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EntertainmentLisa Millar to take over from Virginia Trioli on News Breakfast

02:10  19 june  2019
02:10  19 june  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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Lisa Millar to replace Virginia Trioli on News Breakfast from August. One of the ABC's top foreign correspondents and popular News Breakfast fill-in, Lisa Millar , will join Michael Rowland on the couch permanently from August, replacing Virginia Trioli who is taking over Jon Faine's Mornings program

ABC Television has announced former foreign correspondent Lisa Millar will be the new co-presenter of its breakfast program News Breakfast , replacing Virginia Trioli .

Lisa Millar to take over from Virginia Trioli on News Breakfast© ABC News: Michael Rowland Rowland and Millar, hosting Brekky earlier this year, have been friends for more than 20 years. One of the ABC's top foreign correspondents and popular News Breakfast fill-in, Lisa Millar, will join Michael Rowland on the couch permanently from August, replacing Virginia Trioli who is taking over Jon Faine's Morning program on ABC Radio Melbourne.

Millar, who returned to Australia six months ago after nine years reporting overseas, has long been a fan of the program.

"I'm excited and really looking forward to joining the team," she said.

"Since Brekky began I have been doing crosses from Washington and London and I've always had a high regard for the program and I've enjoyed watching it.

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When a big story breaks , news crews swoop in and then leave, but what we should do more of is revisit — the places that end up as lead stories in our news bulletin deserve that, writes Lisa Millar after filming a Back Roads Lisa Millar to take over from Virginia Trioli on ABC News Breakfast .

"Michael and I have been friends since we worked together in Canberra in the 1990s and we have great respect for each other.

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Lisa Millar will replace Virginia Trioli as the new co-presenter on ABC television's News Michael Rowland revealed on air Millar would be taking over from Trioli and joining him on the couch on Millar , who joined the breakfast hosts for the reveal, couldn't help but let out a laugh when a photo of

Trioli leaves News Breakfast on August 15, replacing retiring ABC Radio Melbourne host Jon Faine later this year. She is also tipped to succeed Q&A presenter Tony Jones, who is moving to Beijing. Michael Rowland and Lisa Millar as young political reporters covering the 1996 federal election.

"I have huge respect for Virginia who has done the hard yards, with colleagues, in building News Breakfast over a decade, and it's a privilege to be stepping in as the program continues its fabulous rise."

Lisa Millar to take over from Virginia Trioli on News Breakfast© Supplied: Michael Rowland Michael Rowland and Lisa Millar, with Michelle Ainsworth, as young political reporters covering the 1996 federal election campaign.

Millar joined Trioli and Rowland on set this morning for the announcement.

"I am so excited Lisa is joining me on the Breakfast couch, she is one of Australia's most respected journalists and someone our audience knows very well," said Michael Rowland, who will also be taking on an expanded role as the ABC's Senior Network Presenter, anchoring coverage of major local and international events as well as Breakfast.

"Importantly for a Breakfast TV show, Lisa brings genuine warmth and empathy to the screen.

"We have known each other a long time and I look forward to our new on-air partnership — except on the mornings after Queensland wins State of Origin games.

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The ABC News Breakfast co-host Virginia Trioli will take over from Jon Faine as presenter of Melbourne’s morning radio show when Faine retires after 23 years at the end of the year. The former foreign correspondent Lisa Millar is the favourite to take over from Trioli on News Breakfast , which

The awkward moment ABC News Breakfast host Virginia Trioli is forced to apologise to viewers after bursting into fits of uncontrollable laughter following a Breaking news : Current co-presenter of the program Michael (left) revealed on air Lisa Millar (right) would be taking over from Virginia and

"It has been a pleasure working alongside Virginia for the past nine years, we have been part of a formidable team. While we all miss her, ABC Radio Melbourne will benefit enormously from her broadcasting prowess."

Trioli, who has hosted News Breakfast since it launched in 2008, congratulated Millar on her appointment.

"I'm so happy for Lisa and for the fabulous News Breakfast audience that they're going to spend mornings together," Trioli said.

"Lisa's a brilliant journalist and communicator. I'm bubble-wrapping my alarm clock and sending it over."

Director of News Gaven Morris said: "Michael and Virginia have been terrific together for almost a decade, and News Breakfast has never been better viewing."

"Lisa was an instant hit with viewers when filling in and I know that Michael and Lisa, working with EP Emily Butselaar and the rest of the team, will continue to deliver the combination of intelligent and entertaining morning television that the Brekky audience loves and values."

With its mix of hard news, human interest and entertainment, News Breakfast is the perfect fit for Millar who describes herself as a nosey, news junkie.

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Lisa Millar to take over from Virginia Trioli on News Breakfast© ABC News Millar has been a familiar face on Breakfast for years, reporting in from major news events around the world such as the 2015 Paris terror attacks.

"What I love about journalism is being the first to know something. I'm Miss Sticky Beak," she said.

"When I was overseas, I remember hearing the writer David Malouf speak and he said the thing about being Australian is that history happens while we are sleeping, and it really stuck with me because things would be happening in Europe or America while everyone in Australia was asleep but I'd think, when they wake up I'm going to be delivering them the news.

"And that's what's great about News Breakfast — you are the first people in Australia to know what's going on. When the titles roll at 6:00am you are delivering the history that's happened overnight."

The downside to being first with the news on Breakfast is waking up at 3:00am, but there's great camaraderie and passion amongst the small team working on the program.

"The three months I was filling in for Virginia I got to watch the team behind the scenes and I cannot believe how joyful, enthusiastic and funny they can be at bloody 4:00am in the morning," Millar said.

"Everyone says you get used to the hours and my sleep has been erratic for a decade, getting up at crazy hours and never knowing when the day is going to end, so when the job offer came up I thought why start getting used to a good night's sleep now?"

Executive producer Emily Butselaar says the loyal Breakfast audience has been lobbying for Millar since she filled in.

"We are thrilled Lisa is joining News Breakfast and our viewers will be too — we've had many messages from people who wanted her on the couch permanently," said Butselaar.

"Lisa is one of the best in the business, her dedication to a story, her intelligence, the warmth and charm you see on screen is exactly what we experience in person."

Lisa Millar to take over from Virginia Trioli on News Breakfast© Supplied: Lisa Millar Millar covering the Democratic Convention in Boston in 2004 during her stint as North America correspondent.

Proud of coming from regional Queensland

Millar's career has taken her all around the world, but she retains a deep and enduring affection for the bush, particularly regional Queensland, where she grew up.

Her parents, Clarrie and Dorothy Millar, were dairy farmers in the small town of Kilkivan, near Gympie, and her father was a strong advocate for the rural community, serving as the federal member (Country Party) for Wide Bay for 16 years.

"I was born in a town of 400 people and moving to the big smoke was to Gympie, population 15,000," she said.

"I feel have a great affinity for and I'm very proud of coming from regional Australia and I want to make sure that when they switch on to Brekky that we are talking to them."

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"Since returning to Australia, I’ve felt the divide between the city and country has grown and I'd like to see both sides understand each other better."

"I've spent the past week around Richmond and Julia Creek speaking to graziers who were wiped out by the floods and they are absolutely grieving about the trauma their animals went through and the losses."

"I really get that, and I want to try and share that with other people who grow up in a big city and might struggle to understand what life in the country is like."

Lisa Millar to take over from Virginia Trioli on News Breakfast© Supplied: Lisa Millar Millar in her first year at the ABC in 1993, reporting on the Mabo debate from the Torres Strait.

Dreams of being a journalist from the age of seven

Growing up with a father who was an MP meant there was lots of conversation about politics and current affairs and frequent interviews on ABC radio and television, and by the age of seven Millar had determined she wanted to be a journalist.

"The ABC was all we had, and it was a big part of our lives," recalled Millar.

"The family have a tape recording of me singing the ABC News theme, then I'd say, 'this is Lisa Millar with ABC News' and I'd be constantly interviewing my poor younger sister every time she opened her mouth."

"When Trudi went to answer, I'd jump in and interrupt her, I've tried to get out of that habit now!"

"So, I don't remember a time when I didn't want to be a journalist and a foreign correspondent and not a day has gone by my entire career where I haven't said I'm the luckiest person around, I'm so grateful."

Lisa Millar to take over from Virginia Trioli on News Breakfast© Supplied The Millars at the opening of the PC Millar Bridge.

As a teenager she'd travel to Canberra to watch her father in parliament but was more interested in what was going on in the press gallery.

"I remember watching Question Time, and afterwards Dad said 'what did you think of everything you saw on the floor of the chamber?' And I said 'I wasn't watching you, Richard Carleton [fearless co-host of The Carleton-Wash Report] was in the gallery!'"

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"It was not long after the famous 'have you got blood on your hands?' interview with Bob Hawke and I was so excited to watch him, how he was taking notes and what was happening in the gallery.

"I ended up meeting him as a 17-year-old and he gave me some great advice, I've never forgotten."

"He said in a gruff voice, 'if you’re going to be a journalist don't be a mediocre one, there's plenty of them around.' I went home and wrote it down!"

From Gympie to the world

Lisa Millar to take over from Virginia Trioli on News Breakfast© Supplied: Lisa Millar No matter where the job has taken her, Millar has always felt a strong connection to home in regional Queensland.

Millar's journalism career began with a cadetship at The Gympie Times and she joined the ABC in 1993 as the North Queensland reporter based in Townsville.

Over 25 years, she's done a broad range of reporting across various platforms and programs, including state and federal politics and three foreign postings in the US and Europe and was part of the team that won a Walkley Award for Investigative Journalism in 2005.

She's covered everything from presidential campaigns to terror attacks, Olympic Games to royal weddings, and thrived on the variety and unpredictability of the job.

"I remember in 2009 heading back to Washington and I landed in LA to catch a connecting flight and got a text from the International Desk in Sydney saying 'do not continue to DC, go straight to Neverland' — Michael Jackson had died so I launched straight into covering that," said Millar.

"In 2002 in Cuba, I met Fidel Castro, who made jokes about getting a chocolate milkshake because that was the way he thought the CIA was going to assassinate him.

"I got to go to Guantanamo Bay a month after it opened, when David Hicks was still there, and it was no small feat to get in there, and then went back a decade later, which was fascinating."

But one story has stayed with her more than most — the dreadful Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012 in which 20 first-grade children and six staff died.

Millar covered the massacre at the time and later interviewed Veronique Pozner, whose son Noah was killed, about her fight for gun control.

"It's one of those stories you never forget," she said.

"I remember doing crosses from the scene, and while I don't have children of my own I have a lot of beautiful young children in my life, and I started picturing the faces of my nieces and nephews on the floor of the classroom and I became really emotional."

"But I had a job to do and I had to get on with it.

"I was honoured that Veronique Pozner later invited me into her home and agreed over the years to multiple interviews for stories about gun laws and we are still in contact."

"Raising awareness about the issue gave me some comfort from the awfulness of the story.

"It's an extraordinary feeling being at the heart of the biggest stories in the world, even if they are very challenging and confronting."

Lisa Millar to take over from Virginia Trioli on News Breakfast© ABC News: Dan Sweetapple Millar with Veronique Pozner, who has campaigned for gun reform in the US after her son Noah was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.

Treading sensitively in times of trauma

Millar's exposure to distressing news stories over the years has inspired work behind the scenes in improving how journalists interact with people caught up in a traumatic event and colleagues affected by covering it.

She's a director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, which provides education on ethical reporting of violence, conflict and tragedy, and is one of the ABC's Peer Support Leaders, providing support and guidance to colleagues.

Her interest came about after covering the controversial case of Melbourne man Van Nguyen, who was convicted of drug trafficking and hanged in Singapore in 2005.

"Before then, I had no understanding about what our jobs could do to us and the impact we could have on people we interview," said Millar.

"I got back to Australia and I did not cope with the fact that I had stood outside a prison waiting for someone to die for two weeks."

"I heard a radio news story about his funeral which started with Ave Maria which he sang on his way to the gallows and I started crying and couldn't stop.

"I thought I was having a nervous breakdown.

"Thankfully, the Dart Center was doing some focus groups at the ABC and made me realise that this is pretty normal.

"If you spend decades doing stories about distressing events it's going to have an impact.

"Now, I want to share this with other journalists so that we can treat people we interview in a kinder way, that we don't do more damage in talking to them, that we don't just see them as a story but care about them after the story goes to air — that's really important to me — and also make sure that we look after ourselves so we can do our jobs properly."

Lisa Millar to take over from Virginia Trioli on News Breakfast© Supplied: Lisa Millar Lisa with her mother Dorothy and father Clarrie.

Family is everything

While they've often been separated by thousands of kilometres, Lisa Millar's tight-knit family has sustained her through the difficult times.

She's close to her four siblings and delights in being an aunty and great-aunty to 12 nieces and nephews and 13 great-nieces and nephews.

After her father's death in 2017, Millar wrote a moving story, recalling how this 'self-appointed president of the Lisa Millar cheer squad' devotedly recorded her TV reports on numerous VHS tapes and crediting her parents for the journalist she is today.

Sadly, her mother died on Millar's last day in the London bureau last year, just as she was preparing to head home to spend more time with her.

But as she launches into her new journalism adventure, Millar still feels their love, faith and encouragement driving her on.

"Mum and Dad, and my whole family, have always been so supportive, for which I am really grateful."

"If they were here today, my parents would be up at five to six every morning, desperate not to miss a minute, and trying to record the show on a 30-year-old VHS machine. I know they'd be thrilled for me."

Lisa Millar starts on News Breakfast on Monday, August 19.

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