Oral History: Journalists

Three journalists talk about their careers in these Oral History interviews
 Bronwyn Murphy

The Oral History program provides personal recollections of careers in film, TV, radio or recorded sound. This week we’re featuring recent Oral History interviews with musicians, actors, directors and film crew. Today we’re looking at journalists.

Read an outline of the interviews below, and listen to excerpts or the full interviews embedded from SoundCloud.

Leigh Sales

Leigh Sales is an author and journalist and the host of the ABC’s flagship current affairs programme, 7.30.

She begins the interview talking about her early life in Brisbane, her move to Sydney and ambition to become Washington Correspondent. In this excerpt, Leigh discusses being a Washington correspondent, how the job changed after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, and finding original angles to break on the stories she was reporting:

Leigh Sales interviewed by Sandra Odorisio (2013), Oral History. NFSA title: 1161193

Leigh wrote an award-winning book on David Hicks, and she shares her thoughts on Hicks and Guantanamo Bay. She discusses her on-the-ground reporting of Hurricane Katrina in the US and being unprepared for what confronted her there. Other topics covered in the interview include bias, the rigours of interviewing politicians, the difficulties of juggling parenthood, and her uncertainty about continuing as a journalist.

Sandra Odorisio interviewed Leigh Sales in November 2013 and you can listen to the full interview on SoundCloud:

Jeff McMullen

Jeff McMullen has been a journalist, author and filmmaker for 50 years.

In his interview, he talks about growing up in Penang and his early attempts at journalism. Jeff describes his early years as a cadet journalist at the ABC. He became a foreign correspondent in Papua New Guinea and Asia, and later in the US. At the ABC he also worked for Four Corners.

Jeff left the ABC to join Sixty Minutes in 1984. In this excerpt, he talks about his first story for the program and why he chose to report on the health of Indigenous Australians:

Jeff McMullen interviewed by Alec Morgan (2013), Oral History.   NFSA title: 1134573

Jeff remained with 60 Minutes for 16 years, retiring in 2000. Jeff maintains strong connections to Indigenous peoples in Australia and around the world and continues to advocate for their rights and justice.

Alec Morgan interviewed Jeff McMullen in July 2013 and you can listen to the full interview on SoundCloud:





Sandra Sully

Sandra Sully is a journalist and newsreader with over 20 years of service to the Ten Network.

In this excerpt from the interviews, she talks about taking voice lessons and learning to become more confident in front of the camera:

Sandra Sully interviewed by Sandra Odorisio (2013). NFSA title: 1166893

Sandra talks about being on air the evening (Australian time) of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack on New York’s World Trade Centre. She offers a chilling recollection of living through the disaster as it happened and describes how it affected her personally. She was also in Thredbo at the time of the 1997 landslide which claimed 18 lives, and reported on the rescue of Stuart Diver.

Sandra Odorisio interviewed Sandra Sully in December 2013 and you can listen to the full interview on SoundCloud: