Jarrett Dunbar was able to get his dream job in sports communications twice thanks to the skills he learned at WOUB

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Jarrett Dunbar graduated from Ohio University in 1998

ATHENS, OH – While growing up in Whitehall, Ohio, Jarrett Dunbar vividly remembers watching ESPN’s Sportscenter for the very first time.

“I was 13 years old, and I knew I wanted to do that for a career. I was slow and short, so I knew I wasn’t going to play basketball professionally. But I liked to talk and had an outgoing personality,” said Dunbar. “So, a teacher told me to think about sports journalism.”

When it was time to go to college, Dunbar visited Ohio University and was “hooked.”

“I found out Ohio University had a really good journalism school, and I knew it was the place for me,” said Dunbar.

But Dunbar didn’t get into the journalism school right away. So, he got involved in several extracurricular activities to prove himself.

Dunbar on NewsWatch set
Dunbar on NewsWatch set in late 1990s

I started volunteering at WOUB right away,” said Dunbar. “I did sports radio and TV. I anchored NewsWatch. Any opportunity I got, I grabbed it.”

Dunbar was able to transfer into the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism during his junior year. It was quite an accomplishment.

“The E.W. Scripps School of Journalism only accepted four or five transfer students a year,” said Dunbar. “I was honored to be accepted.”

During his time at Ohio University, Dunbar stayed in Athens every summer and worked at WOUB.

“I was able to anchor sports on NewsWatch five days a week every summer for three summers in a row,” said Dunbar. “I was doing a newscast every night, and it allowed me to really sharpen my skills. I got a ton of on-air time and by the time graduation came around, I had a solid resumé tape.”

Dunbar was offered his first job in Rockford, Illinois at WTVO TV. He was a sports reporter, anchor and videographer.

“I spent six years doing weekend sports and moved into a morning news anchor role for two years,” said Dunbar. “While I loved what I was doing, I had a wife and young child, and I knew it was time to make a change.”

After talking with his mom, he learned about a public information officer (PIO) position that was open at the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) and applied.

“I was offered the job and moved to Columbus in 2006.”

Dunbar worked at ODI as a PIO for five years and then got an opportunity to work on the department’s legislative affairs team.

“I didn’t know anything about legislative affairs outside of School House Rock,” said Dunbar with a laugh. “But I like a challenge, and I became a lobbyist for ODI. I worked with legislators to help write and pass legislation for Ohio insurance law. I was able to help get three bills passed.”

Eventually Dunbar moved back into communications when a public relations (PR) position opened at Nationwide Insurance in 2013.

Dunbar posing with Jerome Bettis
Dunbar with former Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back Jerome Bettis

“I was hired to do public relations for property and casualty insurance,” said Dunbar. “I did that for about a year. Then, a PR position supporting the sports marketing team opened up. With my sports background, I decided to apply. When I was offered the position, that kicked off the six most fun years of my career. I thought I was done with sports. I already had the dream job I wanted anchoring sports on TV, but this job came open and immediately I was hanging out with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jerome Bettis, Walter Payton’s family, Peyton Manning and Jack Nicklaus. I was going to NASCAR races and the Super Bowl.”

In 2019, Dunbar moved into the Corporate Development division as a senior communications consultant and was promoted to Director of Nationwide’s Property and Casualty, Marketing and Corporate Development Proactive PR department in September of 2020.

“I always wanted a leadership role. I’m really enjoying leading this team and watching them grow,” said Dunbar. “I wouldn’t be where I am today though without WOUB. WOUB was pivotal. I credit being able to be work at WOUB as the reason I got my first job. I could make mistakes in an environment that was relatively safe. If I made those mistakes in my first job, I probably would’ve gotten fired. WOUB was critical.”