Justin Jones (2012) has been watching college and professional sports as long as he could remember.
“I’m a sports junkie,” Jones said. “I grew up watching University of North Carolina games and knew that I wanted to be close to sports.”
Being a journalist, Jones had many chances to become acquainted with a famous face or, in this particular case, a familiar voice. Jones’ involvement with the media has given him an opportunity to interview Woody Durham, who was the play-by-play announcer for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“For me, that was a huge honor because I’ve listened to him call Carolina games since I was in diapers,” Jones said. “He’s had relationships with people that I’ve looked up to, and with players and coaches that I’ve spent way too many hours watching on TV.”
Though Jones now writes about politics and human-interest stories for the Stanly News and Press, it was his love for sports and the sports media that lead him to pursue a career in broadcast journalism at Liberty University.
“I was overwhelmed by the school in my freshman year, but I tried to do well in my classes and I was willing to give new things a try,” Jones said.
Though Jones was part of the broadcast specialization of journalism, he also wrote for the news section at the Liberty Champion.
“I felt like a small fish thrown out to a big lake, and I didn’t even know how to write yet,” Jones said. “But it was a good experience and it helped me find a job. I wish I had done more with the Champion.”
After graduating from Liberty University in May 2012 and finishing a short freelancing stint with The News and Advance, Jones was recruited by the Stanly News and Press. Since joining the SNAP, Jones said that his writing has taken a new direction.
“When I was writing for the Champion, I just wanted to not make mistakes and wrote to just get the assignment done,” Jones said. “Once I started working at the SNAP, I started to try to write things in a different way. I write about the people at an event along with the actual event.”
One particular human interest article Jones wrote was about an 89-year-old man who still chopped his own firewood to prepare for the winter.
“He does not have any air conditioning at all except the windows and fire,” Jones said. “The cool thing about this man was that he does all his farm work using horses. Mowing, planting, the whole thing he does with horses.”
Jones said that he enjoys meeting friendly faces when he is out at the many events around Stanly County.
“I talk to the parents, the kids,” Jones said. “I try to talk to the people and what they’re learning from being at the event.”
Apart from his journalism career, Jones is a husband and a photographer whenever the occasion calls for it.
“My wife started a small photography business, and on Aug. 4. we shot our first wedding together,” Jones said.
Jones also mentioned that he and his wife enjoy traveling and that they hope to explore Europe before they have their first child.