Category Archives: News media

I Think They Call It Mixed Emotions

The last week in November was the 10th anniversary since being told I had cancer.

It was also the same week I was told I was no longer required to read the weekend news at Channel 7. The end of a 34 year career at SAS.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Joyous, that I had been free of cancer for ten years but sad, more than angry that my days reading 7 News were over.

I’ve moved on,on both counts, despite regular checkups to make sure the cancer is gone I rarely think about being so sick, but I am forever grateful that it was a point in my life that forced me to reflect on what, and who, really mattered in my life.

The days, then years that have unfolded since that dreaded statement “I’m afraid you have colorectal cancer, it’s a level 3 and we’re going to have to act quickly.”

Anyone faced with a life threatening illness knows after something like that your life changes forever, it can never be the same. It’s up to you to decide whether life is better, worse or just different.

Same with losing your job, although it does get harder as you get older.

For me, I see new opportunities unfolding, but not without effort, dusting off old skills getting back into media training, doing more MCing and public speaking.

Most exciting,  I’m retraining myself. My voice has been that of a news presenter for more than three decades. Now I’m going to put it to work as a voice over artist, you know reading those dreaded commercials. Maybe narrate some documentaries. However, the voice needs work, so I’m having lessons. Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

I’ve already ventured further into the internet, on social media and setting up a website for my new business. I made a DVD about dealing with cancer several years ago. Cancer - What Now? DVDCancer – What Now? has been exceptionally well received and has helped many cancer sufferers and their families.

I often give talks about dealing with cancer and now I have done a webcast which has received wonderful feedback.

So here I am, when many my age are enjoying retirement,  I’m truly re-invigorated and setting off in a number of new directions. I miss Channel 7 but like getting cancer maybe it was my time for a change and I just needed a push in the right direction.

Sorry dear, the garden is just going to have to wait.

Walking Through A Living Graveyard

Ever been to a work or school reunion?  It can prove to be a daunting experience.

I’ve been to three, all work related at 5DN, 3AW and TNT 9 Launceston.

  Walking into a room filled with people you haven’t seen for up to 30 years brings the    memories flooding back, good and bad in almost equal measure.

Someone once said.  “It’s like walking through a living graveyard.”

The first thing, “thank God for name tags.” The second thing you notice is how the years have treated people unequally.  Some have aged well, others are showing the ravages of time.

The most recent reunion was for the 50th year of TNT 9 Launceston. It’s where I met my wife- to- be Eve.

A visit to the channel studios the night after reunion revealed while so much had changed physically, the place felt much the same. Paint and furniture couldn’t hide the memories.

After 30 years those who had been close friends resumed the relationship as if the time in between didn’t exist.  Uneasy work acquaintance remained just that.

The older former employees spoke glowingly of the “good old days” while the younger current employees appeared to be thinking “silly old farts.”

If you’ve never done a reunion but get the chance make the effort.

The memories that such occasions provoke are priceless and if they aren’t the reunion will remind you why you left in the first place.

Golden Daze of TV – 3 The PENsive presenter

TV homework –  one of the great mysteries of television is what goes on behind the news reading desk.

A question I’m asked without fail when giving a talk on the media is “What do you wear under the desk? Is it true you’re wearing shorts?”  Why this is a perpetual question I don’t know.  True, in the early days studios became very hot with the banks of lights glaring down on you it could become very uncomfortable.  To keep cool we often wore shorts.

Things have changed, there’s air conditioning and the lights are now “cool”. However even with these creature comforts  in the heat of  summer I’ll wear shorts to work and only change the top half to a suit.

One thing about TV news reading still remains a mystery with me even after 30 years in the business.  Why do news readers (me being the only exception I’m aware of) hold a pen in their hand while they read?

Have you ever in all your years of News watching seen a news reader actually use the pen?  They never do.

The reason given is they may need to write something. On that basis they should have a box of tissues on the desk in case they need to blow their nose, a glass of water if they need a drink.

Those items are available but out of sight.

So why the pen?  One night when reading with Jane Doyle on 7 News I hid her pen just before the bulletin started.  I quickly gave it back to her when she broke out in a cold sweat fearing she could not go on.

So it’s a security blanket.

Here’s the  homework for you. When your watching your favourite news service tonight check the hands,  if you can spot a a penless reader let me know.

Saturday and Sunday nights on 7 News Adelaide don’t count – that bloke  works without a safety net.

There’s Still A Place For Newspapers – It’s Just Becoming Harder To Find

The day the Internet got into full swing was the day the countdown for the end of the newspaper began.

Printed media is still with us – finding new ways to stay relevant, but it seems only a matter of time before we just switch on the iPad or laptop to review the days’ news over breakfast.

I must admit I do a combination of both each morning.  First it’s the trip outside to find the paper in amongst the shrubbery. Then the often-frustrating task of stripping the cling wrap from the paper.

After consuming all the paper has to offer – then I fire up the Mac to catch the “latest” news.

Last thing at night I check the news websites and what I see is often mirrored  on the front page of the paper 8 hours later.

While I sense I’m drifting more and more toward the electronic news, (let’s not forget radio which has always been immediate) two events this week have made me realise I’m still tethered to the “old style’ delivery.

On Thursday, and again today I have gone out to perform the morning ritual of “hunt the paper” only to find it’s not there.  I even ventured next door to see if the paper man’s trusty throw was a little off.

Nothing!

It’s a very empty feeling to have to go back inside paperless.

Younger generations don’t have the same bond, but for me the anticipation as I unravel the paper first thing in the morning to see what headlines await is one of life’s little pleasures.

The forests remain under threat as long as people like me are still around.