Since leaving Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School in 2016, past student Jackson Barrett has combined his passion for sport and journalism with his tenacity.
His dedication to sport and his career was recently recognised with the 2020 WA Country Football League media award for his reporting on Western Australian Football.
Jackson explained his niche in sports journalism with modesty.
“My passion for sports journalism is a nice combination between my obsessive passion for sport and sports media and what I like to think are decent enough writing and broadcasting skills,” Jackson said.
“In a way, sport is its own little world in that in the grand scheme of things none of it really matters – but people who consume it want stories that stem from it, I definitely fit into that boat and I am keen to tell those sorts of stories,” he added.
His interest in sports journalism began early on in childhood and while at Bunbury Grammar as a student, he was fortunate to gain experience in the field with voluntary work at the ABC and Triple M.
Jackson’s passion and resolve continued and during his university studies, he started a sports podcast with two school friends: this provided a platform to produce regular content and express his opinions in a public forum.
In his last year studying a double major in Journalism and Sports Science at Murdoch University, Jackson began an internship with an Eastern States football website, covering Perth Glory A-League and W-League teams.
This trajectory as a committed journalist with a passion for sport has been rewarded with a variety of job opportunities.
From the internship, Jackson secured a position as a features writer at The South Western Times and moved into a commentating role for The West Australian.
Jackson now works as a news reporter for The South Western Times and in this role, has seen the highs and lows of our world.
“I was lucky enough to have a front page story in The Sunday Times, about the little boy that went missing in Yallingup. I was preparing all day at the scene for it to be a pretty dark story, but it ended up being an amazing story,” he said.
When considering the highlights of his career, Jackson recalled the intimate experience of commentating the grand final in his home town, Bunbury.
“Calling a league footy grand final in my home town and having it broadcast around the State was huge. The opportunity to call the footy throughout the season was unexpected and took lots of preparation and hard work but was a huge thrill and an awesome experience,” he said.
“We could not have asked for a better game to feature our league either, with a kick after the siren deciding the premiers. It is always tricky to do justice to a moment like that but I thought I gave it a fair crack,” he concluded.
In a turbulent year for Australian journalists, Jackson recognised his good fortune.
“I started at the newspaper at the end of March 2020, just as things were starting to shut down for the pandemic. Really I was pretty lucky, but it was a tricky time to start a new role and I was away from my family for a couple of months,” he said.
What appears to be Jackson’s ‘good luck’ might simply be hard work, driven by his dedication and passion for his job.
“I am passionate about sport and writing and all the research and preparation might be a bit of a slog, if I did not love what I was doing,” he said.
Looking forward, he dreams of reporting for the Olympics or to be ‘in the chair’ for a Boxing Day Test match.
For now, he is content to report on interesting stories and tell them in engaging ways with the aim of moving into a full time sports role, interstate or overseas.
In more ways than one, the media has faced a barrage of recent challenges but Jackson holds onto society’s intrinsic need for journalists.
“Journalism is vital to any democracy: Good journalism holds governments and other authorities to account and informs the voting public. There is definitely still a role in Australia for journalism to inform and entertain regardless of how we consume it changes,” he summarised.