Why I Love My Job

Carol Duncan - Australian broadcaster and journalist
My studio home

Sometimes I don’t.  Mostly I do.

It’s a funny thing – making people talk, tell me stories, things that perhaps they’re happy to tell me, sometimes they’re not.

I love feeling like I’ve made a difference.  Or at least tried to.

I hate the criticism that can sometimes come with such a public job.  I have wondered many times if I possess skin thick enough for this job.  But I also wonder if the thick-skinned ones really care … if they really *feel* what’s going on in a conversation with a guest.

A woman once wrote to me to tell me that a series I had done on breast cancer, for which I recorded my own mammogram, encouraged her to bite the bullet and get a mammogram herself.

She was found to have an early breast cancer.

She thanked me for that.

A tiny, immune-deficient girl now gets a little more attention from her paediatrician – because he heard her distressed mother on my program.

I’ve interviewed the rich and famous, the poor and voiceless.  Or at least they were voiceless.  Academics, researchers, teachers, politicians, unionists, children, mothers, fathers, rock stars, surgeons, authors, liars, abusers, rescuers, the terminally ill  … even a motor mechanic who is one of the world’s finest Celtic fiddlers!

Occasionally, not often, but occasionally … there are those that will use me, and my position, for their own gain.  Hopefully I will become wiser at spotting them!

It’s a privilege.

One that sometimes I intentionally abuse.  But I hope only in a good way.

Using my evil powers for good.

It’s all I can do.  I don’t know anything else.

14 thoughts on “Why I Love My Job

  1. I love your passion for what you do. You are making a difference and that is a wonderful thing. As per your comment above (I’m going to steal it) Your friendship & support mean a lot to me and I don’t even know you either. I look forward to reading your tweets, your blog posts and listening on line whenever I can. Newcastle and the ABC are lucky to have you giving air time to the great causes that you do.xx

  2. I think we as a race sometimes forget that we all have this ability. The media has a readily accessible platform to raise awareness of issues, but every human being (at least in Australia) has the right and the ability to speak out through various means. The internet and social media has made it possible for all of us to take action on issues if we choose to do so.

    When I became homeless last year and published my Open Letter to the Prime Minister on my blog, we effectively used social media to communicate the message of homelessness to the greater community. For the past 12 months I’ve worked to raise awareness of a number of issues, including the Indonesian child sex trade & poverty in our neighbouring country. Through social media alone we’ve raised nearly $100,000 for various charity organisations, including giving me the ability to go to Indonesia next month & start an orphanage of our own.

    The media may be used in some ways, and I was a journalist for 15 years so I’ve seen that first hand, but the media also has a habit of using the public and my family fell victim to this when we were homeless. When journalists (far less credible and compassionate than yourself) prey on the vulnerable for news stories and then twists them to suit themselves at the expense of the victim, this to me is one of the greatest crimes against humanity of modern times, and also does nothing to help the reputation that the news media have.

    I wondered myself, Carol, if I have skin thick enough to be able to go into Indonesia and help starving children, knowing full well that I can’t save them all. I realised though that thick skin is a barrier to the heart, and love radiates most brightly from the heart. Without this vulnerability we both share, we wouldn’t be doing what we do. At least, nowhere near as effectively.

    As a Buddhist I believe the greatest gift in life is the ability to help another human. There are some sacrifices, but the rewards far, far outweigh that pain.

  3. Carol,

    Absolutely love your program. Always something interesting & your enthusiasm makes topics that I wouldn’t normally consider, or focus on, becoming some of my discussion points with family & friends. You and your program are an important part of my day. Thanks

  4. I have only heard you on-air once or twice but can imagine what a great job you do- your integrity and intelligence shine through your tweets and your blog. And what an amazing job- as a writer occasionally you can have a slight impact on someone, but yours is much quicker and larger and further reaching. And you look great in that studio!

    1. Your day on my show is coming, ladywriter! Thank you for all of your behind-the-scenes love and support. You have no idea how much it means to me … and yet I don’t even know you.

  5. We’ve talked, tweeted from time to time.

    i love your show, such variety from serious pressing issued, light hearted stories, stories that relate to us all.

    You have shown such generosity and compassion.

    You are a voice in the background in my house most days, i do dance around the house to your music. Luckily there isn’t a webcam here. Would be a bit embarassing.

    Keep up the great work.



  6. I think you’re a fantastic interviewer. I was a little nervous the first time we spoke, but within the first few minutes I felt relaxed – and that’s thanks to you.

    The day we last spoke, I knew there was something else going on that had upset you (from what you tweeted that day), and yet hearing you on the radio, you would never have known.

    That’s not only the best example of professionalism, but highly impressive to boot!

    You’re awesome. Such a gorgeous gal.


    1. Thanks Jodie! You’re a great writer, a great communicator. It is one of the great pleasures of my job that I get to meet people like you.

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