Under the current lockdown laws, it was hard for former 10 Perth news presenter and now Studio 10 presenter Narelda Jacobs to celebrate her recent milestone at the network. “I have two people coming around to our house tonight. Woo!” she told Mediaweek recently.
Jacobs this month celebrates 20 years with Network 10. She recently relocated to Sydney from Perth for love, to be with her partner Stevie Cruz Martin, a film and TV commercial director.
After landing a job in a regional TV newsroom straight out of university, Jacobs thought it was her dream job. Everything she has achieved since that role with GWN in Bunbury has been a bonus.
Jacobs is now a Studio 10 presenter and she presents weekend news for the Perth market out of Sydney when required.
Of her move from news presenting to a talk show, Jacobs told Mediaweek: “It was a big jump because news anchors didn’t really have opinions they could share. I was always taught to remain independent and unbiased and not make political statements at all.
“That is what I adhered to for 19 years. When I first had the opportunity to appear on Studio 10 and also The Project I realised I did have things I wanted to say. For my personal growth I wanted a bit of a challenge and then this job became available.”
Jacobs said the industry is more relaxed now about news presenters having an opinion. “I was always openly gay and I’m an aboriginal. It’s been pretty hard to separate those things, especially during the marriage equality debate. With social media people are now commenting on everything via Instagram and other platforms.”
Jacobs said working on Studio 10 gives her a wonderful platform to share he views. “I started a couple of weeks before January 26 and it gave me a platform to be able to share things I felt really passionately about regarding when we should be celebrating Australia Day. A month after that came Mardi Gras which gave me a chance to talk about LGBTQIA+ issues which I also feel passionately about.”
After reading social media comments after she spoke on both topics, she was reminded there were plenty of people who didn’t share her views. “I thought I might be getting a collective hug from all of Australia! What I do appreciate is that it starts a conversation for things we need to talk about.”
Working at Network 10 comes with complete freedom of any editorial input in the news, said Jacobs. “We just react to the news of the day and we have never pulled any stories, never been cautious when we have approached stories and that is the beauty of Channel 10. We have always had the freedom to be journalists.
“There is a lot of job security here with the backing of ViacomCBS and we feel the future is looking pretty good. Everybody has always said they like working at Network 10 and that’s something I agree with.
“I worked through several waves of redundancies. When people depart they often come back after time at another network. We are a bit of a family.”
Jacobs is enjoying working with new colleagues on a daily basis at Studio 10, “I have such a lot of respect for them. They do a wonderful job. Sarah Harris and Joe Hildebrand do a wonderful job and it’s good how we challenge each other all the time. The aim of it is to get people at home thinking about issues and to see what position they take on it. Our healthy debates might border on arguments at different times, but we always respect each other.”
Kerri-Anne Kennerley has upset some members of the team in the past who have called her different names. “I get on really well with Kerri-Anne and really respect her,” said Jacobs.
Politically Kennerley and Jacobs could be quite far apart we asked? “When I am with her I wouldn’t know because we get on very well. I appreciate working with someone like her because she represents a lot of the community. She knows television better than anybody in the country and I am learning stuff from her.”
Lockdown has meant Jacobs hasn’t been able to visit Perth – she had to cancel her Easter travel plans and a recent weekend trip too. “I now have the opportunity to read the weekend news for Perth as it comes out of Sydney. That has been great and allows me to maintain a connection with the city.”
Top Photo: Network 10’s Narelda Jacobs