When female newsreaders were “the good news”

The novelty of ABC‘s first female TV newsreader 40 years ago showed that attitudes to women on television were very different to now.

“Australia’s newest sex symbol is not a naughty nurse from The Young Doctors. She’s not even a titillating teacher from Glenview High, or a passionate policewoman from Cop Shop. Believe it or not, she’s an ABC newsreader” — so declared Melbourne’s Scene newspaper in April 1978.

“Long-legged Margaret Throsby began on Sydney’s ABN2 only last week.”

Scene, 1 April 1978

Female newsreaders or journalists on television were still a rarity even by the late 1970s, although there had been some trailblazer reporters including Tanya Halesworth, Mickie de Stoop, Anne Deveson, Kate Ballieu and Brisbane newsreader Melody Iliffe.

Throsby, however, wasn’t falling for the sexist adoration and denied that sex appeal had anything to with her TV role. “If that’s the only reason they picked me for the job I’ll quit straight away,” she told Scene. “There are lots of women doctors and lawyers around now — did they get where they are because they looked sexy?”

Throsby was no newcomer to the media. She had been an announcer at ABC radio since the 1960s, including as one of its first female newsreaders since World War II. After Throsby began reading TV news for ABC, the commercial sector showed a greater interest in employing female newsreaders.

Since the sensationalist media attention of 40 years ago, Throsby continued an esteemed career at ABC, including hosting long-running programs for radio 2BL (now ABC Radio Sydney) and ABC Classic FM, the latter for which she still presents concert events, and acts as a mentor to ABC’s next generation of broadcasters. She has also worked as a presenter for SBS and was a panellist on Beauty And The Beast for the Ten Network in the 1980s.

Source: Scene, 1 April 1978. ABC Classic FM.

Permanent link to this article: https://televisionau.com/2018/04/when-female-newsreaders-were-the-good-news.html


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    • Stve on 2 April 2018 at 9:31 AM
    • Reply

    Canberra commercial had an early newsreader name
    forgotten perhaps Claudia !! She had been a film editor, an unusual career path uptothe desk ANY HELP WITH IDENTITY.
    Adelaide ADS was the first to use the News Editor
    Don Riddell as a presenter as well as his day job

    • Luke on 9 April 2018 at 9:41 PM
    • Reply

    Can you update the site a bit more please? More posts, more classic TV guides?

    1. Sure

    • Ali White on 20 April 2021 at 3:03 AM
    • Reply

    What about my dear 66yrs old friend, Danila Sossa originally from radio in Whyalla and known in the industry as “Dani”. Get in touch with her as I believe she was an exceptional early Live female Newsreader and investigative journalist in Australian Media. There are photos in the archives if someone cares to look for her historical contributions to Australian media outlets for many years.

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