It was a lingering curiosity about China that led Massey journalism student Julia Hollingsworth to put her hand up for an internship at the Shanghai Daily. That decision in 2012 was to change her life.
“My great grandmother was born (in China), and my parents travelled there in 1989. I was aware that China’s global influence was growing, so it also seemed like a good place to learn more about,” she says.
“It might sound a bit cheesy, but that six-week internship ended up completely changing the direction of my career. I became fascinated with modern China, particularly the speed with which the country was changing.”
Julia returned to New Zealand and worked as a journalist for two years before securing a Prime Minister’s Scholarship to study Mandarin at Tsinghua University in Beijing for a year. That, in turn, led to jobs in Hong Kong with the South China Morning Post and in Shanghai with Sixth Tone, where she was a feature editor.
“Even Siri struggles to understand her accent,” Sixth Tone wrote tongue-in-cheek as part of its profile on the New Zealander. Julia went on to win a Society of Publishers in Asia award for her work at Sixth Tone.
In 2019 Julia took up her current position as digital news producer with CNN International in Hong Kong.
“I’m not sure exactly what my future career holds, but I plan to be working in media in Asia for the foreseeable future,” she says. “To me, this feels like the most interesting part of the world.”
As a Leadership Network member, Julia says she’s enjoyed meeting up with other Foundation journalism interns and sharing experiences in newsrooms in Asia.
“I think it’s extremely important for New Zealanders to follow Asia news as this region is geographically, economically, and culturally significant to us — and its significance is only going to increase.”