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Futures Fund Case Study:  Joseph Pearson

Joseph Pearson in Auckland

Joseph explained: “I had always wanted to travel and remember thinking before my third year, what the hell am I going to do when I graduate?

“After a lot of research into internships abroad, I came across a journalism work placement in Auckland.”

He then applied to the Futures Fund and was awarded £2,500.

“I would never have been able to even consider my trip to New Zealand without the Futures Fund,” Joseph, from Ilkley in West Yorkshire, explained.

“During my eight-week placement I published content for print and online every single day on my favourite topic – sport.

“I’ve been covering the Rugby World Cup in the last few months, working five days a week on a competition this country counts down for every four years.

Graduate Joseph Pearson left Sunderland to pursue the experience of working as a sports journalist in New Zealand in June. In just a month he was covering the All Blacks.

Thanks to the Futures Fund Professional Development Scholarship, Joseph had the opportunity to learn every little trick of the trade in the newsrooms of New Zealand’s two largest media companies.

Just before graduating from the University of Sunderland with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Journalism this summer, Joseph was offered a placement with NZME, working for the New Zealand Herald in Auckland, and then he got a job at Fairfax Media, working for Stuff.co.nz.

His placement came through Travellers Worldwide, a travel company who offer voluntary work placements all around the world.

Joseph Pearson 50 shades of black

Joseph's weekly column '50 shades of Black'.

“Stuff gave me a weekly column for their Sunday paper, which was a page of World Cup funnies, and the editor captioned me as ‘our resident pom.’ I wasn’t so keen on that.”

But Joseph is no stranger to rugby as his whole University dissertation was focused on Rugby League in the North East.

He said: “It’s something I enjoy working on immensely because I live for sport.

“During my placement I covered all of the All Blacks’ knockout games – including the final at 5am (NZ time) – and I was getting paid to watch the games and write about the All Blacks’ world domination, as they hammered Australia 34-17 to win the World Cup for the third time.

“I also watched over England’s defeats to Wales and Australia. My work colleagues did not hold back in reminding me that we became the first hosts in the tournament’s history to get knocked out in the pool stages.”

The 22-year-old explained proudly that his opinion piece that followed – “Living in New Zealand has made me realise why everyone hates England” - was the most read and shared story on Stuff’s website for at least 24 hours.

Thanks to this experience Joseph has now come back to the UK with a wealth of experience and contacts he says he could not have possibly found so quickly here.

Within two weeks of arriving in Sunderland he has already secured a job as a Sports Writer/Sub-Editor at the Daily Express in London. 

Joseph recalled the weeks in New Zealand came ‘thick and fast’.

“I was churning out more and more stories every day on so many different sports – but mainly write offs with Kiwi angles.”

He also had the opportunity to interview England international Sam Tomkins who played for the Warriors.

“I got an exclusive, just chatting in the club’s gym, and it featured on the front page of Rugby League World,” Joseph said.

He continued: “I was living the dream. Every little experience taught me so much and with the fast paced nature of journalism, I was learning fast.

“My eight weeks with the Herald were almost up and I had already decided I wanted to stay and find work in New Zealand after I travelled around the country during August.

“At the end of August I was back in Auckland and after a few weeks of calling around, I managed to get my job working as a sports reporter for Stuff on a two- month contract until mid-November to help cover the World Cup.”

Joseph concluded: “The Futures Fund has helped to provide me with my opportunities in New Zealand and it will set me up for my career as a sports journalist in the near future. Thank you. Kia Ora.”

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