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Graduations 2024: Why the Sky is the limit for Sunderland journalism graduate

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Published on 10, July, 2024

Sports Journalism graduate Rob Rush in the stands at the Stadium of Light wearing a graduation cap and gown
Sports Journalism graduate Rob Rush at the Stadium of Light

A University of Sunderland journalism graduate has scored a dream job with one of the UK’s biggest television sports news channels.

Rob Rush only graduated with a Sports Journalism degree this week – but he has already landed the role of Production Junior at Sky Sports.

Rob applied for the role just before Christmas last year, then in February was invited to attend an assessment day, which included an hour-long interview. A few weeks later, he received the phone call he had been anxiously waiting for.

 “It still hasn't fully sunk in that I’m working for Sky Sports,” Rob, 21, said.

“It's very much a ‘pinch me cos I must be dreaming’ moment. It's crazy to think that I'm now producing work and being involved in meetings that leads to the content going out on Sky Sports' various channels.

“It's genuinely a dream come true, and I have a feeling of vindication that taking so many risks have now paid off and I'm so excited for the future.”

Sport has been a lifelong passion for Rob, but it was during his teenage years that passion evolved into a keen interest in sports coverage, and he decided to try his hand at writing blogs and creating and appearing in podcasts.

After finishing college and exploring all his options, Rob set his sights on the University of Sunderland. He wanted to study a degree which would lead to a career in the industry as quickly as possible and he felt that Sunderland was “the best fit”.

During his studies, Rob grabbed every opportunity to hone his skills as a sports journalist with both hands.

He had multiple placements at talkSPORT as well as working as a Social Media Assistant and Livestream Lead Commentator for Durham County Cricket Club, where he interviewed international cricketers such as Matthew Potts and David Bedingham.

Rob, from Hampshire, said: “My studies at Sunderland have been great fun, but with challenges along the way. It really tested me to think outside the box at times, step out my comfort zone and do things I never would've normally done.

“I wouldn't change it for anything and I've no doubt it's put me in a great position for the next step in my life and for a career in journalism.”

Sports Journalism graduate Rob Rush in the stands at the Stadium of Light wearing a graduation cap and gown

Neil Farrington, Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer in Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland, said: "We're delighted – but not surprised – to see Rob land the job he has so soon. He has listened to advice, taken all the opportunities offered to him – both inside and outside the classroom – and worked very hard to realise the potential he showed from day one of his degree programme, when his passion for and – crucially – knowledge of a wide range of sports were immediately obvious.

"We know Rob will similarly grasp his chance at Sky Sports with both hands and provide inspiration for our current and future students."

Rob is one of thousands of students taking to the stage at the Stadium of Light this week (Monday 8 July – Friday 12 July) for the University of Sunderland Summer Graduation Ceremonies.

“It feels amazing to be graduating,” Rob said.

“It feels like time has been an illusion at points. I still remember Freshers' Week clear as day and now I'm leaving university.  

“I've created friends for life, moments I'll never forget and ultimately without coming to Sunderland and leaning on my lecturers for help I wouldn’t have got the job at Sky, so a massive thank you to everyone who helped me during my time at the University, I'll forever be grateful.”

As Rob embarks on his new chapter at the Sky Studios (also known as Sky Campus) in London, what advice would he give to someone thinking of pursuing a career in journalism? 

“I would highly recommend studying at Sunderland because you'll be encouraged to chase your dreams,” he said.

“The lecturers have great contacts that are in the industry so even in your first year you're already within touching distance of professional journalists and the industry itself. There are amazing opportunities that crop up all the time to gain valuable experience and test yourself, and ultimately the University allows you to be yourself and pushes you to be the best version of yourself. It's a no-brainer.”

Rob added: “Don't be afraid to try new things, ask for help or do something different while at university. You'll be backed all the way and the more you do, the more you'll stand out to prospective employers.

“Dive headfirst into anything that takes your fancy, and most of all, enjoy it.”