Careers in Sport and Recreation

Careers in Sport and Recreation


Hi, I’m Digby Beacham, I’m the chief sports reporter for
The West Australian newspaper in Perth. I was fortunate
in getting into my career. I got a cadetship,
I’d only done two weeks of year 12 and I think I was probably
one of the last to get an opportunity to go straight from school,
effectively bypassing university, and got a cadetship, so I was actually working
well before my 17th birthday. I just grew up playing sport
and loving sport, watching sport, listening to sport, thinking I was a commentator on sport
as a kid, so once I got an opportunity
to do sport, it was good. Like, when I got my initial job it was just as a cadet reporter, naturally, I gravitated towards sport. My first sports editor
at the Bunbury Mail is my sports editor
at The West Australian, so it’s a 20-year friendship. I’ve worked away from him for a while, but when he came with the offer
to work for him again, it was something I jumped at. I’ve been at The West Australian now
for near three years. I have been working since I was… ..I was 16 when I started as a cadet. It’s been the best part of 20 years
I’ve been covering sport, so it’s been a pretty full-on gig. There’s a number of sports reporters
at The West. We probably have six or seven or eight
here that cover football, AFL, and, therefore, one of them doubles up
as a cricket reporter, and then we’re getting into, obviously
basketball’s big in Western Australia, the soccer, Perth Glory are big here, and we’re in the process
of getting another person who’ll cover the Western Force
full-time. So we like to think we’re across
all sports. Obviously we’ve got a racing team,
as well, which not only looks after
what you see in The West Australian but also TAB form, which is a pretty big
Racing, Pacing and Chasing publication that comes out three, four times a week. So your working conditions
for the bulk of winter – and I say that because of football –
are pretty full-on, but then again, you have a bit of a good
extended break over summer. The glass isn’t always half full.
There’s occasions when it’s half empty. There are occasions you’re going to
upset people and there’s confrontations. I’m not talking physical confrontations,
I’m talking verbal disagreements, and therefore you get told this and that
and “you’re not welcome” or “if you come back here,
we’re not going to speak to you”. That’s going to happen. In time, that passes and the like,
but it’s not all glamour. There are occasions where you’re going
to upset some people along the way and you’re going to pick up your phone
and there’s an angry message on it. But that happens, that subsides,
but the pros far outweigh the cons. A weekday can start at 6:30, 7:00, if there’s a breakfast
or something that needs to be done, and sometimes you’re working until 8:00,
9:00, 9:30, 10 o’clock at night. But in saying that, you get days owing and you sometimes have,
if there’s nothing going, your boss will say, “Go home.
You’ve done your work for the week” which is very enjoyable
and much appreciated. The balance between your personal life
and work is important. I think if you’re a slave to your work,
it affects your personal life. we all like to have a good time
and catch up with family and friends, and you have to get that balance because if you don’t devote enough time
away from work, your work suffers because you become a little bit surly
and a bit upset with your environment. So it’s important to get that balance,
and I think, in time, that you do get that balance,
you might go one way or the other but it’s important to get that balance. Do I enjoy my job? I love it. Certainly there’s days where we all get
a little bit grumpy with the world but, invariably, it’s a great job,
you meet a lot of people, it opens a lot of doors
and you get to see a lot of events and meet a lot of people
that you wouldn’t have met otherwise. Where can the job take you? Well, it depends how far
and how ambitious you really are and how far you want it to take you. You know, you can work here and you can
work interstate, you can work overseas. One thing journalism does do is,
it opens up a lot of doors and you’ll find a lot of people
from Perth and Country WA are now working overseas
or, you know, have worked overseas and have come back and worked in
Melbourne, Sydney or come back to Perth. We have people at The West Australian
who worked on Fleet Street in London and have been exposed to big events
and big newspapers and big media corporations and, therefore, have brought that talent
back to Perth. Therefore, the beneficiaries of that
are us that are working with them. So it’s a great opportunity,
it opens a lot of doors. For young people
wanting to get into the career, make sure it’s what
you really want to do. There’s no use doing two or three years
of uni, or doing two or three years on the job
and then realising “This isn’t for me”. You really have to know and be sure
that this is the path you want to take. If you do want to take that path,
it’s an outstanding job and it’s an outstanding opportunity, you’ll meet a lot of good people
and it’s a big industry. I’ve been very fortunate.
It’s taken me to some great events and I still love it now
as much as I did when I was 16, 17.

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