‘Every bit of experience counts’: taking the long way around to a dream job

Roy Ward September 6, 2016, Facebook
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Roy Ward started out planning to be a teacher, but then he found a way to get closer to his dream of being a journalist. He talks to Alexander Nimmo

“As long as I’ve got my phone and my computer and a decent signal, I should be able to get anything done. That’s the mindset I’ve kept throughout all this – you’ve just got to keep working and keep finding a way to get things done and make things happen.”

Age sports reporter Roy Ward says it’s important to take every opportunity to build experience and become a better reporter.

How did you get into journalism?

“Well, I always wanted to be a journalist, but I wasn’t smart enough to get into the courses. Back when I was in year 12 at Melbourne, there was only two courses, and they both required a high level VCE score. And so I went and did an Arts degree, I was going to be a teacher. And then I found out about a degree in Canberra called Bachelor of Sports Media. And I managed to qualify for that. So I moved to Canberra did that course and began my career from there.”

How did you pursue an area or areas of specialisation?

“So as a student, I got a lot of great work experience with Canberra Times, and some and covered some Southeast Australian Basketball League for them. And junior sport as well. And then my first full time job was with the Wimmera Mail Times in Horsham. And then I was at the Dandenong Journal. And through that work, and some good luck, I managed to get in contact with The Age and offered to be the basketball reporter for them. That was in 2010. And I’ve been doing that ever since and grown my duties to do a whole bunch of things for them now.”

Are you reporting on anything else?

“I was doing solely sport for The Age. I was covering the Melbourne Storm and Melbourne Rebels during the winter, and then the NBL and WNBL during the summer. But in recent times because of COVID I’ve actually started work on the live blog we have for COVID where we are sharing the different news and developments throughout the day.”

‘Every bit of experience counts’: taking the long way around to a dream job
Roy Ward has loved a wide range of sports reporting. Picture: Facebook

Do you have any highlights or memorable stories you’ve worked on?

“I’ve really enjoyed covering different premiership and championship teams from WNBL sides like the Melbourne Boomers, and the Dandenong Rangers. To also watch the Australian Boomers winning bronze recently, those sorts of things, you always take joy in that. I take a lot of joy in watching people achieve really great things. So seeing the growth of the Australians in the NBA in recent times has been wonderful.”

Have you faced any challenges in your career?

“The hardest time would have been when I was made redundant from the local Fairfax Community newspapers. I think that was 2013 or early 2014. That was difficult because you work so hard and you think you gave your all to a job. And you just got to learn a lesson that doesn’t particularly matter when the dollars aren’t adding up, they’re going to make cuts, and there’s a list and you’re either above the red line or below it.”

Do you have any advice for someone trying to break into the industry?

“Get as much experience as you can is always the thing. Get as much and as great a variety of experiences you can even if it’s doing work at a sporting club or work at a community organisation. Every bit of experience counts, every bit of published work makes you a better writer, work on your writing, read a lot. And also, just take all the opportunities that you can say yes, a lot.”