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I've had so much love thrown my way since announcing my departure from the ABC that I think it's only right to acknowledge everyone who’s contributed to making One Plus One a success.
On the day of my final interview, I asked cameraman/photographer Adam Wyatt to take some images of my final production day.
It's with great pleasure that I introduce you to my colleagues, some of whom I've worked with since the beginning of the show in July 2010.
First up, I have to look good, right?
That is only possible with the transformative powers of the ABC News hair and make-up department.
For my final interview, make-up artist Elle Cox worked her magic.
Make-up artists don’t only make you LOOK good, they help you relax and focus before an interview. It’s like a therapy session/a laugh/switch off time before the guest arrives.
This is Clark Sheedy (pictured below) who supervises the make-up department. I've worked with him for around two decades and he’s a fabulous artist and an amazing organiser.
In early 2018 we finally moved into our own studio. Actually, it’s the same studio where Planet America and 7.30 go to air. We use four remote cameras, which means there are no operators on the studio floor. Just the guest and me… or on this special occasion, just presenter (Hamish Macdonald) and me.
The studio is worked by a director and technical director. On my last day it was Tim Kennedy and Michael Hartman...
Our regular director is Janet Argall with Michael Hartman (in glasses) as TD.
Between them, they adjust the cameras, lighting and sound and then Janet switches between the vision coming out of different cameras and make the program look like a smooth conversation.
My final interview with Hamish was extremely enjoyable, much to my surprise! I was expecting to be anxious but Hamish made me feel very comfortable. I had no idea where it was all going to go.
With the interview over, it was time for the fun part! I have always loved having the photos taken at the conclusion of each interview. It’s a moment of relief and joy.
And here below is the the secret to my great Professional Selfies. Thanks Adam!!
The final two images are a tribute to One Plus One’s production brilliant team: video editor Holly Dormor (left) and producer Barbie Dutter.
Each week without fail, Barbie and Holly fine tune my interview; editing it to 28 minutes and adding my reactions, different shots, photo images and video. We are a lean team, but we all share a deep commitment to our guests, who so generously give their time and their stories.
It’s been an honour to work with Barbie and Holly and I will miss themComment
This is my lucky cat shirt.
People usually ask me whether I like cats.
"Not particularly," I say.
I'm more of a dog person.
And in fact, I wasn't even sure about this shirt when I first wore it.
But it's not about dogs and cats. I love faces.
I delight in all the faces staring out and I imagine that behind the camera lenses (because we have 4 or 5 cameras in the studio) there are faces and big eyes staring back at me.
And I revel in the connection.
I was worried when I first wore the shirt, because I usually get a shower of emails asking me where I bought it. I wondered if it was too distracting.
But wearing it makes me feel joyful. So I will keep wearing it.
And I'm not the only one who feels the power of my lucky shirt.
And thank-you to dear Anna Thomas and her wonderful team for making my lucky shirt.Comment
After nine years and five hundred interviews, I will be leaving One Plus One - and the ABC - in mid September 2019.
I'd like to say that my mainstream journalism career as a reporter, foreign correspondent and presenter has been a complete privilege. One Plus One is my baby and you don't leave something you've created without a heavy heart. This was my decision alone.
I'm leaving because I need challenge. After years of learning from my interviewees, inspiring people who have created vibrant lives from the realities life deals, I too, want to be a little bit brave. I'll be working on my own projects, collaborations and will continue to leading tours with Renaissance Tours and the Art Gallery Society of NSW.
I'm happy to say that One Plus One will continue without me, initially with guest presenters. I will be curating a collection of my favourite interviews from over the years and for my final program (date TBC) - you asked for it - I will be the interviewee!
Much more to come ... xx
(Thanks to my colleague Marton Dobras for the photo)Comment
I saw this tweet from my colleague Kumi and like many of you, I connected with the sentiment she expressed.
A few years I was doing a Q&A with Rosie Batty at a conference. One of the things that stuck with me was something along the lines of how she had always feared losing her only son, Luke. And then the unimaginable happened; Luke was killed by his father.
The Kelly family, like Rosie has been through the unimaginable.
Hearing about the attack on Thomas Kelly in July 2012 felt sickening.
That his younger brother Stuart would take his own life in 2016 was another incredibly cruel low for the Kelly family. How could such loss strike twice?
At the time I hadn’t followed the events between Thomas’ death and Stuart’s suicide too closely, but I know about these events intimately now, having read Too Late Too Soon, Kathy and Ralph Kelly’s blistering, heart-breaking book which has just been launched.
Two weeks ago I interviewed Kathy for One Plus One which airs this Friday on ABCTV.
When I heard my show had been offered the interview with Kathy, a part of me froze.
How was I supposed to face a woman who had been through the unimaginable. Twice.
First I had to deal with my own dread. What if something like that happened to my family? How would we survive? What would it be like emersing myself into Kathy’s world? How does anyone move on?
I read the book from cover to cover. The first chapter ends with Thomas’ death. It had a pace that puts you right in the scene. And it was utterly harrowing. I put the manuscript down and cried.
But as I progressed through the story, scribbling my thoughts down in the margins, the sense of dread receded. I searched for anchors. There are many experiences in the nearly 500 interviews I've done and the places I've travelled to. I've had friends and family who have stories of great suffering and great restoration. As I crafted my questions, I read poetry (mainly Mary Oliver) about loss and meaning. I read up on resilience, and noted how Kathy said she and her husband Ralph dealt with grief in different ways.
I now had a pathway. I tidied the questions into a neatish road with a beginning, middle and end.
I’ll never be ready, I thought. But then I never think I am.
I’m usually thinking up questions to the last possible moment.
Before I knew it, interview day had arrived and Kathy appeared in the studio. We chatted briefly. She was cheerful and seemed to be in a good place. I liked her instantly.
Did I hit the mark with the interview?
I’m never the best judge. But now when I think of Kathy I don’t think of her as a sad person with incomprehensible loss weighing her down. She is someone with multiple dimensions. I think of her walking the dogs in the park. I think of a partnership she's held together, of nurturing her daughter Madeleine. I imagine her having dark moments as well as times of clarity and lightness and joy.
For me that feels better than the cocoon of sympathy we sometimes wrap people in.
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