Medowie’s Jarrod Sansom has earned himself this year’s JB Fairfax Award.
The award aims to give young journalists an opportunity to grow their portfolio and tell stories from regional Australia.
Mr Sansom said he was “shocked, excited and humbled” when he received the news he was the 2019 recipient.
“I know what a big deal it is, I had to let it sink in,” he said.
“I knew I had put in the hard work and I did the best I could, but you never really think it’s going to happen.
“I want to make the most of it, I realise this is my shot and it’s time for me to switch on and see what I can make of it.”
The award, which is considered the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Foundation’s most prestigious, was established by John B Fairfax AO in 2008.
As this year’s winner, Jarrod will receive $10,000 and intern with the Sydney Royal Easter Show media team, The Land newspaper and ABC’s Landline program.
“An opportunity like this has never come along to go and do work experience with three amazing and different platforms,” Mr Sansom said.
“I hope to throw myself into every opportunity and maybe narrow down exactly what I might be interested in doing after university.
“It’s such a big scholarship and great places I’m going to, if I can do well this could very well be the start of my career.”
Jarrod is originally from Williamtown, which is one of the many sites around the nation contaminated by Per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). In 2018, Jarrod won ABC’s Heywire competition and attended a summit in Canberra to speak on behalf of those suffering from PFAS contamination.
“Once I arrived at the summit, I quickly realised there are endless stories to be told in rural Australia,” he said.
The University of Newcastle honours student hopes to use his career to highlight the achievement of those in the bush, as well as shed light on issues affecting regional Australia.
“A lot of issues in the city, everything from domestic violence to income and health inequality, are also prevalent in rural, regional and remote Australia,” he said.
“I want to give voice to some quieter places and say these things need to be made a priority.”