Hol­i­day? No, you’re in the hot seat

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page - COLIN VICK­ERY

TIM McMil­lan wanted a hol­i­day. In­stead he got a job as Chan­nel 9’s week­end news pre­sen­ter.

The Nine News re­porter re­cently fronted Mel­bourne news chief Michael Venus about hav­ing some time off over Easter. That was a prob­lem for Venus, who had ear­marked the 33-year-old to read news along­side Grant Hack­ett for three week­ends.

McMil­lan was stunned. It will be his first stint as a lead reader — and he hasn’t even done a news break. Nine News Chan­nel 9, week­nights, 6pm Lat­est news and sport Du­ra­tion: 30 min­utes

‘‘It was a com­plete sur­prise and a bit daunt­ing if I’m com­pletely hon­est,’’ McMil­lan says. ‘‘I al­ways imag­ined a newsreader would be older than me. I’m ab­so­lutely thrilled to get the op­por­tu­nity and it’s nice to know Michael has faith in me.’’

Venus thinks McMil­lan, who re­cently won Walk­ley and Quill awards for a tragic story about fam­ily abuse, has the goods. In his short time at Nine he has dis­tin­guished him­self with in­ci­sive re­ports about the Gipp­s­land floods, the Black Satur­day bush­fires and sev­eral court sagas.

Venus says: ‘‘He (McMil­lan) has enor­mous po­ten­tial as a news pre­sen­ter. He pos­sesses two es­sen­tial qual­i­ties: au­thor­ity and warmth.

‘‘We’re con­fi­dent he’s go­ing to do ex­tremely well.’’

McMil­lan has done prac­tice readthroughs and sought ad­vice from pre­sen­ters Tony Jones and Brett McLeod in the lead-up to his first bul­letin. He’ll also speak to Peter Hitch­ener and Jo Hall.

‘‘The ad­vice I’ve been get­ting from those who have done it is that it’s easy to stand there and spit out the words, but it’s much harder to have the nec­es­sary poise and con­vic­tion.’’

McMil­lan says his par­ents Ray and Denise and his wife Jo will be watch­ing his per­for­mance as ea­gerly as Venus.

‘‘Know­ing that the eyes of those I know best are go­ing to be scru­ti­n­is­ing me is mak­ing me even more ner­vous,’’ he says.

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