(The Australian) – The ABC News 24 presenter caught in an on-air blooper that went viral at the weekend has been hired by Sydney radio station KIIS 1065.
Natasha Exelby will read the breakfast news next week, April 17-21, while The Kyle & Jackie O Show is on survey break.
ARN’s National Content Director Duncan Campbell said: “We are excited to have someone with Natasha’s expertise join our newsroom at KIIS 1065. Not only is she a seasoned journalist, but the way she has handled the unexpected attention and public scrutiny following her ‘blooper’ this week shows Natasha has poise under pressure and, most importantly, a sense of humor so I am sure she will feel at home with the KIIS team”.
Regular breakfast newsreader Brooklyn Ross will be back on-air from April 24.
The ABC’s Director of News Gaven Morris says Natasha Exelby will not be banned from newsreading shifts at the broadcaster and has assured critics the journalist will be used in on-air roles in the future.
ABC News 24 presenter Exelby was caught in an on-air blooper that went viral at the weekend.
In the clip, a video report from Queensland ends and the camera cuts back to Exelby in the Sydney studio, fiddling with a pen and unaware she is live on air. Suddenly realizing, she gasps, before throwing to the next item.
Mr Morris said yesterday (April 12) that the incident would not end her association with the ABC.
“Live television is a demanding art and slip-ups will happen — our presenters are humans, not robots,” Mr Morris said in a statement released this afternoon.
“We take on-air standards extremely seriously, but we don’t expect perfection. No one would ever be punished for a blooper and, while it isn’t appropriate to publicly discuss confidential details of people’s personal work arrangements, this has not happened to Natasha.
“Media reports that Natasha has been ‘banned’, ‘barred’ or ‘fired’ are untrue. Natasha is a freelance journalist who works as a contributor. She has been rostered for various shifts and has been assured since yesterday that we want that to continue.
“While she is not currently doing any on-air shifts, this will be subject to normal performance management. I have spoken to Natasha and conveyed our regret that this has attracted such attention.”
A social media backlash erupted Tuesday night after The Daily Telegraph reported Exelby had been banned by the ABC from on-air duties.
Senior television and radio journalists took to Twitter to relate their own blooper stories to stand in solidarity with Exelby, causing the hashtag #putyourbloopersout to start trending in Australia.
It even saw former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd express his support for the journalist.
Despite other presenters leaping to her defense, Exelby told News.com.au earlier: “I can understand why people found it funny, and it was certainly me at my most raw. But I also have to take some responsibility here. I’m a professional and what happened was far from professional,” she said.
Commenting on the reported axing, Sky News political reporter Laura Jayes said it was a “ridiculous, humorless over reaction”.
Jayes compared it to a 2009 incident involving ABC Breakfast presenter Virginia Trioli who was unwittingly captured on camera making what appeared to be “crazy” circles with her finger next to her ear when speaking soon after then opposition frontbencher Barnaby Joyce had appeared on the show. She later apologized.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten even weighed in on the ABC’s decision, taking to Twitter to express his disappointment. “It’s live TV. This is just ridiculous,” he said.
Labor senator Sam Dastyari said it was a “complete bulls*** over-reaction” from the ABC and threatened to raise the issue in Senate estimates.
Several years ago, as a newsreader for Ten’s late news program, Exelby apologized to viewers after laughing through a segment which included reports of violent riots overseas.
Her co-presenter Matt Doran had been making jokes before the segment about setting her up with a fellow panellist, and at the end of the bulletin, Exelby was prompt to apologize to viewers.
“I just wanted to apologize. I got a case of the giggles a little bit earlier while reading some very serious news and if I have offended anyone I am sincerely sorry,” she said.
Top: Natasha Exelby momentarily fails to realize that she is on air. Photo : ABC24/Twitter via The Australian