After 16 games across a five-year career with the Collingwood Football Club and the Brisbane Lions, Jackson Paine was delisted at the end of 2016. Since transitioning out of the AFL system, Paine has joined the Hawthorn Football Club as the Social Media and Editorial Coordinator after completing a Bachelor of Journalism at Griffith University.
Was your idea always to have a career in journalism post-football?
I started studying journalism when I moved up to the Lions. It was always a passion of mine growing up and throughout school, because I always enjoyed writing. The idea of getting into AFL journalism complemented my two passions and it’s worked out well.
Where do you want your journalism career to take you?
I think clubland is what I prefer. The idea of working alongside a group of people that all have a common interest is the thing that appeals to me. I think that’s definitely the area I want to keep progressing through.
How did you land your current role at the Hawks?
I was lucky enough to befriend a few of the media people up in Brisbane, one of which is Clare Pettyfor who moved back to Hawthorn a couple of years ago. I kept in contact with her and so I was able to have that link with the Hawks and after I got delisted it worked perfectly as an opportunity for me.
Do you have a media mentor or someone you look up to in the industry?
I wouldn’t say I have an individual mentor or someone that I look up to. Working at a club is very different in this day and age. With individual journalists a lot of them get glorified with an almost celebrity-like status which isn’t something that appeals to me. There isn’t a journalist that I look up to, I would prefer to be someone behind the scenes. I’ve got a good group at Hawthorn that I just really enjoy working with.
At what point in your career did you start thinking about your life post-football?
To be honest, I feel like I was always pretty realistic about the inevitability of my football career and I always thought that the end of my career was imminent at any stage, especially after you start to get delisted and re-rookied you know that you’re not going to have that 10-year career. You do have to keep one eye on what life would look like if you did get that tap on the shoulder which is the attitude that has helped me transition out of football and into the real world, if you like, most effectively. I still gave my all playing footy but I was also able to complement footy training and all the efforts around footy with stuff I was doing on the outside as well.
What advice would you give to players who are beginning that transition process out of the AFL?
You get told repeatedly that footy doesn’t last forever but I think it’s important to acknowledge what that actually means especially from a job and your interests outside of footy because the reality is that’s the next step in your life. I definitely feel that I benefited from having a really clear vision of what life after footy looked like for me, and as I said, that enhanced my ability to transition reasonably smoothly out of the AFL landscape.