Rachel Smalley surprised everyone when she left her high-profile jobs with TV3 and joined am early morning news program on Newstalk ZB. According to long-time journalist, she grew frustrated because there was “nowhere for me to go.”
In August, the Kiwi news presenter signed off from “Firstline” and “The Nation” to join the rival The Radio Network’s morning show “Early Edition.”
The move baffled many, but Smalley explained that she was trapped in a role that had nowhere to go.
“I didn’t feel that there was any desire to invest in women in senior primetime roles and I knew I couldn’t keep doing those hours. So I was at a real crossroads. I was frustrated,” she told the New Zealand Herald in an exclusive interview.
“I didn’t feel either programme had the support of senior management, the top levels of management of MediaWorks, so there was only so far I could take both programmes.”
And if the viewers and critics are baffled by Smalley’s exit from her TV news presenting roles to accept a radio role, she was even more confused by their reaction.
“It was odd. I found the reaction odd. People didn’t understand why you would walk away from television. I found that quite baffling, but perhaps that’s because of the perception of television – that people think it’s so glamorous and the pinnacle of journalism. And it’s not.”
Smalley isn’t in for the fame, though. She reiterated that she is a “purist journo” who loves what she does and not for the recognition it gives her.
“There’s a lot of people coming into media now, particularly TV... and the reality is a lot coming into TV now really should apply for ‘X-Factor’ because they want the celebrity and the fame that goes with it.
“I really do love what I do, I don’t do it because it triggers some element of recognition. I just love it,” she added.
“I love knowing everything I can about something. I found it fascinating being so involved with what’s going on and it’s fun – and work’s got to be fun.”