FOX Sports presenter, Lara Pitt, would much rather talk about her work, the game, Live television or anything other than being some sort of pioneer. As she points out, she is no such pioneer and it is other media that gets distracted by gender rather than the work.
Pitt has been with FOX Sports since 2006, and is now well and truly part of the FOX Sports family.
She started as a junior reporter in the newsroom and asserted herself, slowly working her way up to her current presenting role. Even back then she doesn’t recall any resistance based on her gender.
“I guess you slowly carve a position out and say ‘This is what I can do for you,'” she says.
“I’ve never had anyone say no to me because I was a girl. But there are women who have been doing this role in newspapers and radio like Margie McDonald, Debbie Spillane, Rebecca Wilson. So there’s a fraternity and we know each other. But the trailblazing has been done.”
Pitt has been covering NRL for three years now and is part of the team on The Matty Johns Show, Sterlo and Super Saturday coverage. Her duties include panel chat, Live reporting and producing her own content.
“Live TV is a buzz and being at the games is the best part of all. Being Live, absorbing the atmosphere and bringing it to peoples’ homes is the best. Studio can be a bit more awkward because it is articifial. But out at the ground is the best Live atmosphere,” she says.
“For me the great thing about FOX was I’d graduated and I was fresh. You have to learn as you go. No amount of education is going to teach you how to do it. You have to put it into practice. So I’m forever grateful I got to learn from the absolute bottom and (now I have) the skillset to edit and write.”
Indeed, the presenting job also entails producing her own content.
“I love to edit which is probably a bad thing because there are people who are paid to edit! But I’m learning to hand it over to someone who is there to do it,” she admits.
“In the newsroom you have to edit your own stuff. There’s no-one there to do it for you.
“I have to organise my own shoots. I ring clubs and ask ‘Can I have this player?’ then I book a crew, so I’m a bit of a jack of all trades.
“Soon I will probably be filming my own stuff. These days you have to be able to do everything as a journalist. On the weekend I saw a journo with the camera set up, who locked off the shot and did the interview (alone).”
In the game of sports news, it’s also important to make your mark with stories. Pitt points to key interviews as amongst her best work.
“Last year there was a lot of controversy surrounding Ben Barba. He was the star of the year before and there was some issues at his club. There was a lot of difficulty getting him to talk about what was going on in his life. I managed to get him to sit down and talk about that in a little bit more detail,” she recalls.
“Breaking a story is really a time thing. If you’re on air and you may have a breaking story. Last year when we were about to go on air with the Matty show it was announced that Benji Marshall was leaving the West Tigers. It came out at 9:00 at night and we were about to go on air, so no-one had seen it. So we were the first ones to tell everyone about it.”
So what is the ultimate gig? A move to Free to Air? Nine Network?
“I couldn’t say I would leave FOX. I really love it there. They gave me an opportunity and believed in me,” Pitt insists.
“I feel really blessed.”
The Matty Johns Show returns 8:50pm Monday on FOX Sports 1.