Jennie Goodwin

The first female prime-time newsreader in the Commonwealth

Armed only with fiercely correct pronunciation, a paper script and makeup she'd applied herself, Jennie Goodwin readied herself to address the nation. When the clock ticked down to 7pm, show time, Goodwin entered the history books. And while the news she read that Monday night in 1975 is long forgotten, the history she made lives on.

It was on the newly launched channel TV-2 that Goodwin became the first woman in the Commonwealth to present a national prime-time network news programme.

"Women were not considered, in the mid-70s, to have that credibility, that authority," she once said. "I was quite lucky the public were accepting of it."

A graduate of the rigorous announcers training school, which famously took its cues from the strict English of the BBC, Goodwin says she was trained to pronounce her vowels "perfectly". Before becoming the face of the news she worked in radio, before swapping to TV to work as a continuity announcer.


She vividly remembers fronting the hourly updates on the Erebus disaster in 1979.

"That was quite difficult. You had to have a certain detachment but there had to be an empathy, a personal side to it as well," she said. "We were reading the names of those that perished on that fateful flight. That took quite a bit of grit."

The pioneering broadcaster left television in 1982, but her legacy lives on.

Of her accomplishment, she said: "It was probably quite an honour. I didn't think too much of it at the time. I think if you thought like that your head wouldn't fit through the newsroom door."