Q&A with Stan Grant
Stan Grant has given up the stresses of CNN to work three jobs, including NITV News.
How long were you away from Australia?
I went to London in 1996 for Channel Seven and have spent only about three years in Australia overall since. I lived in London for seven, and then went to Hong Kong for CNN, came back here for a while, then went to Abu Dhabi for CNN, and then the last three years I've been in Beijing for CNN.
Your first job in media was copy boy at The Canberra Times …
Yes, while I was at uni. I went to work for Macquarie Radio in 1983 and in 1987 joined ABC TV and was a political correspondent there until 1992 and then joined Seven.
How did you get a job at CNN?
I'd been in London with Seven and had come back to Sydney. I got a phone call from a VP at CNN offering me a position. Two weeks later I flew to Hong Kong.
You have four children, 23 to 11, did they move overseas with you?
Yes, until they got to high school.
You've travelled to some interesting places at CNN …
It's an incredibly stressful job … always an element of risk when I travelled to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Korea. I have met with members of the Taliban and been in hairy situations in Israel, Egypt, all across the Middle East. When you have intense experiences, it takes its toll. I'm a different person now. I have a greater appreciation of life and how fortunate we are in Australia.
How hard is it to slip into North Korea?
You have to be invited. You travel to China, get your visa there and fly across. It's very heavily controlled and you're closely monitored. It's an entirely different world. The place hasn't really changed in 50 years. It's known as the hermit kingdom. But we're very adept at getting around that and filming things they don't want us to film. This is a place constantly at war - it has the fourth-biggest army in the world.
Why did you leave CNN?
It was a tough decision. They wanted me to sign for another three years, but my parents are getting older, my son is going to university, and my other son is playing rugby league with South Sydney. I also got to the point where at some point you just have to be able to step away from it.
So what will you be doing now?
I'll be international editor for Sky News Australia, and I'll host a nightly show from late January, and I will also work with SBS' indigenous channel NITV.
You're from an indigenous background, but you seemed to previously play that down?
I wanted to be a reporter in my own right and prove myself. I wanted to be a journalist who could report from anywhere. It was important to me that I had a career that could stand on its own terms. I don't think I have a huge amount left to prove. I'm turning 50 and it felt right now to come to NITV. NITV has to stand on its own two feet. It's not a community network. It's the big time. I want to use my skills to help shape what they do.
There are some extraordinary social and economic problems in the indigenous community. How will you cover that?
Like you do anything else. We need to have some degree of independence and we need to do it professionally. We are not there to be an advocate. It's about asking the hard questions about how black and white interact in Australia and not being afraid to ruffle a few feathers. It's important we broaden the range of voices heard.
Stan Grant will appear regularly on NITV News, which screens on Channel 34.