Alessandra Bocchi (International Politics, 2014) was born and raised in Italy. After graduation from King’s, she took her master’s degree at University College London. She is a journalist and has worked in North Africa, Hong Kong and across Europe, reporting on a range of issues including terrorist attacks, the migrant crisis and populist uprisings in Europe. She has also covered foreign policy issues in the United States.

This summer The Fund for American Studies (TFAS), in conjunction with the Wall Street Journal, announced Alessandra as the winner of the 2020 Joseph Rago Memorial Fellowship for Excellence in Journalism. The Fellowship is a highly prized award given in memory of Joseph Rago, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American political writer, best known for his work at the Wall Street Journal.

What’s your favourite piece of music?

My favourite music is by the Italian composer Ennio Morricone. I came to have a new appreciation for his work after his death.   I think about a specific piece, which inspires and gives me motivation: ‘Rabbia E Tarantella’. I like to listen to active music, especially before I need to complete something that I believe to be important.

 Treasured childhood memory?

My treasured childhood memory dates back to when I was 13 years old, when I had just become a horse-riding champion in Italy. My memories of horse-riding are my most cherished ones. They have formed my character in terms of teaching me the values of humility and dedication in learning a discipline, study or profession. I have brought these values to every area of my life. I like to assume I don’t know anything about an issue before I start, and the more I overestimate it the better I end up doing when it comes to performance. I’m one of those people who does better under pressure, and I find that this has helped me manage difficult situations. At the same time, in situations often regarded as easy I tend to underperform. Horse-riding has taught me to try to take every situation I care about seriously.

Best advice you have received?

The best advice I received, from a writing and professional perspective, was from my professor in political philosophy. I was concerned at the time that the presentation slides for our classes were ‘too simple’. He answered: ‘Alessandra, it’s easy to make something simple sound complicated; it’s much harder to make something complicated sound simple.’ That has been my motto in my journalistic work: conveying complex issues and news for everyone to understand. Ultimately, I try to ask myself when I finish my work: would someone who knows nothing about this issue be able to understand it now?

Biggest achievement?

My biggest achievement to date is receiving the Joseph Rago Fellowship. I read Joseph Rago’s editorials, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize, and I encourage anyone to do the same. Whatever your views on the issue may be, his attention to detail and his rhetorical style of writing are impressive. Furthermore, even if you find yourself in disagreement, I find the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial page to be outstanding in terms of the quality of its writing and argument.

Standout memory of King’s?

My standout memory of King’s is studying at the Maughan library in the Round Room, which I find particularly mesmerising because of its older style and structure. I spent days and weeks in the Round Room writing essays or before exams. I would take lunch and coffee breaks in the dining room downstairs or the park outside with my friends, where we would comfort and try to help each other.