Our first New Zealand graduate: Kirsty Lawrence

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With over a decade of successful graduates, we’re going back and reflecting on our past graduates.

We’ve had 91 graduates in our history and this month we’re talking with TFS Graduate #23, Kirsty Lawrence. Kirsty has her own piece of history in The Football Sack archives as the very first graduate from over the ditch in New Zealand when she covered the Wellington Phoenix in 2013. 

“It was tough being the first TFS Graduate from New Zealand because there was no example to follow, but equally it meant I got to set the tone for how I approached the season and how I covered the New Zealand team,” Kirsty said. 

But despite not having an example to follow, Kirsty made the most of her opportunity in the press box and credits her internship as the most beneficial thing she did post-graduation.

“It was so fun, it was one of the most beneficial things I did post graduating,” Kirsty said on her time at TFS.

After Kirsty’s graduation from TFS in 2014, she earned herself a position as a reporter in Taupo working for Stuff, one of New Zealand’s biggest online news sites.

At Stuff, Kirsty covered a range of different topics such as sports, education, and health, where she credits The Football Sack as a major reason as to why she got that gig.

“I was told after I got the job that one of the reasons why I was hired was because of my sports background and particularly covering football as my manager was quite keen to hire someone who could actually cover sport.”

From that moment Kirsty has not looked back in her career.  

Kirsty was the recipient of two Bob Williams Memorial Cups, which are awarded at the close of each year to a journalist at the Manawatu Standard who has excelled. Despite the popular publication existing since 1880, Kirsty was the first journalist in the paper’s history to win the award twice.

When looking back on her time at The Football Sack, Kirsty could not be more grateful for the experience she had and strongly encourages anyone to donate and support the program. 

“It is such a great program. It is so hard to get journalism experience anywhere, let alone doing sports journalism, especially in New Zealand. So, it is a terrific way for young budding journalists to cut their teeth covering sport, and really get a vibe for journalism.”

Kirsty now finds herself at the New Zealand Defence Force where she has made the switch from journalism to communications as the Senior Communications Advisor, an important role that she very quietly accepted.  

“I swapped out of journalism, and I did it very quietly because I was still a little bit heartbroken about swapping,” 

“But it is really different being on the other end of the journalism side of things and finding the stories, but it’s really cool and I’m loving it,” Kirsty said.

From covering Wellington Phoenix straight out of university, to sitting in the communications hot seat of one of New Zealand’s most important organisations, Kirsty has set a strong example for what all current and future interns can achieve at The Football Sack.

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Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

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Cameron Ottenhoff
Cameron Ottenhoff
Sport, media and communications student at Flinders University in Adelaide. I was forced to hang the boots up at a young age after discovering I'm no good at sport, so now I just talk about it instead.

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