King still cop­ping it on the chin

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page - SIOB­HAN DUCK

HE’S been threat­ened, beaten and even shot at in the line of duty, but Martin King wouldn’t have it any other way.

The vet­eran cur­rent-af­fairs re­porter isn’t fazed by an­gry out­bursts, vi­o­lence or in­tim­i­da­tion— in fact he sees it al­most as a badge of hon­our.

Even af­ter 23 years at Chan­nel 9, where he has worked on the Wille­see pro­gram and A Cur­rent Af­fair, King has no plans to slow down.

‘‘I wouldn’t know what to do if I wasn’t do­ing this,’’ he says.

‘‘I’m now 56 but I feel young, I feel good.

‘‘I still love be­ing on the road and be­ing with peo­ple.

‘‘Noth­ing makes me hap­pier than in­ter­view­ing some griz­zly old char­ac­ter.’’

The award-winning journo has spent a month in the Peru­vian jun­gle ex­pos­ing an­i­mal traf­fick­ers; talked cult leader David Koresh into let­ting him film in­side the Waco com­pound and spent time be­hind bars to re­veal the true state of the New South Wales prison sys­tem.

King has also in­ter­viewed some of the world’s most fa­mous faces — talk­ing to peo­ple such as Sir An­thony Hop­kins, Lu­ciano Pavarotti and Pamela An­der­son.

With his for­mi­da­ble body of work it is lit­tle won­der King es­ti­mates he prob­a­bly has ‘‘a cou­ple of books in him’’.

Nor is it any sur­prise that he has a rep­u­ta­tion as a hard-nosed, sweettalk­ing mas­ter of foot-in-the-door jour­nal­ism.

But his ded­i­ca­tion to the job means King has made more than a few en­e­mies along the way.

He says there have been times that po­lice cars have cir­cled the block out­side his house at night and se­cu­rity guards were sent to his chil­dren’s schools to pro­tect them.

‘‘I’ve been kicked, punched, shot at, sworn at and threat­ened more times than I can re­mem­ber, but I love my job,’’ he says em­phat­i­cally.

He ad­mits that when he first had a job of­fer from Mike Wille­see he was ner­vous about mak­ing the leap from news­pa­pers to tele­vi­sion. It took months to find his feet. ‘‘When I started at Chan­nel 9 the mo­bile phone had just been in­vented, ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers wore flares and our scripts were writ­ten on a type­writer,’’ he says, laugh­ing.

Happy:

Martin King won’t quit.

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