News re­porter Joy Reid and her fam­ily’s dream as­sign­ment

New Zealand Woman’s Weekly - - THIS WEEK IN... - Donna Flem­ing

It’s not very of­ten that TV re­porter Joy Reid is at a loss for words. But find­ing out she had landed the cov­eted job as TVNZ’s Europe correspondent was one of those rare oc­ca­sions when she strug­gled to ex­press her­self.

“I was ab­so­lutely dumb­struck,” says Joy re­call­ing the phone call from her boss telling her the po­si­tion was hers. “I’d love to say that I said some­thing re­ally pro­fes­sional and pro­found when he told me, but all I could think of was, ‘Wow! Wow! Wow!’”

Be­ing a for­eign correspondent is some­thing Joy (32) has wanted to do since she be­came a jour­nal­ist 13 years ago. “When you’re based in Lon­don and cov­er­ing sto­ries through­out Europe, you’re go­ing to be re­port­ing on events that will have world­wide sig­nif­i­cance and will of­ten be his­to­ry­mak­ing. It is the sort of stuff jour­nal­ists thrive on and I am so ex­cited to be do­ing this.

I still can’t quite be­lieve it!”

The mum-of-two, who was based in Christchurch be­fore mov­ing with her fam­ily to the UK at the end of Septem­ber, knew that if she got the job, it would mean big changes for her fam­ily. Thank­fully, her hus­band Geoffrey (33) has been fully sup­port­ive. A pub­lic ser­vant, he has taken leave from his job and will be a full-time dad to Jonathan (4) and 18-month-old Stella for the two years they’ll be based in the UK.

“I couldn’t do this if it wasn’t for him,” says Joy. “It means I can just head off to wher­ever I need to be, de­pend­ing on what sto­ries hap­pen.”

She talked to pre­vi­ous Europe correspondent

Garth Bray and cur­rent US correspondent Re­becca Wright, who both have chil­dren, about how they man­aged. Both were very en­cour­ag­ing.

“Garth said if you have one par­ent at home, it is def­i­nitely pos­si­ble. Re­becca said if you can jug­gle moth­er­hood and work in New Zealand, you can do it in the UK. Ev­ery­body says be­ing an over­seas correspondent is the most full-on gig they have ever done, but also the most ad­ven­tur­ous time of their life. They have never, ever re­gret­ted it.”

She adds, “I wanted my kids, es­pe­cially my daugh­ter, to know that you can fol­low your dreams at any stage of your life. You don’t have to do it be­fore you have kids or while you are younger. And moth­er­hood doesn’t have to stop you from pur­su­ing your dreams.”

In the few weeks Joy has been based in Lon­don, she has al­ready hit the ground run­ning, trav­el­ling to Bel­gium to cover the mov­ing events com­mem­o­rat­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele, in which New Zealand suf­fered huge losses of life. Prince Wil­liam was the guest of hon­our and Joy is look­ing for­ward to do­ing more sto­ries in­volv­ing roy­als.

“I’d love to in­ter­view Prince Harry. There could be a royal wed­ding and there will be a royal baby next year, so I am look­ing for­ward to those. I’m also ex­cited about go­ing to Gal­lipoli for An­zac Day – that is go­ing to be a high­light.”

Joy knows there is a strong pos­si­bil­ity she’ll to have to report on some tragic sit­u­a­tions, such as ter­ror at­tacks.

“I don’t know if there is ever any­thing you can do to fully pre­pare your­self for some of the things you are likely to come into con­tact with,” she ad­mits. “But go­ing through the Christchurch earth­quake, and re­port­ing on that for years af­ter­wards, taught me pow­er­ful lessons about how to de­brief and deal with things that are trou­bling me.

“With some of the stuff we are likely to come across, there has to be a level of put­ting feel­ings aside be­cause oth­er­wise you would cry ev­ery night, but you also have to recog­nise that you are only hu­man.”

It’s ex­cit­ing be­ing in Lon­don – al­though Joy lived in Ger­many for a year as an ex­change stu­dent, she had only spent three days in the UK be­fore now. One thing she’s miss­ing about New Zealand, other than fam­ily and friends, is work­ing for the char­ity she co-founded a year ago. She and a friend set up One Mother To An­other, which sup­plies gift bags to moth­ers of chil­dren who are in hos­pi­tal.

“I had a trau­matic birth with Jonathan. He wasn’t breath­ing when he was born, so he went straight to NICU and needed a lot of help. He’s made a full re­cov­ery and is amaz­ing, but I re­mem­ber how afraid and vul­ner­a­ble I felt in those first days. We wanted to do some­thing for mums in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions and things are re­ally tak­ing off – we sup­ply 130 bags a month at the mo­ment in Christchurch.

“I’m do­ing as much as I can from here, but ob­vi­ously

I can’t be as hands-on as I was.”

Joy says get­ting used to the late nights and early starts she has now be­cause of the time dif­fer­ence isn’t a prob­lem. “I’ve got young chil­dren –

I’m quite pre­pared for sleep de­pri­va­tion. I have been train­ing for it for four years!”

‘Moth­er­hood doesn’t have to stop you from pur­su­ing your dreams’

Joy, her hus­band Geoffrey and their two chil­dren, Jonathan and Stella, be­fore mov­ing to Lon­don in Septem­ber.

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