Director - Producer - Journalist
Nicole Noren is an award-winning director, producer and journalist for ESPN’s Investigative Unit.
Noren has produced more than 50 investigative reports and short documentaries for ESPN. A recipient of five Emmys, two Edward R. Murrow Awards and a Peabody, Noren has reported extensively on gender-based violence.
Her 2022 ESPN short documentary, Betsy & Irv, received critical acclaim as well as honors including two Real Screen Awards. ESPN’s investigative documentary LISTEN in 2023 marks her debut feature documentary film.
Noren grew up working in her family’s grocery store in Ventura, Calif., and took a circuitous route to college, working many jobs including stints as a cocktail waitress, nanny and college football recruiter. A University of Hawaii graduate, Noren began her ESPN career as a temporary production assistant in 2000. Working her way up from producing highlights and teleprompting for SportsCenter and Outside the Lines to being a researcher for the newly formed Feature Unit, she realized she had a passion for investigative stories. After less than three years at the network, she was tapped by then News Director Vince Doria to line produce a new nightly installment of Outside the Lines. After some time producing the live news show, she shifted over to feature producing, and was an early champion at the network for stories on mental health, gender-based violence, and LGBTQ athletes.
Noren has traveled the world covering stories for ESPN. From the remote Indonesian island of Sumbawa for a child labor story on young horse jockeys, to Turkey for the Emmy nominated E60 Enes Kanter feature in which Noren and Jeremy Schaap questioned government officials about their allegations of human rights violations and treatment of the exiled former NBA player…to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, where John Barr and Noren uncovered extensive human trafficking, a story for which the duo was honored with the Edward R. Murrow Award in video investigative reporting – a first for a sports entry.
Noren played a pivotal role in the 2018 cross-platform ESPN investigation into Michigan State University, which was recognized with three national reporting awards – a Peabody Award, First Prize in the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Award for Sports Investigations, and an Emmy nomination in Outstanding Sports Journalism. The report focused on sexual abuse claims against former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, as well as how the university dealt with sexual assault claims against student-athletes; and it uncovered a widespread pattern of denial, inaction and information suppression.
A recipient of a 2016-17 Rosalynn Carter Fellowship in Mental Health Journalism and 2015 Kiplinger Fellow, four of her reports have been honored with a National Award for Education Reporting (including First Prize in broadcast investigative reporting in 2014). Her 2014 story on college swimmer Sasha Menu Courey, who battled borderline personality disorder, prompted widespread policy change in the University of Missouri system, and was awarded the Mental Health America 2015 Media Award.
A first gen college grad, Noren is an avid traveler, music lover, photographer and outdoor enthusiast and is based in Southern California. She is a board member for Project Experience for Youth, a non-profit which provides experiential learning opportunities to low-income students in Ventura County (CA). She has been a registered yoga teacher since 2014, once lived on a sailboat for a year, and can typically be found on a trail or at a concert.