BATH’S SUNDAY SPLASH
Sunday Night is sticking to a good thing in 2010. Co- host Chris Bath explained to Guy Davis how the news program found its winning formula.
fashion. So far, Sunday Night seems to be doing pretty well at it – in 2009, it received two nominations for Walkley Awards, the most prestigious prize in Australian journalism.
Having five-time Walkley winner Ross Coulthard aboard as investigative reporter has helped establish the show’s bona fides, with Bath citing the journalist’s hard-hitting and revealing story about the death of young Australian traveller Britt Lapthorne as one of Sunday Night’s standouts.
“ At the same time, we want to balance that with human interest stories,” she said. The first episode of 2010 featured a good example of that, with Jamie Durie setting off on an Indiana Jones-style globe-trotting quest in search of the legendary Ark of the Covenant.
Bath is only slightly jealous, she laughs. “ I love getting out on the road but I get out a lot less than I’d like to,” she said. “ I’m a little time-poor, unfortunately.”
Indeed, her work across the board with Seven’s news service, whether it’s nightly bulletins or the 6pm news on Saturday ( not to mention co-hosting Sunday Night with Mike Munro) means that she’s not allowed much time away from the office to report on stories.
“ I have that background from reporting on a Seven current-affairs show called Witness, and I managed to get away a couple of stories for Sunday Night last year,” she said.
Still, she admits that simply being part of Sunday Night is exciting enough, especially as she feels the show is breaking some new ground when it comes to the presentation of news and current affairs.
“ Sunday Night is kind of like Christmas for broadcast journalists,” she smiled. “ It’s not every day you get to work on a show that has this kind of budget, this kind of scope and this kind of editorial freedom. Seven has allowed us to explore different ways of presenting stories and editing stories. We’ve given some very talented producers and editors free rein to try a different approach and I think being given the means to tackle their job with that kind of intellectual rigour has really paid off.”
In fact, there’s been no need to reinvent the wheel – Sunday Night’s format remains essentially unchanged in its second year. “ You’ve got a really great mix of three or four diverse stories presented by great reporters delivering the stories that matter and the moments you’ll remember,” she said.
“ And you’re also stuck with me and Mike fronting it!”
News flash: Chris Bath and Mike