Leeds alumnus discusses his experiences working as a video journalist in China

On 8 December 2021 attendees from Leeds and further afield gathered online to hear Martin Pollard discuss his career. Sharing images and video clips to bring his stories to life, Martin took the audience back to key moments he has captured in his work as a video journalist in China.

This included footage from the early stages of the Covid pandemic, including the heartbreaking sight of a woman pleading with officials to let her young daughter past the barricade to get treatment for leukemia just over the border in the next province. Read the story on the Reuters website.

Martin was awarded the Reuters Video Journalist of the Year Award in 2020 for his coverage of the pandemic.

While he spoke candidly about some of the difficulties and risks he faces as a journalist in China, Martin was also keen to demonstrate the more enjoyable and bizarre aspects of his work. Attendees winced and joked with each other in the chat when watching a clip about ‘iron crotch’ kung fu.

Attendees interested in working in China or going into journalism were able to get a glimpse behind the scenes of Martin’s working life and pick up inspiration from the path he took into this career. Martin’s first steps into media work came in his role making documentaries for CCTV, which you can learn more about from this showreel covering his work at that time.

Throughout the talk Martin referenced his Chinese language skills and cultural knowledge, which have helped him get a foot in the door (at CCTV) and facilitated his work identifying and reporting on stories (for Reuters).

He also reflected fondly on his time at the University of Leeds, where he studied History and French. Beginning his talk with the Latin quote from the University crest, “creating knowledge and opportunity”, Martin explained that this was true for his time at University and that he has continued to grasp interesting opportunities ever since.

This candid and engaging presentation was very well received by the diverse audience including people of all ages interested in China, journalism, University of Leeds alumni stories or all of the above!

Explore further

Visit our blog to read five key takeaways from the lecture for Mandarin learners and aspiring journalists.

Martin’s work

Watch Martin’s showreel to see clips of work he has done for Reuters between 2018-2020.

Explore a selection of the videos Martin has produced, filmed and edited since the start of the pandemic: