George Freeman

George Freeman

Broadcast Journalist & Producer, BBC, London
Bachelor of Communication Studies in Journalism

It’s a total privilege to work for the BBC, says journalism alumnus George Freeman who is now based in London and has a successful career as a broadcast journalist and producer.

“Making it to the BBC newsroom was a huge personal achievement for me, and I’m acutely aware of how important the corporation is to the UK and the world. It’s been incredibly thrilling to be a part of the coverage of some of the world’s biggest stories in recent times, including the war in Ukraine, the US election and the Israel-Gaza war. The variety in the work is incredible; you never know what you’re going to be doing when you walk into the office each day.

“I contribute to the daily news output of the BBC’s flagship World News TV channel. That can be anything from booking guests to come on and talk to our presenters, writing scripts, editing video - and more often than not, working incredibly quickly to get breaking news to air. I work closely with the other journalists, producers, editors and presenters to ensure that everything we’re putting to air is accurate, fair and balanced.”

One of his proudest career achievements though took place much closer to home.

“Before moving to London in 2022, I worked for several years at Newshub, which was the single best place to hone your skills as a broadcast news producer in New Zealand. The greatest moment of my career so far was being a part of Newshub’s 2020 election night special, working closely with Paddy Gower and analysing the results as they came through in real time. It was hours and hours of work, but by far the most satisfying night of my professional life so far.”

Finding his passion for broadcasting
George says his time at AUT played a pivotal role in helping him discover a passion for broadcast journalism, which ultimately led to the career he has now.

“I had always been interested in working in the media in some capacity, but didn’t know exactly what that would look like for me. AUT’s communications degree offered an opportunity to try several different areas and industries, before having to narrow my focus in the third and final year. Because the degree lets you try so many things, it also helped me figure out what I definitely did not want to do, which was also important.

“I discovered early on that the journalism lecturers were incredibly passionate about their craft, and that was really appealing to me. They taught me that good journalism really matters, and is essential in a functioning democracy. I also made several life-long friends, many of whom ended up working in broadcast journalism alongside me, and those connections have been very important in my career.”

He also still fondly remembers a few of the guest lecturers who came in to share their expertise with students.

“John Campbell was one of the guest lecturers we had and he spoke inspirationally about his work in journalism. He’s a fantastic example of someone who cares deeply about his craft. The then-station manager of 95bFM, Manu Taylor, also gave a guest lecture, and encouraged people to speak with him if they were interested in trying out student radio. I did, and that led me to working for two years on 95bFM’s current affairs show ‘The Wire’. That was a pivotal experience for me and played a key role in helping me figure out that I wanted to work in broadcasting.”

Advice for other students
George – who graduated from AUT at the end of 2015 – has some great advice for other students.

“You don’t have to know exactly what you want to do as a career before you start your degree at AUT. Use your time there to try and experience different things – even if you aren’t convinced they are for you.”

He certainly knows what he is talking about.

“If you’d told me before I’d started at AUT that I’d be working in journalism, I absolutely wouldn’t have believed you. It’s not something that had ever crossed my mind.”