On Wednesday 29 January, Sandra Sully will celebrate her 30th anniversary at Network 10. In celebration of her time at 10, Sully has shared with Mediaweek her thoughts on how news has changed over time, what it’s like working with a different owner, and the favourite stories she’s covered during her colourful career at the network.
At the very end of last year, Sully began hosting an extended 90-minute news bulletin from 5pm with reports on local/state-based news for the first hour and then national news for the last half hour. “It is still a trial,” said Sully. “We are quietly optimistic and confident that people don’t really want an hour of news at 6pm, and it’s the right lead into The Project. The newsroom is under the pump, but everyone is loving the opportunity.”
Sully explained how she’s seen a revolution of news across the board during her long career. The news offering to viewers is now very different to when she started. “People would watch the news and then go to bed, but now the way people access their news has changed so dramatically,” said Sully. “There are people overseas now engaging with Australian content too. People are engaged 24/7, so it’s no different when it comes to news and a 24-hour news cycle means you’re always on!”
Sully revealed it’s never been better at Network 10 than it is right now in terms of having a new owner. “I don’t think it’s a secret that 10’s gone through some rough chapters. However, now owned by a global giant in ViacomCBS, it’s been more than a breath of fresh air. There’s real stability.
“It’s great to be a part of that bigger show and it’s wonderful to feel that stability and support.”
Sully is often remembered for when she reported one particular historical event – the September 11 tragedy – but Sully said there’s been a lot of other huge opportunities over the decades. “Princess Mary; The Royal Wedding; going to East Timor 10 years after independence; going to Borneo and releasing orangutans into the wild. The stories I’ve covered have been a diverse range of things. Also working on the Olympics, the Victorian Commonwealth Games in 1994, and co-hosting the Melbourne Cup coverage all those years ago. I’ve had incredible opportunities at 10 and I’m really grateful.”
The launch of news site 10 daily was just around 18 months ago, and Sully said they’re very proud with how well it’s doing. Sully is a contributing news editor at 10 daily. “We have a cracking team who are knocking it out of the park. We then of course have the podcast – Short Black – which is also doing incredibly well. The point of the podcast is to elevate powerful stories told by remarkable Australian women – I really enjoy it.”