The Barrier Truth’s illustrious sports journalist, Emily Ferguson, has handed in her zoom lens to study sports media in Melbourne and she explained how a young woman in a mining town became its Australian Football League (AFL) reporter.
Emily grew up watching her father, Tim Ferguson, play football for West.
“I’ve always loved it,” she said.
“It’s just always been there.”
Emily always wanted to play football through Auskick and junior football but there weren’t opportunities for girls at that time.
She competed at interschool high school games but, instead of following in her father’s footsteps, Emily ended up covering the game, rather than playing it.
I didn’t want to tarnish his name,” she joked.
“I’ll just stick to knowing my stuff.”
An opportunity presented itself for Emily to show how much she knew about football when she was a cadet journalist at the then Barrier Daily Truth and the sports journalist left.
“At the back end of 2019, myself and Emily McInerney covered sport,” said Emily.
“It was a lightbulb moment.”
“It clicked – that’s what I wanted to do.”
A career highlight was interviewing Heath Shaw, from the Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Giants and Collingwood, when he came to Broken Hill this year and played for North in a marquee game.
Emily didn’t just report on men’s sports but used her role to cover more local women’s football, netball and soccer.
“Women playing sport need to be more widely recognised,” said Emily.
“I did my best to cover the womens’ milestones because they’re just as important.”
Emily was mentored by another female journalist at the Barrier Truth, Emily McInerney.
“Em McInerney was 100 per cent the best mentor and friend I could have asked for,” said Emily.
“I don’t think I would have realised or be doing what I am now without Emily.”
There are not many women in sports media and notable inspirations for Emily Ferguson are Sarah Jones from Fox Footy and Channel Seven’s Abbey Holmes.
“I met Abbey in Broken Hill earlier this year and she was nice,” said Emily.
Abbey is a boundary rider, which means she sits on the boundary of a football game and interviews the best player of the game for Channel Seven.
“My big dream would be to work for an AFL Club in the media department or AFL in general,” said Emily.
That dream will be a step closer when Emily commences a ‘Diploma of Screen and Media – Sports Media,’ next year, with access to well-known sports commentators, radio and television presenters, journalists and producers.
The course is at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne and Emily is anticipatng a vibrant next phase of her career.
“I am excited to live in Melbourne,” she said.
“I love the city and the atmosphere and, obviously, the football fanatics and I’ll fit right in.”
Emily’s favourite AFL team is the GWS Giants but she grew up as a Hawthorn supporter.
“I won’t want to live in Melbourne and not support a Victorian team so I’ll support the Giants and the Hawks.”
Emily is leaving Broken Hill in mid-January but definitely plans to be back on the red dust for holidays.
“I’ll have to come back and see my family and friends and try and catch a few local football games.”