at KPU?

I think my best experiences at KPU were when I was at The Runner. To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to make any meaningful relationships at university because to me, it was like I go to university, I go to my class, and I’m out. I usually don’t talk to folks, I just do my thing and go back home. But when I joined The Runner, I felt I could make meaningful relationships because they were also pursuing the same career as me. I found they also were interested in the same things that I was. Through those meaningful friendships, I felt that I was also growing as a journalist.

One of my favorite things would be pitch meetings because it was a chance to talk to people and catch up with them to see how they were doing or talk about what classes they were taking or what assignment gave them a headache. Another thing I enjoyed was when I took stories where I had to go out and talk to KPU instructors or staff members, because those stories were so special because they were in-house, and it meant I could get to know more about the people who work in the space that I study. So I don’t have a specific memory, but I have the experiences at The Runner which made my university life much more interesting.


What’s something you’d like to say to people new to the community?

Something people who are new to KPU should probably take into consideration is to be open to pursuing new experiences, having new relationships, and being open to new relationships with people to create friendship. This could also mean being a little bit extroverted. You don’t have to be an extrovert, you don’t have to change who you are, but I think being a bit more social can truly enhance your university experience. Join clubs and things that will make you happy and distract you from homework and from things you find stressful. I would also encourage new students to get to know your teachers, talk to them, ask them questions, because they are basically the closest thing you have to someone who has been working in the field, so take advantage of that. Ask them questions about the field like, ‘Hey, how do you see this going in a few years, or what do you think journalism is going to look like with AI? Should I shift into another route of journalism?’ I think taking advantage of their knowledge can be very good for students.


What are you working on right now?

 I’m working on a documentary titled A Local Journey Through Latin America. This is a seven-episode documentary series produced by me which is going to be aired on the TELUS STORYHIVE YouTube channel as well as my personal production The Aguacate Media. This documentary was supported by TELUS STORYHIVE. I had to apply for the grant, it was $10,000, which had to be spent for the purposes of the documentary. The documentary will showcase culture, traditions, geography, and cuisine of Latin America from countries like Mexico all the way down to Argentina. This educational documentary has been made possible with the help of consulate and community members from Latin American countries currently residing in British Columbia.  

One of the reasons I decided to make this documentary was because I felt that people in Canada weren’t aware of the various Latin American countries. This stems from long ago when I arrived here at 10 years old. My friends and teachers would ask me where I was from, I would tell them that I was from Panama. They would be like, ‘Where is that?’ And I’m like, ‘It’s this country down in Central America beside Colombia and Costa Rica,’ and they’re like, ‘Oh no, we don’t know where that is.’ Throughout my life, I have experienced many of those questions, and I felt that there needed to be more education around the rest of the countries in the Americas besides the United States and Canada. I decided to take matters into my own hands and educate people through this documentary.

I also did it for the Latinos because they feel the same things that I feel. I wanted to give them a platform so they can show off their beautiful countries or food, and talk about how great their countries are. Everybody loves that, and I think Canadians are going to love that too. They’re going to love the warmth we can give them and delicious food that they can also make at home.


What is something you would like people to know about you?

 A fun fact about me is I enjoy crossword puzzles. I find them to be entertaining and fun. I also really enjoy going out for walks with my dog, paddleboarding, hiking, and exploring new places with my friends. I am a huge foodie. I enjoy different types of foods from Latin America, Indian cuisine, Asian cuisine, and African Nigerian food. I really enjoy flavors and learning about different cultures. 

I also love photography and taking videos. Video is just a beautiful form of telling a story because you can see it, you can hear it, and I think it’s the most beautiful way to make people feel something. I specifically enjoy documentaries that tell real stories of real people, their struggles, and their accomplishments.