Three Minute Squiz With… Fiona Dear

Fiona Dear is the Deputy Director of News for the Nine Network in Sydney. Before that she was the newsroom chief of staff. That means for quite a while now she’s been one of the handful of people responsible for shaping the news agenda in Australia’s biggest media market. Without a doubt she would be on our dream pub trivia team any day of the week. Please welcome Fiona to the Three Minute Squiz.

Where and how do you Squiz?
At home, I’ve just finished reading the papers and my emails and I am just about to call in to the newsroom when The Squiz drops.

What skill or talent do you not have but wish you did?
Patience with myself.

If you were to be dumped on a desert island and could only take one album with you, which one would it be?
The Stone Roses.

What do you love about your job and what’s the biggest challenge?
I love the fast pace, the busier the better. There is nothing like the buzz of a newsroom on a big news story, it’s loud and frantic. For me, one of the biggest challenges is keeping up with the changing technology.

The Nine newsroom crack team of unfailing professionals or a glorified creche?
Crack team of professionals, not always perfect. And it wouldn’t be a newsroom without the odd argument but that’s what makes it good.

You were a reporter before running Nine’s newsroom. Do you ever want to get back on the road?

Do you ever (metaphorically and literally) switch the news off in order to relax?
I love getting lost in a good book and after work I will often need an hour of television where I don’t need to engage my brain but that’s about it. I am addicted to checking my emails.

Name four people – living or dead – you’d love to sit down to dinner with.
Paul Keating, Helen Mirren, Nelson Mandela and Adele

Your favourite writers?
Doris Lessing, Helen Garner and Thomas Hardy

The best piece of advice your mother or father gave you?
You don’t get anywhere without hard work.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

For a long time you’ve been the on-call/point person when big news stories break. What’s the most memorable late night call you’ve had?
“They’re storming the cafe, get back asap”. Lindt cafe siege. It was December 16th 2014, just after 2am, I had left work at 1am to go home and grab some sleep. I’ll never forget that call.

Is there a formula fora successful news bulletin?
Balance – you need a bit of everything.

Honesty – you can’t trick the viewers.

Accuracy don’t cut corners.

And trust without the viewers’ trust we are nothing.

We’re guessing you don’t get a lot of time to cook. But what’s your go-to dinner party trick where you’re trying to impress but also trying to be a bit casual?
Classic and simple, you can’t go past a great roast.

Any new year’s resolutions you’d like us to help keep you accountable for?
I hate New Year’s resolutions because I am terrible at keeping them and I hate not finishing a job.

What would you say is the most currently overlooked news story Australians should know about but don’t?
The global shift represented by moments like Brexit and Trump and where it’s going to take us because the extraordinary thing is no one can tell us.

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.