News Media Alliance announced the winners of its first “Top 30 Under 30” Awards program at mediaXchange 2016 in April, which honors young leaders working in every aspect of the news media who are contributing to the future success of the industry. Over the next several weeks we will feature profiles on the winners, highlighting their work and ideas, and how they’re helping the industry grow and evolve.
Whether it’s the Rio Olympics, a football tradition between two New York high schools, a spring break college cricket game, or a pro surfing competition, Joshua Robinson, a Wall Street Journal sports reporter, is immersed in the action.
And the commotion never stops. “In one week I’ve been at seven games in six cities in France,” he says, referring to his coverage of the Euro 2016 soccer championship. Following the conclusion of the tournament he heads straight to the Tour de France, then to Rio for the Summer Olympics. Somehow, he keeps up with this fast-paced rhythm. “I can still get away with sleeping 4 hours a night,” he jokes.
When Joshua began his whirlwind career, he was just a sophomore at Columbia. He explains, “I wound up meeting with a sports editor at The New York Times. I pitched a story and she said ‘Why don’t you go ahead and write that?’”
From then on, Joshua has developed his talent through years of work with both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. However, he didn’t always cover the big, front-page sporting events. When he first started at The Journal, he did stories about Manhattan’s bike polo team, fishers on the Hudson, and runners in Central Park in the middle of the night. But even with seemingly insignificant material, Joshua produced brilliant work—making something as ordinary as a midnight jog seem cutting-edge.
Joshua’s work is filled with vivid imagery—transporting reader’s to riveting, engaging moments in games and sporting events.
In a remarkable account of dangerous, downhill speed-racing in the Tour de France, Joshua opened his piece with this attention-grabbing line: “Their fingers were too numb to grip a water bottle, let alone the brakes.” This piece, which Joshua acknowledged as one of his favorites, is a ground-breaking immersive—utilizing multimedia effects, action footage, and data collected directly from team members flying down a mountain during the Tour de Romandie. Gerard Baker, Editor-in-Chief of The Wall Street Journal, called it “one of The Journal’s best features of the year” and “one of the most viewed and widely cited immersives The Journal has done.”
In another of Joshua’s favorite pieces, he created a minute-by-minute account of an April Premier League game through the eyes of Petr Cech, the goalkeeper for Chelsea. With this, Joshua took a seemingly ordinary game and created a captivating insight into the thoughts and emotions of a professional goalkeeper.
As one of News Media Alliance’s “Top 30 Under 30” award recipients, it is clear Joshua’s intriguing work has set him apart from other reporters. Baker says, “His global focus, multimedia skills and ability to speak four languages mark him as the kind of reporter who will lead our business into the future.”
And Joshua looks to the future of our industry with excitement rather than fear; “Good stories aren’t going away. We’re able to deliver good stories in a more thorough, engaging way than ever before. A story is no longer just words… And that’s exciting.”
Emma Benninghoff is a student and former communications intern at News Media Alliance.