TJ Thomson feature

T.J. Thomson, 5 May, 2022

Read about the QUT student who moved from the Central Highlands to pursue his passion for photography and shine a light on Australians in communities rarely reported on.

Justin Comiskey was still in high school when he was first published. His photo of cattle in Queensland’s near-drought stricken Central Highlands region appeared in the CQ News and the Northern Star in 2018 and ignited in him a desire to pursue journalism as a career. He decided to do so through enrolling in QUT’s top-ranked Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) course.

Originally from Willows in Queensland’s Central Highlands region, he has been living in Brisbane for his uni studies until the COVID-19 pandemic prompted his return to rural Queensland. While there, he has still been able to work on and submit his assessment remotely and continue progressing in the course.

Comiskey grew up on a farm with cattle and horses but decided that wasn’t for him.

“From a young age I decided that I was meant for more than what I saw everybody else doing,” he said.

Comiskey turned to photography in high school as a way to preserve the beauty of what he saw and that he felt others were missing out on but might want to see one day. Then, in 2018, the drought got really bad and his photos became a bit more bleak. He captured one image from the back of a buggy when 60 head of cattle were chasing him trying to get food.

He sent it to the CQ News, which published it and interviewed Comiskey about his experience and the region’s drought conditions.

“I felt I was doing something good for our community in raising awareness for the drought,” Comiskey said.

“It was after that that I truly decided journalism could be an avenue for me. It was the avenue for me. That’s what I’m interested in. I’m interested in showing people sides of the story that they’re otherwise not inclined to see.”

After his degree, Comiskey wants to return to his hometown in rural Queensland and report on rural issues stories that rarely get covered. He aims to inspire others through his storytelling and report on the bright side of things.

“I’m very interested in good news,” he said.

“I think that’s my main point of interest with the news. I hope to one day write good news stories to make people feel better.”

Learn more about the Bachelor of Communication (Journalism).

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Author

T.J. Thomson

T.J. Thomson

Dr. T.J. Thomson, SFHEA, is an award-winning visual communication scholar and educator. His research focuses on visual media production, organization, representation, and meaning, in journalistic and digital media contexts, and is the author of 'To See and Be Seen: The Environments, Interactions and Identities Behind News Images'.

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