Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s no stranger to the First Coast.
Born in Springfield, Mo., Justin has lived in the area since 1979 and been passionate about sports ever since.
He spent most of those early years in town attempting to play sports. But he struck out too often in baseball. Hit more rim than net in basketball. And he was forbidden from giving tackle football a try for what his parents claimed were safety reasons. In hindsight, it was probably to keep the family from suffering lasting embarrassment.
With playing sports in the rearview, Justin began writing about sports with the Florida Times-Union in the fall of 1998. His focus was anything local, from high schools to the Jaguars to rhythmic gymnastics. He spent a season and a half covering the Jacksonville Suns, but the passion to focus more on local athletes won out.
Justin spent 10 years at the St. Augustine Record, the bulk of those as the sports editor, before returning to the Times-Union in 2012 as the high school sports editor, and later, as the sports editor.
Some of his most memorable events over the years were covering Tim Tebow at Nease from 2003-05, Derrick Henry during his record-breaking season at Yulee in 2012, breaking the story on former Major League Baseball player Ryan Freel’s diagnosis of the brain disease CTE in 2013 and reporting on academic issues involving athletes at Arlington Country Day in 2014.
In addition to writing and editing duties, Justin spent seven years working as a seasonal radio and local sports television analyst in the local market.