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Tony Nicholls

Education Consultant, Inspirational Speaker

Tony Nicholls is an accomplished live broadcast journalist who has held roles over the last ten years with the ABC, SBS and Network Ten, covering state, national and international stories.

Tony was born and raised in Melbourne but like most journalists got his break in the country, when Macquarie Regional Radio in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales gave him a radio news job.  From there he followed a path through television news with Network Ten in Canberra, and finally back to Melbourne.

 

Somehow, he persuaded his young family to accompany him on this journey from pillar to post.

Tony has seen first-hand how the digital revolution has transformed the media landscape, changing the roles of journalists, politicians and corporate leaders. Social media and the 24 hour, rolling news schedule have brought about a whole new thirst for coverage, new challenges in news gathering – and whip-smart, up-to-the-minute skills required of those bringing stories to air.

As Director and Principal Consultant of Good Talent Media Training, Tony coaches spokespeople and executives from the corporate world in all aspects of managing a relationship with the media, including message development, interview technique and crisis management. He mentors student journalists and graduate media trainees, and delivers high-school masterclasses in writing, presenting and analysing media coverage.

His goal is to ‘skill up’ a whole new generation of spokespeople and media professionals, so that they may bring to air viewpoints, messages and stories of real clarity and insight, managing their message clearly and succinctly.

In 2010 Tony was a finalist at Tropfest, Australia’s premier short film festival. During the making of his documentary ‘Every Second Weekend’, he spent three months with a group of vulnerable, traumatised men, a formative experience on a personal level.

For ten years, Tony was a familiar face to those watching the ABC, SBS or Network Ten news, or listening to ABC Radio. He spent two years as ABC News 24’s dedicated breakfast reporter, specialising in live cross coverage from Melbourne. This was a demanding role, and not just for the 5am starts. Covering stories about drug use in sports, police shootings and Islamic youth radicalisation, as well as major Victorian floods and fires, required clarity and presence of mind at every turn.

Tony is passionate about the media, and the telling of a great story succinctly and powerfully. He is a diligent educator and mentor, finding great satisfaction in working with young, keen minds of those who will shape the world of the future, and bring news of it into our homes.

Where were you born?

I was born in the Melbourne suburbs, with ready access to the bush and surrounded by cockatoos. I’ve lived all over the country both as a child and in my early years as a journalist chasing that first big break. Now I’m back in Melbourne, just a few blocks away from where I started.

What other jobs have you had?

One of my first jobs was with the family firm – building swimming pools in Queensland. I had to wheel barrow-loads of pebbles from a mixer into the pool so the blokes could trowel it onto the concrete. It was a pretty tough gig and there was no room for me in the truck, so I sat in the tray at the back with the equipment. It was Dad’s way of saying study hard at school.

What have been the highlights of your career?

In 2010 I had the honour of being a finalist at Tropfest, Australia’s premier short film festival and the world’s largest. During the making of my documentary ‘Every Second Weekend’, I spent three months with a group of vulnerable, traumatised men who shared their lives and journeys with me. The film got a mixed reception but making it was a formative experience on a personal level.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about my industry – the media – and the telling of a great story succinctly and powerfully. Education – particularly now I’m a father. Time alone – for the same reason! It’s enormously satisfying to work with the young, keen minds of those who will shape our world in the future – and bring news of it into our homes. And I know my strengths – I’m passionate about avoiding physical work too. Memories of the swimming pool job still linger.

Haven’t I seen you before?

You may have seen me on the ABC, SBS or Network Ten, or heard me on ABC Radio. I spent two years as ABC News 24’s dedicated breakfast reporter, specialising in live cross coverage from Melbourne. It was a demanding role, not just for the 5am starts – covering stories about drug use in sports, police shootings and Islamic youth radicalisation, as well as major Victorian floods and fires calls for clarity and presence of mind at every turn.

Testimonials

Tony’s sessions were highly informative and stimulating for the students! He has a calm manner that reassures and encourages students to think and write as potential journalists. The students were engaged with the subject matter which were current significant issues presented in the Australian and world –wide media. At the conclusion of the session, junior  students asked me to please have these sessions next year so that they could attend.

—M. Le Bas, Academic Dean of English, Kilvington Grammar

Being witness to, and experiencing first hand, Tony’s insight and knowledge of journalism and journalistic principles, helped me understand what it takes to succeed within the industry. Away from the glitz and glamour lifestyle that is from time-to-time portrayed to the general public, Tony’s exceptional personable qualities and his generous and helpful nature gave me the comfort and the confidence to pursue a career in this very cut-throat industry.

—J. Anthony, Pyrros Latrobe University: Master of Global Communications and Bachelor of Media studies

I worked alongside Tony at the ABC. The way he approached deadlines and breaking news was extremely professional. He reported with clarity and credibility. I learnt very valuable skills from him that I will use to further my career as a journalist.

—N. Kramer, RMIT Student: Graduate Diploma in Journalism

Tony has the knowledge to equip aspiring journalists with the real-world skillset required to make it in news media. His experience and clear, effective instruction augmented what I’d learned in J-school and provided me with genuine opportunities within the industry.

—J. Latimore Former Master of Journalism, University of Melbourne

Tony Nicholls proved an excellent whole day session for twelve experienced Victorian State Secondary Principals. The feedback from all principals was very positive, and a number have since reported the value of the training when they have subsequently dealt with the media. The session, which involved filming each principal on a number of occasions, left us feeling empowered. It provided clear, simple templates and plans for use in a variety of situations. It demystified the media and enhanced our confidence, giving us strategies to take ‘control’ of interviews. Tony approached the training professionally, was well organized and ensured that the day was enjoyable for all participants. I would highly recommend his services to schools and other organizations.

—J. Crowe, Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals

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