It seems my first contribution to journalism was a rather sensational article (see right) produced at roughly the age of nine – in year four of primary school – and unearthed in early 2010.
Although the handwriting thankfully continued to improve, my drawing skills still leave much to be desired.
After much childhood fantasizing about an occupation that would allow me to travel all around the world, I was advised by renowned foreign correspondent Martin Bell to become a presenter of holiday programs when I asked him if his job was “fun” on a breakfast TV phone-in.
My first glimpse of slightly more real journalism came at age 15, when I did work experience at APTN in London. That was 2002. Like pretty much every schoolboy in England, I loved football – and I couldn’t imagine a much better life than being paid to write about the sport. One could say the foundation of this idea has remained solid, weaving its way through tennis, music and youth empowerment issues to a more conventional journalistic focus, as I became greatly interested in politics during my A-Levels and at university.
For a couple of years I happily wrote about jazz and other genres in exchange for free CDs and gig tickets, a hobby that conveniently tied in with my own musical pursuits.
In late 2008 I arrived in Moscow for a compulsory year abroad as part of my Politics and Russian degree.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Russia nourished all my various curiosities: During two years there, I published articles about politics, music, capoeira, couchsurfing and football, interviewing cosmonauts, punk priests, free travelers and human rights activists. My work appeared in titles such as The Guardian, Monocle, the Global Post and supplements of the Daily Telegraph and Washington Post.
Gaining multimedia experience became a key priority. I developed my interest in photography, and in 2010 began working newsroom nightshifts for Russia Today TV – after suspending my university studies for an extra year. As well as producing occasional packages for RT, I reported for outlets such as France 24, CBS, TVNZ and RTÉ as a freelance correspondent sourced through Global Radio News.
I also found steady work as an editor and translator, often in the artistic sphere. Clients included Channel One, the Kandinsky Prize, Le Cool, the Moscow Art Guide, Winzavod and several smaller galleries.
In October 2010, I returned to Bristol University to complete my degree, and subsequently found time to intern one day per week at the local BBC office from February to May 2011.
Barely a month after undertaking final exams, I relocated to New York and enrolled for the Master of Science degree at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. In 2012, I scaled back to a part-time program and freelanced for CNN, Reuters, The New York Times, Monocle and others before graduating Columbia in May 2013.
Since crossing the Atlantic I have also developed my interest in Latin America. I made reporting trips to Mexico in September 2012 and March 2013, producing stories in print, audio and video for several outlets – including an article about a battle of the bands in prisons around the capital.
In July 2013, I headed to Argentina (via Bolivia) for a fellowship with the Associated Press in Buenos Aires, sponsored by the Overseas Press Club.