Leigh Sales: “I took that responsibility very seriously”

For Leigh Sales there is respect from viewers on the street, but pressure from those online.

Ahead of her final bulletin as 7:30 anchor after 11 years, Leigh Sales has answered questions for ABC Online.

She acknowledged how viewers treated her in real life or who write to her, as if she is a friend that they trust and respect.

“During the pandemic, I would get letters from people who lived alone that moved me so much. They would say I was the person they had seen the most of during lockdown because they could count on me being in their living room every night at 7.30pm, helping them make sense of what was going on,” she wrote

“I took that responsibility very seriously. People are beautiful and kind when they approach me in public, which happens every day. A man came up to me recently while I was waiting for a coffee and said: ‘Excuse me, I hope it’s OK for me to say to you that you’ve done a brilliant job and I will miss you.’

“And then he moved on without taking any more of my time. So lovely and respectful.”

But she also noted social media critics applied pressure to to never make a mistake.

“There’s no space to be human: any mistake is treated as bias, incompetence or as if it were deliberate. The enemies of impartial journalism simply invent narratives about imagined bias as well to attempt to discredit and bully objective reporters,” she wrote.

“I’ve seen it over many years from extremists on the right, driven by their hatred of the ABC, and now from left-wing zealots on Twitter, driven by what seems to be a desire to stop their side of politics from facing a shred of scrutiny.”

Leigh Sales will present her final 7.30 program on Thursday June 30 and Sarah Ferguson will take over as host on July 4.

You can read more here.

4 Responses

  1. I rarely watch 7:30, but I am a big fan of Leigh Sales; my favourite ever interview was when she interviewed Sir Paul McCartney in 2017; I have re-watched this several times on YouTube. All the best to her in the future.

  2. Leigh is a lovely person. Genuine and so down to earth. I have written to her many times over the years and she always responds. That is so rare in this industry. I will miss her on 7.30. I was not one of those folks who felt I saw more of her than anyone else during lockdowns but have definite empathy with that sentiment. We need more smart, learned and respectful journalists like Leigh Sales on the front line of broadcasting.

  3. An absolutely marvellous journalist, a voice we’ve always appreciated and welcomed in our home. I congratulate Leigh on her tenure, for making the show her own and delivering countless gripping stories with heart and conviction. I will definitely miss her.

  4. I would like to be one of those people who shows respect to Leigh Sales online. Congratulations, you are a true legend. Her chats with Mick Molloy on Triple M were a highlight too.

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