Dermott Chatwin’s professional career began at one of Australia’s largest infrastructure asset management firms, although he jokingly admits that he had “no idea what the company did” when he started.
As a first year Law/Journalism university student, the opportunity came through Career Trackers, a purpose-driven organisation that links pre-professional Indigenous students with employers for multi-year, paid internships.
Despite his lack of experience, it wasn’t long until he was handling his own processes and pioneering new ways of working to make vendor onboarding more efficient.
“I’m not going to say ‘no’ to an opportunity”, Dermott says, reflecting on how he went from new starter to handling multimillion dollar contracts.
It was this trademark sense of open-mindedness and optimism that took Dermott from his hometown on the Sunshine Coast to our Fox Sports HQ in Artarmon, Sydney, for his next exciting career chapter.
Through Foxtel Group’s partnership with Career Trackers, Dermott finished up onboarding infrastructure vendors at his previous organisation and began a four-week placement in our renowned editorial team, a position he described as “a dream opportunity”.
True to form, when faced with the logistical hurdle of relocating interstate, Dermott and his partner simply decided “let’s just move to Sydney.” So less than 24 hours after finishing his final exam for the semester, Dermott had lined up accommodation at nearby Macquarie University, boarded an early morning flight and found his way to the Fox Sports studios.
He says the experience of landing at the airport and rushing straight to his first day on the job was “pretty surreal”, but this fast-paced initiation acclimatised him well to the Fox Sports newsroom.
Within two days of arriving Dermott had his first story live on foxsports.com.au, a feat which he says surprised his family back home. As self-described “St. Kilda and Melbourne Storm tragics”, they followed his work closely, impressed with just how many stories he was able to write in his first few weeks.
His biggest takeaway from jumping in feet first was understanding how quickly breaking stories come together. “Like university assignments, but with less time,” he says. Thankfully, Dermott has had plenty of mentoring from his expert colleagues.
He credits Fox Sports Editor Brenton Cherry, Managing Editor Liam Fitzgibbon and Digital Reporter Andrew Jackson among others with helping him to process information “super quickly”, figuring out what’s important and what the most interesting points are to get across to readers.
“Thinking quickly on your feet,” is one of the most important elements to success for a sports journo, he says.
This proved to be true when Dermott’s tightly scheduled 15-minute interview with UFC fighter Josh Emmett was disrupted by technical issues, which he had to quickly overcome for his written profile ahead of this year’s UFC 284 blockbuster event in Perth.
Getting to chat to all kinds of elite athletes is just one of the perks of working at Fox Sports, and one that Dermott has enjoyed immensely. When asked if his Fox Sports experience has inspired any further career ambitions, he tentatively cites Bruce McAvaney’s career as a reference point. “I just love everything that he’s been able to do. Horse racing, AFL, the Olympics, so many different sports. Unbelievable opportunities.”
After his initial four-week stint, Dermott was invited back to complete another 12 weeks behind the desk. Off the back of his hard work and success, he has most recently joined the statistics team, where he feels right at home analysing sports plays, searching for the detailed nuances others might miss.
“Every try is not equal” he says of the new skills he’s learning as a Logging Statistician under the guidance of Live Production Lead Tom Hudson. He goes on to explain the role that stats play in high end sports production and the improved customer experience quality stats provide for viewers of Kayo minis, Fox Footy match recaps and news reels.
Looking back on his journey from onboarding infrastructure vendors in a different state to now “being paid to watch sports for a living” in Australia’s busiest sports newsroom, Dermott once again lets his optimism lead the way.
“Just give it a go. You don’t want to knock something back because you don’t know where it’s going to lead,” he says.
Exactly where his career takes him is yet to be seen, but with six sports and entertainment brands and multiple campuses across Australia, there are endless opportunities for Dermott and his positive attitude at the Foxtel Group.