Fran Kelly on Life After RN

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Last year, his partner of almost 30 years, Marion Frith, Recount Have a nice week end Kelly was “very kind, very considerate” around the house – but her journalistic steel occasionally passed through their family life. “There are times when we’ll discuss what to buy in stores and I’m going to say ‘wait, you’re not doing a political interview now, we’re just trying to buy cabbages’,” he said. she declared.

In her nearly two decades in the role, Kelly has noticed two things. Politicians are getting more and more slippery. And social networks are getting meaner.

She is shocked by the abuse she and her colleagues, especially women, regularly endure.

“The things that are said are sometimes so incredibly vile,” Kelly said. “Talk about your body, your gender, your sexuality, your private life. It’s shameful … And it’s wreaking havoc.

Sometimes it made her lose her axis, she said, and it got worse.

“There were a few moments in my career where it was really tough and my partner checked it out. And I just had to switch off. My friends said to me, ‘Don’t read social media today, Fran’, and so I didn’t.

But she said it wasn’t a satisfactory solution: “Social media giants need to improve [dealing with] that, but it is beyond my pay level to find the answer ”.

This is not why she is withdrawing. The decision to leave before the end of the year was one of the most difficult she’s made. She said her “heart and soul” was in the work.

Fran Kelly and Raf Epstein led ABC’s radio coverage of the 2019 Federal Election Night tally.Credit:ABC News: Scott Johnston

Registered nurse breakfast has a respectable audience, and influence far beyond that. This is often where the first draft of the political narrative of the day is written: the arguments that come and go on the issue of the day get their first repetition.

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Kelly’s interviews are the key to that influence: she takes a politician and goes through the shell of the sound bites to the meaty issues below.

It was an opportunity to set the news agenda each morning, she said, which had tempted her to come back from her job as a foreign correspondent in London and “kindle the flame every day, really. “. But, she said, it was getting harder and harder.

“It started a long time ago … but it’s only getting worse,” she said. “The 24-hour news cycle means politicians know they can get through something: it could be a bad story one day that will grab headlines with something else soon after.

“They know they can dance and make their way… They also know that the maximum I have is eight minutes, I’m not going to stick to anything for 20 minutes just to try to get them. hunt for an answer, they’re better at it.

Fran Kelly and his partner, author and journalist Marion Frith.

Fran Kelly and his partner, author and journalist Marion Frith.Credit:Dominique lorrimer

Kelly has also adapted. She uses the power of her hyper-connected listeners; while a politician speaks, texts and messages pour in.

“I can say, ‘the public is listening and they want to know it,’ which I think makes it a little harder for politicians to escape with a standard response.”

Every day, she said, she applied a simple principle.

“In every interview, whether it’s talking to Sinéad O’Connor or the prime minister, I’m trying to have in mind, ‘what do people want to know here? What are people shouting on the radio? “


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