Natarsha Belling – News Presenter
Posted October 13, 2011, by Helen Isbister
Respected Australian journalist and news presenter Natarsha Belling is the face of the 11am Channel Ten news. She thrives on the unpredictable nature of the news and balances her high-pressure job with motherhood. And her motto? ‘Never take your job for granted and give every opportunity you’re given your very best.’
What inspired a career in journalism?
From as early as I can remember, I always dreamed of being a journalist. I believe investigative journalism is fundamental in a democratic society. I’ve always had a passion for exploring and exposing the truth, and of course for telling great stories!
What was your first job in the media and what did you learn from it?
I was a work experience student at the Namoi Valley Independent Newspaper in Gunnedah. I learnt very quickly the value of hard work, determination and learning to swim when you’re thrown in the deep end!
What qualifications and experience do you need?
I completed a BA in Communications from CSU in Mitchell, majoring in Politics and Criminology. Whilst a university degree assisted me greatly, the importance of hands-on experience can never be underestimated. Every university holiday, I would also participate in work experience in the industry. It’s integral for hands-on experience and for building contacts.
What do you think it takes to be successful in this field?
Damn hard work, determination, a great sense of humour and learning to never say no to any opportunity that may come your way.
What is a typical day like for you?
Incredibly demanding. I arrive at work super-early, often very sleep-deprived (I have two young sons). I listen to about three news bulletins and talkback radio on the way to work, to be across the news and hot topics of the day.
I then chat with the producer and run through our bulletin before heading down to make-up. During reconstruction (that’s what I affectionately call hair and make-up), I read through the three major newspapers, analysing the day’s major issues and any new interesting angles. I then head back up to the newsroom, write and present the updates, and then prepare for the one-hour morning news.
During that news bulletin anything can (and often does) happen. Sometimes we can have up to seven live crosses in one bulletin, covering everything from the latest on swine flu to maternity leave issues. It’s incredibly stressful, but I love it. I believe as a news team we do a fantastic job with our resources and the challenges we face.
What do you most enjoy about the job?
The immediacy of live news and witnessing incredible stories that can often be history in the making.
What are the hardest parts?
You have to be incredibly focused and on top of every issue, every day. At any time, I have to cross to talent or a journalist and ask the right questions during live crosses.
Also, presenting news stories you haven’t had the chance to pre-read is very challenging. You have to remain calm on air when disaster strikes behind-the-scenes, which happens almost daily now because of the changing nature of news.
What has been your career highlight?
Fronting an innovative, exciting one-hour morning news service that allows me to not only be a news presenter, but a journalist as well.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Be prepared to work very hard and have a great sense of humour.
How do you balance your career with motherhood?
It’s a daily challenge, but motherhood has made me a much better person and a better journalist and presenter. My sons have helped me reassess my life and realise what’s truly important. Seeing the world through your children’s eyes is so incredibly refreshing and rewarding. As a mother, I also have greater empathy and a greater understanding of many issues we cover, which gives me invaluable insight into complex issues like work–life balance, motherhood and child care.
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