Three Minute Squiz With… Laura Jayes

Laura Jayes is the host of First Edition and AM Agenda with Kieran Gilbert (pictured) on Foxtel’s Sky News. She’s worked her way up through the newsroom ranks and is now one of Sky’s most respected political journalists. She’s known for her strong work ethic, but it’s her candid style and vibrant sense of humour (and possibly her Elaine-style dance moves…) that wins people over. Laura’s been a great supporter of ours and we’re stoked to welcome the Cronulla lass to the Three Minute Squiz.

How and where do you Squiz?
During the ad break whilst reapplying the lippy and juzz-ing the hair.

You do at least 20 hours of live TV every week. Does appearing on camera still give you a rush or are you so at home there these days?
Sometimes I’m too relaxed, but the universe has a funny (not in a ha-ha way) of snapping you back to reality pretty quickly. Press conferences abruptly ending, deliberately obfuscating guests or a helpful viewer offering advice of clothing or hair-dos are a lovely constant reminder of the things that can go awry.

Did you grow up wanting to be a political journo/TV host?
No, never! I wanted to ski around the world so I became a ski instructor. It quickly became apparent that was too much for my liver and not enough for my brain.

You’re also married to a TV journo from a different network. Is there a competitive vibe?
Yes, I’d say there’s a competitive tension. A little professional envy at times…. but at the end of the day, we’re a team. He sees things that I don’t, he reads people differently. That’s always helpful in politics.

You’ve recently had your first child (congrats). Has it changed how you see the news?
Yes! I was on air a few months ago when news broke of a car accident at a school in western Sydney. A car had accidentally ploughed through a demountable classroom and killed two little boys. It was just so desperately sad and unlucky. Immediately your mind goes to those poor parents. An utterly helpless situation. Since becoming a mother I feel much more vulnerable to events out of my control. I know I’m not alone there. Oh – and anti-vaxers do my head in. People who think they know better than the experts (with years of careful research under their belts) after a few hours on the interweb, make me cranky.

You’ve been covering Canberra’s shenanigans for a while now. Do you think the quality of political debate better/the same/worse than when you started?
It’s always been pretty willing! I do think it’s worse. Policy too often gets lost in personality. The media play a part in that, sure. But you just have to look at Twitter to see that individual politicians are themselves too focused on personality and shaping their own profiles than shaping policy ideas.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?
I have an irrational fear of karaoke. I am, however, a big fan of a road trip singalong. Maria McKee’s ‘Show me Heaven’ is my weapon of choice. Pro tip: At the right volume you can delude yourself into thinking you have a half decent voice.

What’s your guilty TV-watching secret?
Geordie Shore. I’m ashamed. Allow me to slightly redeem myself with my obsession over Peaky Blinders. No?

Name four people – living or dead – you’d kill to sit down to dinner with.
John F Kennedy
Dave Chapelle
Queen Victoria
Donald Trump
(It’s carefully balanced and has the potential for disaster… but imagine how newsworthy the conversation would be!?)

Your favourite book?
The Power of One.*

What skill or talent do you not have but wish you did?
I dance like Elaine (think Seinfeld). I’d really like that not to be the case.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Of course” – it’s an annoying habit. A phrase I use during live television as a bit of a crutch.

What’s your worst and best habit?
Saving money. Booking holidays.

What’s your no-fail recipe?
Mum’s carrot cake. Pineapple is the secret ingredient. Genius.

What qualities do you most value in a friend?
Sincere, easy-going, self-deprecating.

What would you say is the most currently overlooked news story we should know about?
Abuse of children Australia’s most disadvantaged communities. This is happening, and it’s shocking. This is year alone a 2yo and a 4yo have been raped (in separate incidents) in fairly remote indigenous communities. These stories are difficult to tell. They way we treated children and the most helpless in our community goes to the very fabric of who we are.

*Buy this book using this link and The Squiz gets a little commission.

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