Christopher Ball: alumni profile
A passion for sport, sheer determination and making the most of every opportunity have driven Alumnus Christopher Ball, as he takes on the hustle and bustle of Sky News and Fox Sports News.
What has been your path since graduating from CCGS in 2016?
I was fortunate enough to get a spot at Wesley College, a residential college at the University of Sydney in 2017, along with a few of my fellow CCGS classmates. I spent my first three years of university there, where I lived with 250+ other students and had an absolute blast, making memories and mates I’ll keep forever. I threw myself at every opportunity I could there, including playing soccer for the university as well as working at pubs in the Newtown and Glebe areas. In my final year of university, I took up an opportunity of working casually at Sky News in their News Exchange whilst simultaneously working at the pub, as well as full-time study, on top of my internship and playing soccer still.
What has led you to the position you hold today at Sky News?
It was a connection I had made through playing soccer, where I got my foot in the door at Sky, in their News Exchange department. This is the very bottom of the newsroom. Initially, it started as a casual position and I was made aware from the get-go that I would only get shifts if people were sick or on leave. I was however lucky and got a lot more chances than I anticipated and took every shift I was offered, throwing my social life on the back burner.
My boss offered me a permanent part-time position during the second COVID-19 lockdown. This role was in the planning and scheduling department with a focus on sport for both Sky News and Fox Sports News. I jumped at this, as it was consistent hours whilst I was out of work at the pub, and I was able to work around my university schedule. Since then, I’ve gone full-time as soon as I finished my studies and have been at Sky for almost two and a half years now.
What has been the most rewarding time for you in your working life so far?
When I was an intern at the online football publication The Football Sack, where I covered the Wellington Phoenix for the 2020/21 season. I was doing what I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a teenager, and I really enjoyed the experience. I was given unbelievable access to the players and staff, including being in the media box during games and being invited into the post-match press conferences.. I also received great direction and help from the staff to develop my skills and now have a portfolio of work to use going forward when applying for jobs.
What is the proudest moment from your post-school life?
Being the first member of my family to graduate from university was a really proud moment for me. Getting through the two COVID-19 lockdowns and the disruptions that occurred with my studies, with learning going online and the changes this had on the university experience made it even more of a challenge. It put the onus even further on me to knuckle down and get through it as it would’ve been easy to slack off. I was also offered by my boss full-time work earlier, which would have me put off my degree or prolong it had I opted to drop back to a part-time load. However, thankfully I opted to just smash it out and finish it as soon as I could.
Recently I participated in The World’s Greatest Shave. I was able to raise over $2500 for the Leukaemia Foundation which holds significance for me as the disease has had an effect on people close to me.
What trait has been most vital in helping you succeed?
I’ve never been short on self-confidence as anyone who knows me would testify to. I think that’s held me in good stead in backing myself, my abilities and the decisions that I make. Also being a sociable person, I’m more than happy to put myself about in social scenes and network. This has allowed me to have many opportunities and has gotten me into my current position and will hopefully continue to do so well into the future.
What inspired you to work in Journalism?
I’ve always been into what’s going on in the world and in the news. Combining that with my passion for sport, I thought it was only logical to try and pursue sports journalism. Watching a lot of sport during my teenage years as well and seeing pundits doing what they do best added to my desire to pursue a similar career. Interviewing sports journalists such as Adam Peacock, Peter FitzSimons and numerous others throughout my studies as well were further catalysts.
Where do you see the next 10 years taking you?
If you’d asked me this question a year ago, I would’ve said something along the lines of being a successful sports journalist who had worked in the UK as a football correspondent. However, honestly now I couldn’t give you a definitive answer. I’m planning on travelling around Europe in July and August, and will have a think over there as to what I want to do workwise when I am back. I am looking for a change though within media, maybe working in sponsorships or doing internal communications at a bank. I’d love to do more travel on top of that or even live overseas for a year or two.
What CCGS experience or achievement most prepared you for where you are today?
I feel like my overseas exchange in Year 10 to Wales really set me up with a lot of skills that allowed me to grow as a person. Living away from home, gaining a level of independence and being able to know that I was able to make my own correct decisions helped me for moving away from the coast when I started university.
What advice would you give to your high school self?
I feel like my answer is a pretty common one, but I think that just reinforces it even more. I wish I had tried just that little bit harder so as to give myself as many options as possible. This would’ve saved me a year of university study and I’d be a year further into my career progression. Additionally, just take every opportunity you can no matter how obscure it may be as it only adds to your experience. A lot of the memories and best experiences I’ve had have come through decisions that were spur-of-the-moment ones.
Anything else you would like to add?
Just a big thank you to the school for giving me the foundations to achieve the success I’ve had thus far and all the opportunities I was provided with. It’s a great institution and I’m lucky that my parents were able to send me there for the entirety of my schooling life.