TO THEIR ROOTS: These two former locals will be heading back to their old stomping grounds for the Words Out West Festival.
TO THEIR ROOTS: These two former locals will be heading back to their old stomping grounds for the Words Out West Festival.

How these local journalists made it big

FROM humble beginnings in their home towns to hitting the big leagues, Harry Clarke and Sophie Volker are at the top of their fields for storytelling.

The duo will, this weekend, be making their way back to Dalby for the Words out West Festival where they’ll shed some light on their flourishing careers, and how they made it to the top.

Mr Clarke got his start in his home ground of Chinchilla working for the local paper the Chinchilla News, where he finessed his skills in writing, interviewing, and laid the foundations for his career.

Since finishing up at the Chinchilla News, Mr Clarke has had stints with the Courier Mail, and the Cairns Post before moving away from the world of print and online and into broadcast media.

After producing for A Current Affair, he took up his current role with the Nine Network as a daily reporter for the Today show.

This weekend, the roles will be reversed as Mr Clarke takes to the mic to answer the questions about his illustrious career at the Words out West Festival.

“We got invited to talk about our background in media and how we came to work in the positions that we are and what inspired us to get into writing and journalism,” he said.

“And how that’s assisted us in developing our careers.”

Mr Clarke said he was excited to return back to his old stomping ground, ready to embrace the nostalgia as he revisits the stories and places that helped kickstart what has been a successful career so far.

“I can’t wait, I’m looking forward to coming back to the region and sharing the highlights and what I enjoyed about my time as a journo on the Western Downs,” he said.

“It was a really memorable and fulfilling way to stat my career and especially at the peak of the gas boom when there was a lot of activity, change, development and progress in the region.”

While he’s broken away from the country lifestyle and stepped in the bigger cities, Mr Clarke told News he was grateful for his humble beginnings at a small regional paper.

“It taught me the fundamentals of reporting for a community,”

“A lot of the skills that I learnt then I’m using today just on a different medium, being television and a different audience being the wider Queensland audience as opposed to a rural community.”

Dalby girl Sophie Volker knows first-hand the issues and challenges of living in a rural community, and its this passion that has inspired her many diverse career moves.

After spending some time working at the Dalby Herald and the ABC in Toowoomba, Miss Volker made the move out to Victoria where she got her start in radio.

Miss Volker now works as a producer for ABC National, specifically producing for Drive and The Drawing Room.

The two journalists along with Lydia Burton from the ABC will be presenting over two days at Words out West this weekend.

Where to see Harry Clarke and Sophie Volker:

In Conversation: Country kids made good – Friday, 2-3pm

In Conversation: Young Writers Making Their Mark – Saturday, 11.15am – 12pm


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