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Community & Business

20 May, 2023

Gilgandra PROBUS Club News - May 2, 2023

By Gilgandra PROBUS Club

By Supplied

President Pat Thompson welcomed members to the April meeting where details of a number of possible excursions were presented by travel coordinator, Denise Quealy. Morning tea was then enjoyed, followed by guest speaker coordinator, Phillip Yeo, introducing a further excellent speaker, Jen McCutcheon, currently a journalist with ABC in Dubbo.

Condensing Mrs McCutcheon’s inspirational story in a short article is not easy. However as she mentioned, anyone can achieve their dreams by working hard and enjoying life along the way and now with a career, married to a local farmer, becoming a mother to her young daughter, and also looking forward to welcoming a second baby, she wouldn’t have her life any other way.

Early life commenced with a young Mrs McCutcheon attending school in Bathurst, where her father was a teacher. She enjoyed public speaking, debating, and swimming back then, and the first two of these have seen her achieve so much in her career as a news reporter and sports reporter in both Canberra and Sydney.

While in year 10 she was one of the dancers accompanying Christine Anu in the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, what an amazing experience. This was only to be exceeded in future years. Between school and university Mrs McCutcheon’s father was awarded a Churchill Fellowship, so that meant the family spent six months in Wales, where she undertook work experience at BBC Wales and in London.

The family also spent time in America, where Mrs McCutcheon was in New York when Kurt Fearnley won the New York City Marathon title in 2009. She decided to pursue a communications course in sports journalism and undertook a double degree at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Bathurst, while many of her friends opted to study at Sydney universities. CSU was a great place to study and receive hands-on learning.

A lecturer, at that time, predicted that all news would eventually be communicated on mobile phones, how right he was, way back in 2004. A few CSU graduates prior to Mrs McCutcheon, were Andrew Denton, Samantha Armytage and Melissa Doyle – so she is in good company. Sports journalism was not a popular choice as a career, with few good positions being available however, Mrs McCutcheon wrote articles for local newspapers, volunteered at community radio stations also undertook work experience at other local stations.

She applied for a cadetship with ABC television and with only seven positions available, worked her way through a number of interviews and was selected for one of these positions from more than 1000 applicants. Following this she spent three years in Canberra working in in news and sport and then moved to Sydney as a sports reporter where she spent seven years.

She has attended and reported on all the top sporting events such as the Bathurst 1000 and Eastern Creek V8s, horse racing, Yankees baseball, US Open, Australian Open, Daily M Awards and was on the Sydney desk for the London Olympic Games. During this time she interviewed people such as Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, Novak Djokovic, many of the top rugby league stars and even ‘Winx’. It was a busy and glamorous life style, however one of the saddest parts for Mrs McCutcheon was reporting on the death of cricketer Phillip Hughes.

During COVID, metropolitan stations relied on regional journalists for much of their information and with the many digital platforms now available news stories can be produced in the bush by ABC regional reporters. One of the many local stories filed by Mrs McCutcheon was of Hermidale school, which many of us saw on Landline.

Member Shirley Mudford was particularly interested in this, as at one time four of her great-grandchildren attended this school, with one remaining there today. Member Margaret Schier thanked Mrs McCutcheon for her wonderful talk and presented her with a certificate of appreciation from PROBUS Club.

Mrs Schier mentioned that, like Mrs McCutcheon, she came to a farm in Gilgandra shire many years ago as a new wife, then mother, and could relate to the many challenges that have faced Mrs McCutcheon since her arrival – droughts, mouse plague, and floods.


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