Interview with Charlotte Batty, Producer of Children’s News at the ABC
Charlotte Batty is a Producer of Children’s News at the ABC. She works on Behind the News and is currently
the Producer of its daily show, BTN Newsbreak. She has also worked as a Journalist in local and international news, and as a Social Media Manager.
Medianet sat down with Charlotte to share her experiences and insight.
Can you tell me a bit about your start in the media industry?
Believe it or not, my very first media job was on BTN! Back in 2015, I was an actor and student, in my final years of studying a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Media at the University of Adelaide. I was lucky enough to score an internship on BTN, which led to a full-time reporting gig.
I’ve bounced around since, working as a Journalist and Producer in Melbourne and Adelaide across local TV news and radio, international news, PR and social media. But it’s really nice to come back to the place that started it all - there really is no place like home!
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Well, that’s a real toughie! I’ve had so many brilliant moments as a journalist. From interviewing politicians and sports stars, to interviewing a goat at the Adelaide Zoo (I’m not kidding!), there are so many weird and wonderful things that we journos get to do.
I’m really proud of BTN Newsbreak’s coverage of big world events in 2020. It was peak COVID-19 time, so we had lots of households around the country relying on us more than ever. From daily COVID-19 updates to coverage of big stories, like the Black Lives Matter protests, we provided high level explainers to Australian families when they needed it most.
I also (cheesily) kind of think I’m living the highlight of my career right now. To come back to BTN in a leadership position and give back to the show that gave me so much is extremely rewarding.
What perspectives and stories do you want to see more of, or featured, in the industry?
In what comes as a shock to no one, I have to say kids and young people! Young Aussies have such a unique perspective on our world and it’s so important to hear about the issues that are impacting them. After all, they are the future!
What makes your work at ABC's Behind the News unique to you?
Behind the News is the only show of its kind in the country and we’ve now been running for more than 55 years!
It requires such a unique balance of journalistic skill and creative storytelling. Being able to write an informative news story is one thing, but making it engaging and digestible for a young audience is a whole other ball game.
Our team is super skilled and experienced at explaining difficult topics in the news in a way that doesn't patronise our audience, all while keeping them interested and entertained.
Name another show where you’ll find a reporter dressed as Dracula explaining mosquito-borne diseases.
We also get to move with the times a lot quicker than other news programs. We’re no longer just a show that kids watch when the TV is rolled into the classroom on a big trolley (90s kids will feel me on this!). We now have our flagship weekly show, a daily bulletin, weekly stories for high schoolers, a digital explainer team, a massively successful YouTube channel and TikTok (follow us @behindthenewstv).
If you could go back 5 years, what advice would you give yourself?
Life has a funny way of working out! Say yes to new opportunities and diversify your experience. Oh, and wear sunscreen every day. Like, seriously. Just do it.
Where do you see yourself in the future and where would you like your work to take you?
I have no idea to be honest! You never know what opportunities are going to pop up, so I’ll wait and see. For now, I couldn’t be happier getting settled back into BTN-land.
Any upcoming work we should keep an eye out for?
If you have a high school teacher in your life, you’re going to want to tell them about BTN High! It’s our newest project and it launched a couple of weeks ago.
Basically, we’ll be releasing weekly videos covering big topics in the news for students across different year levels in high schools. We've created this especially for teachers to use in their classrooms as a trustworthy resource that's tailored to the Australian Curriculum.
What are your pitching preferences?
Stories about kids doing cool things. Stories about things impacting kids. Stories that are quirky and interesting.
And send them via email. I probably won’t answer your call because I automatically assume any unknown numbers are scammers and send them straight to voicemail.