In the 12 months she has been the fulltime host of Sunday Night, Melissa Doyle has relished the variety of her role and longer-form stories.
Contrasting the short, live interviews of Sunrise, and the desk-bound presenting of Seven News, she is now globe-trotting tackling stories in crime, celebrity, science, health, sport and more.
Doyle recently returned from a 3 week sojourn in which she met Jessica Mayer in Wales -a young woman with dissociative identity disorder (pictured below).
“She has 4 ‘alters’ and they are all male, who range in age from 16-29. She switches quite randomly,” Doyle explains.
“She gets up and leaves the room, has a moment to herself and then comes back. But we spent a week with her and saw her switch a number of times while she was with us.”
Doyle also interviewed Mayer’s psychotherapist and is convinced there was no faking. Building up trust with the subject is central to any exclusive and eliciting quotes that are promo-worthy.
“I sat down with Bernard Tomic for just over 2 hours. You need to have that time to explore areas and have a deep conversation with the subject of your story,” she says.
“(London attack victim) Candice Hedge and her family felt comfortable to talk to us and to tell us what happened.
“The thing I love most about journalism is that every story is different”
“Some stories you spend months researching before you even begin filming. But there is certainly an adrenalin rush when (you have a quick turnaround).
“The thing I love most about journalism is that every story is different. It keeps you sharp. I love going from not knowing anything about a person or a topic to immersing yourself in it, reading and researching everything you can find. Then you start afresh with something new. I really like that.”
Doyle surely doesn’t miss those early starts for Sunrise, and is grateful her children are now old enough to appreciate the need to combine work with travel, often at short notice.
“They understand now what mum does and where she is going. Thank god for things like FaceTime and ways of communicating!
“I’m working entirely different hours and I find I am so immersed and focussed on what I’m doing,” she reflects.
“Before Sunday Night started obviously 60 Minutes was the pinnacle of journalism”
“The Sunday Night office is based at Redfern so I only go into Martin Place once a week. So it’s an entirely different space, mentally, and I am working with other people. I feel incredibly privileged to have had the opportunity to work on a programme such as this.
“If you ask any other journalist before Sunday Night started obviously 60 Minutes was the pinnacle of journalism. Any reporter, cameraman, producer having the opportunity to work for a programme like that was extraordinary. Now that Sunday Night is on Seven, and this is ours, to have the opportunity to be part of this is a privilege. And to be given that opportunity as a woman in her 40s… thanks!”
When she isn’t working on Sunday Night she may be found watching Game of Thrones, Narcos, Billions, true story films like Hacksaw Ridge, watching news, and listening to podcasts such as ABC’s Conversations and hosting top-rating Smooth FM which also extends her skillset.
“At Smooth the music is the hero,” she continues.
“None of us announcers are bigger than the content, that’s why it works. We are there just to keep fantastic songs playing. It’s a great mood.
“…producers who are best in their field, and editors who are so insanely passionate..”
“But at this point in my career to have the opportunity to work with producers who are best in their field, and editors who are so insanely passionate and cameramen who have truckloads of experience, soundies with attention to detail…. it just pushes me to come back for every single story.
“I never want to get to a position where I am not learning or improving.”
Sunday Night airs 8pm Sunday on Seven.